Tao Of Backup Wailing Wall Story

Don't use an 'unknown' form of backup storage

Be aware of possible problems with reading your well-preserved backup media. Will the tape drive you use be available in 5 years' time if you want to find a piece of data? Will the drive heads have drifted out of alignment? Will you be using something that nobody's ever heard of?

I used to use a SyQuest SparQ removable hard drive with both Windows and Linux. I had careful backup sets, some of which I kept at my parents house. Unfortunately the drive failed a year later, and I didnt know anyone else with one. Ive still got a couple of cartridges somewhere, although I have no idea if theyre readable. Not business data, just poems and stories, but its a pity theyre gone. If it *had* been business data I could have gone to a data recovery service and paid large amounts of money to get it back, but since it was personal, I decided to chalk it up to experience.

This happened just before CD-R media/drives became widely available. If I'd happened to use Zip instead, for example, I'd have suffered from the small storage space and high cost, but I'd have had a much better chance of getting the data back if the drive failed. I backed the wrong horse. The SparQ was soon discontinued and forgotten.

Now I backup to CD-R because so many people have a CD drive the data is unlikely to be unreadable in that way.

    Ipswich, UK, Sun 30-Nov-2003 8:36am

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