C’mon, everybody needs one! I mean, I need my whole iTunes collection to carry around on my USB flash drive. And, I want to put some of my video collection on there too. Okay, back to reality now. This gigantic storage device is so obscenely expensive now, at $4800, that no one in their right mind would buy it. Give it one year, it will cost $10. But seriously, if you look at current USB flash drive prices, this thing might sell for around $200-$400 soon. All it’s going to take is bigger drives being manufactured and consumers demanding more space. I want my terabyte flash drive please.
Ladies and gentlemen, we have intelligent life! If you get what the Drobo USB 2.0 Storage Robot can do for you – you will want one, yesterday. How would you like a hot-swappable Raid system that manages itself? How would you like a storage unit that you can access as you make broad sweeping changes? Can you say, “Duh?” But the fun really doesn’t stop there. It also does auto-formatting of added drives, auto-repair of data after drive failure, auto-repair of data corruption, auto-repair of data redundancy,auto-expansion of storage pool (when drives are added or upsized), and auto-sense & display of capacity used. Drobo consolidates the storage you add into a single large drive unit. That means that as your storage needs increase, you can just add a new, bigger drive. Can you say intuitive? Drobo accepts SATA I or II drives. See the demo movie after the jump.
I’ve been looking around at the state of memory these days and it’s nothing short of stunning. Things are moving so fast that it’s hard to keep up. For example, take a look at this 3mm thick 16GB drive from PQI, Taiwan. The thing is a USB 2.0 capable drive with a retractable USB connector. When you’re done using it, you can just slide it in your wallet. How cool is that?
I’ve been hammering the blog visits lately. That’s been good because it’s great to read what others are writing. It also keeps you in tune with what people are having issues with and what is helpful. One of the issues that came up was backing up to USB flash drives. Now, back in the day (say, oh, a year ago), this used to be a non-solution. That’s because flash drives were only big enough to put, say, a word document on. Okay, so they were bigger than that, but the capacity increases have been incredible.
One of the major problems we all run into is data storage. Now, this has become much less of a problem on the client PC end. It seems that these days, most client machines have massive amounts of unused storage space sitting on their hard drives. This isn’t typically the case for servers, however. So, you have an inverse problem where users who have tons of available space on their drives are all backing up their data, and, errr, music files, and, um video files to a server that has little room. It’s enough to the make any admin tear their hair out. Distributed backups may remedy that situation, sort of. Below you will find a myriad of different solutions. Some may be suitable for your situation. Just remember, that some of these solutions utilize networks outside of your lan environment. This means that security and redundancy become real issues. Just take that into consideration.
When things go south, it usually means that your boot device is out of action. This means that your typical operating system can’t load. Most people completely freak out at this point. But once you understand how to get at that data, it’s not too bad. The hard route is to try to get the boot device running. The easier route (well, most of the time – there are always exceptions!) is to boot from a device besides your typical hard drive. This is where Live CDs come in so handy. Live CDs give you a full operating system or boot environment. This allows you to search, fix, and optimize that busted hard drive. Here’s a non-exhaustive list of CD’s that will really help you out in your time of need:
Whether you are on the go or you just need some added storage, this drive is a pretty cool little number. The MyBook drive comes with 500GB of storage. The device features a dual interface – Firewire 400 and also USB 2.0. It also sports the Western Digital backup software. To be honest, most bundled backup software simply sucks. The WD backup software is actually intuitive and easy to use. Once you’re done picking out all the things you want to back up, you can schedule that task to run at set intervals. Ahhh, automatic backups. It’s not an off-site backup, but it’s better than nothing.
Not too long ago I posted about the Tapestry unit. At that time I wasn’t sure when production units would be available. Tapestry has now announced that the Tapestry 300r Backup device will be available in the 4th quarter of 2007. They have also announced the pricing on these bad boys. Let’s just say that home users won’t be buying these things anytime soon.
External hard drives are getting extremely affordable and useful. When a 4GB flash drive isn’t worth your time, you can try something like the Iomega eGo hard drive. And finally, someone has come out with a drive that actually looks good. Oh, and not only that, but they have created some DropGuard(TM) technology to help allay your fears of dropping the beauty.
I preach the benefits of offsite backups to everyone. But getting people to that point is usually a multiple step process. People get overwhelmed by backup and recovery stuff – and I don’t blame them. Folks will typically take the initial step of doing manual backups. “That’s great!” I tell them. But then I usually follow that up with, “now it’s time to automate that process.” I do this after a couple of months – because that’s when their manual process starts to slide. After they start an automated backup process, I wait a few more months. Then I ask them a question like, “hey, what would happen to your data if your office burnt down?” That question usually stops them in their tracks because they know they would be screwed.
Well, the State of Ohio, fortunately, practices the art of offsite backups. Unfortunately, an intern was instructed to take a backup media (I’m thinking it’s a large reel magnetic tape, but I could be wrong) offsite. By offsite, I mean the intern was told to take it home. And the intern, being an intern, probably stopped off somewhere in the process. And when they stopped, I guess they didn’t lock their car. And that’s when someone stole that backup reel. Doh!
So, late last week, the State of Ohio announced that state employees – all of them – had records on that reel. That’s to the tune of 64,000 state employees. The reel included their social security numbers. Ouch. And this week, it was announced that the reel also included some 225,000 taxpayers’ social security numbers and 600 lottery winners. Holy schnikeys. These taxpayers and lottery winners had the unduly luck of being folks who hadn’t yet cashed their checks. Well, the state has set up a website for you to check if you are one of the lucky ones, called idprotect.
There are many lessons here. One being that you don’t leave backup media in an unlocked car. That’s a big no no anyway, but when it contains sensitive data on it – that’s a horrendous error. The other is that you shouldn’t entrust that kind of task to an intern. There are others, but I think you get the drift.