Thursday, 9 April 2009

Backups and New High Capacity Disk Technologies

Seagate Announces new 2TB Drives.

We are fortunate that we have not yet had a data recovery to attempt on these new drives that stack the bits up on the platters.

The old drives had a single bit on the platters that made things relatively easy to work with when the bits destabilized and sectors went bad with the subsequent cascade effect killing adjacent sectors. Think pizza with the dough/sauce as the platter and only pepperoni as a topping (storage bits) for this previous generation storage technology.

Once the bits start destabilizing on these new drives, a bad sector is not just a set of bad single bits, it is a stacked set of bad bits. Think deluxe pizza with pepperoni, mushrooms, triple cheese, and fresh tomatoes all stacked up nice and neat. There is a lot more data to lose in the same area.

Armed with this knowledge, it is extremely important that our clients realize that their data must be backed up. Using the above pizza analogy as the foundation to give the business owner a visual concept without the GeekSpeak we can make things pretty clear. Lose a quarter of that deluxe pizza, and there is very little likelihood that data will be recoverable.

It goes without saying for us that the data should be backed up, and fortunately all of our clients are in an excellent recovery position, but for some reason we encounter many businesses that have little or no backup structures and absolutely no disaster recovery planning in place.

A panicked phone call from someone about their data being lost is one of the most painful calls to field. It can be even more painful when we find out that there are no backups in place, and the drive is seemingly inoperable.

With the advent of Cloud storage, inexpensive USB hard drive storage, or even external eSATA RAID capable systems that can be used to hot swap one of the mirrored pairs of a RAID array, there really is no excuse to taking a risk with one’s business or cherished digital memories.

A hard drive, whether standard spindle based or SSD, is a physical device with moving parts. Moving parts mean wear and tear as well as the possibility of failure sometimes sooner than later.

Why play the odds?

Philip Elder
Microsoft Small Business Specialists
Co-Author: SBS 2008 Blueprint Book

*All Mac on SBS posts will not be written on a Mac until we replace our now missing iMac! (previous blog post)

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