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Backup Drive Recommendations?  XML
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Bruce Giles



Joined: 05-Dec-07 03:47
Messages: 91
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Several of my backup drives are getting old, and I'm going to need to replace them soon. James, it has occurred to me that you must have a lot of experience with backup drives. Do you have any recommendations for what drives work best with QRecall? Are there any particular manufacturers or models you recommend, and are there ones to avoid? How about spinning hard drives versus solid state drives? What about shingled magnetic recording (SMR) drives? Do you prefer ready-to-use external drives (includes drive and case as a unit), or do you prefer to buy a bare drive and put it in an external case yourself? What about NAS drives, RAID, or Drobo units? Personally, I'm looking for something in the 2 terabyte range and I would prioritize reliability and speed over cost.

-- Bruce
James Bucanek



Joined: 14-Feb-07 10:05
Messages: 1523
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Bruce Giles wrote:Do you have any recommendations for what drives work best with QRecall?

As a rule, a good backup drive is one that's reliable, but not necessarily fast or expensive.

  • Buy a drive the comes with the longest manufacturer warranty you can find; 5 years is good. Drive manufacturers know how long their drives last.

  • You want decent throughput, but throughput is usually limited by your interface/connection, not the drive. So first pay attention to the speed of the interface (USB 3.0 vs USB 3.1, which is twice as fast). Only if the interface is substantially faster than the transfer speed of the drive, do you need to start worrying about the drive.

  • Physical hard drives are, by far, the most the most economical storage. SSD is a huge waste of money. (Although I regularly use SSDs for testing new solutions—because they are so blindly fast—and I have to say it's a sweet solution if you have money to burn.)

  • Backups will not benefit from a lot of on-drive cache, so don't waste money buying a big cache (or hybrid HD+SSD).

  • Backup drives generally don't benefit from fast seek times, but QRecall can be harder on them in that respect. Don't get a drive with a glacial seek time (15ms), but don't spend extra money getting a really fast seek time (4ms) either.

  • I don't like/trust SMR; I think it's largely a marketing gimmick to slap the absolute cheapest possible price on a drive. For a (tiny) bit of savings, it lowers the performance and reliability.


  • Are there any particular manufacturers or models you recommend, and are there ones to avoid?

    I have leaned heavily towards Western Digital Red drives for my various RAID enclousures and have generally been happy with their reliability and performance. I have soured a bit on WD after their SMR Red debacle. But I would still recommend non-SMR Red drives for archival storage.

    Do you prefer ready-to-use external drives (includes drive and case as a unit), or do you prefer to buy a bare drive and put it in an external case yourself?

    I always buy the enclosure separately and install the drives I want. But when shopping for RAID units, the sellers often let you populate them with whatever drives they sell, so this is often a matter of semantics.

    Most of my QRecall needs are for performance and torture testing, so I work almost exclusively with fast external enclosures via Thunderbolt or eSATA. The performance of most NAS devices are slower due to the extra layers of interface (network) and complexity (usually an embedded Linux server). But sometimes the convenience overshadows those concerns. In fact, several of my personal computers have been backing up to a (gasp) AirPort Extreme base station for years. Clearly a case of convenience over performance.

    I'm looking for something in the 2 terabyte range and I would prioritize reliability and speed over cost.

    That's a single drive solution these days, so you have lots of choices. (Which, itself, can be curse.)

    - QRecall Development -
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    Steven Haver



    Joined: 25-Mar-20 12:14
    Messages: 14
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    James Bucanek wrote:I regularly use SSDs for testing new solutions—because they are so blindly fast—and I have to say it's a sweet solution if you have money to burn.)

    +1 to this. It's really amazing actually. I have both ends of the spectrum and nothing in the middle: My daily backup is to a dinosaur NAS but it's *so* slow that I've stopped doing anything other than the capture actions. Merging isn't so bad but compacting and verifying are almost intolerable. So my new plan is to just let it get full and then delete the archive and start again.

    Additionally, I keep an archive on a 2TB Samsung T5 SSD which I only capture monthly or whenever I finish a big project or make an important change. I can plug that thing in and go make a sandwich and by the time I'm back it has captured, merged, compacted, and verified. Usually it's less that 20 minutes, compared to the 20 hours it would take to do the same thing on the NAS. Now that the Samsung T7 is out, there are a lot of good deals on the T5. It's still expensive compared to an HDD but the gap is slowly closing. At the time of this post a 2TB T5 is $219, which is still a lot, but a lot less that it was a couple years ago.

    If I really had money to burn, I would get an Envoy Pro FX or something similar.
     
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