In Valid Logic

Endlessly expanding technology

More on backup strategies

After talking about Windows Home Server yesterday, I've been looking at my opinions for data backup some lately.

My current data needs are about 100gb (around 50gb photos, and 50gb other files).  They tend to expand by approximately 50gb per year (about 40gb of photos, I take a lot of photos, and 10gb of other files).  So in 3 years, I would have about 250gb, and in 5 years I would need about 350gb.

I am looking at 3-4 different options.  First, keep the RAID NAS box that I have already.  It will cover my needs beyond 5 years, provides redundancy, and has low power consumption (an important thing to take into account).  Power consumption on the NAS box is about $10-12/month, as it tends to use about 55-70 watts.  However, it doesn't mean any sort of off-site backup, so Mozy may still be a good option with it.

Option 2 would be to use Windows Home Server in conjunction with a service like Mozy.  As I mentioned previously, I don't like its redundancy options as much, so I would probably pair it with Mozy (which is only $5/month).  However, it would have to use a full computer.  I could either use one I already have or build a low power one like my Media Center PC, though either way, it would definitely use more power than my NAS box, so its monthly costs would likely be $20-25/month for power.  Additionally, it would be a server, and I rarely keep servers for 3-5 years... I'd be lucky to go 2 years without an upgrade bug.  So that adds to the costs.

Third, I could ditch the NAS box and move its HDs into my main desktop, and then use Mozy to back those up.  This would be much lower power consumption than even the NAS box, I could sell the NAS box and probably an HD or two, and would just have the $5 cost of Mozy.

And finally, I could use a service like Amazon's S3 which has a flat cost of $0.15/gb/month and $0.20/gb transferred.  S3 is attractive since it has no start up costs and is cheap to begin with, though as time goes on, its costs will be ever increasing.  There is some talk about how it will likely get cheaper over time, as HD costs go down and the costs are spread out more over their systems, but that has yet to be seen.  Another mixed result is that it doesn't require local copies.  I don't always need to have a local copy of all of my photos for instance, so my local storage capacity needs are lower, but the disadvantage is that I don't have it locally when I might need it, such as when my connection goes down, or if S3 goes under.  Additionally, I may not want to pay that much for some of the important files I want locally, like ISOs and such.  Those aren't worth $0.15/gb/month, but I want them backed up, so would maybe need a S3+local+Mozy option.

Most of the options involve Mozy, and there could be some uncertainty about Mozy lasting.  They are very cost effective for the consumer, but don't know how that carries over to their business model.  However, those options with Mozy all involve local copies, so I could easily migrate to another easily.  Mozy is VC funded, so that could always dry up, or they could always be bought out or something and have their service suffer.

Cheapest by far would be to move the HDs into my desktop and just use Mozy.  The easiest option would likely be to keep the NAS and maybe use Mozy with it.  I like the NAS box already, and it kind of a sunken cost since I already own it.  Selling it would have an uncertain cost as I don't know how easy it would be to sell or how much I'd get for it.

Overall, they all are close to each other and could easily be swayed depending on a number of factors.  I think it ultimately comes down to what your priorities are and what you are comfortable with. IE, want to maintain local copies, or comfortable not maintaining a local copy to lower your capacity needs.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

 
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