External HDs as replacement for tapes?

By mellestad@mlindustries. ·
I am an admin for a business with about 80 workstations, and six servers. Our databasae tape drive crapped out and I am looking in to new solutions. I can get a 300GB external hard drive for about $150, and I already have backup software and, is there any reason not to just buy ten of these drives and rotate them just like my old tape scheme?

With the drives, I could back up all my servers to one piece of hardware, and not worry about tapes screwing up during a restore.

It seems simple enough I am afraid there must be some hidden issues. Ideas?

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That might depend on how you use them

by jdmercha In reply to External HDs as replaceme ...

If you have to manually install the hard drive each time, that takes longer than just slapping in a tape. And hard drives are much more prone to failure, especially if you are physically moving them all the time. I wouldn't count on any more than a three year useful life for each drive.

But if you have them all installed in an array so that they never move, it should be much more stable. But then you won't have the protection of off site storage.

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If the backup software will recognize them

by CG IT In reply to External HDs as replaceme ...

Then Network Area Storage or Storage Area Network [NAS or SAN] is a great way to get rid of tapes and go with external drives.

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Just one observation here

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to External HDs as replaceme ...

I have many Small Business Clients who go this way and as they use 2.5 inch HDD in USB Caddies they seem to manage about 6 months out of a drive before they manage to destroy the drive. The first time that they took out a Drive it was expensive to recover the data but we now scrap the drives after 5 months and there are no problems.

Personally I would be using Tape with an Auto Loader in these places but the cost can not be justified though at the rate that they are going through HDD's maybe it would have been the cheaper option in the long run.

The thing here really depends on who will be caring the HDD's around and will they treat them properly. One of the owners not only managed to destroy the drive but the USB Enclosure as well. I'm not sure just how he managed that one but it was a nuisance to say the least when it happened.

As I suppose you'll be looking at 3.5 inch Drives you'll need to think about suitable USB Caddies to place them in and you'll want the good metal ones to help dissipate heat that the drives generate and along with the Power Supplies that these things come with they do get bulky. Even if you rely on removable Drive Enclosures in the machines these are not Hot Swappable so you would have to shut down and reboot after fitting or changing a drive so the USB or Firewire Option is the better of the 2 but at the expense of the drives reliability.


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