Backup Media

The capacity of disk drives has increased dramatically over the years. And more importantly, we have found ways to use more disk capacity than ever before. Along with our increased storage requirements, comes increased backup requirements. Backup devices and media have increased in capacity and performance along with the disk drives over the years. I remember back in the late 1980s having a tape device that backed up about 120 Mb in 2 1/2 hours. If I hadn't upgraded my backup system I would need 2500 tapes and 260 days to backup my new 300GB disk drive just once.

Along with my periodic upgrades of computer equipment and disk storage capacity, I have upgraded my backup systems and techniques. One thing that has changed is that I only backup my data and documents now and not my programs and all of the other stuff that ends up on my hard disk. It doesn't make much sense to backup a lot of programs because I would probably need to reinstall those programs rather than restore them from media in the event of loss. I went through a long stretch where I was upgrading to better tape drives every few years because I needed more capacity and better speed. Every time I upgraded my tape backup technology, I ended up with boxes of obsolete tapes containing my valuable backups and archives. I would usually keep the old tape device around for about a year in case I needed to restore any of my old tapes.

Fast forward a few years.. I am now using "online backup", which also goes by other names like "off-site backup", "remote backup", and "Internet backup". This is light years ahead of any tape, zip drive, CD or external hard drive backup solution that I have ever used. The great news is that I don't have to worry about buying any new devices or media that will be obsolete in a few years. My data is safer than ever before because it is stored off-site and is virtually disaster proof. My data is safe if my house burns to the ground, or if a tornado wipes out my community, or if an earthquake or hurricane destroys the entire city. God forbid that any of these disasters occur, but if it happens, my data will be available for me to restore when I find a place to lite.

Online backup systems are the newest evolution of backup technology. The advent of affordable broadband Internet has made this possible. Online backup services can be found at very reasonable costs. You probably wont use these services to backup 300Gb (and you probably don't need to), but they are ideal for your important documents, pictures and music files. You can expect online backup services to improve and offer more capacity as Internet connectivity and bandwidth increases.

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