In the past couple of weeks, my colleagues and myself experienced random deaths of Seagate Baracuda 7200 ES (Enteprise Series) hard drives. These were not “Bricks”, as people like to call recent issues with Seagate Barracudas 7200.11 – but rather almost three year old hard drives that happily worked in RAID5 arrays. In one case, two died on a five-drive RAID5 array. As you can guessed, only luck (or head) saved the data as all the critical data was also backed up on external 400GB drive. But still, backing up 1.25TB on 400GB hard drive is obviously – missing a lot of data. In another, single drive (again, Seagate Barracuda) failed containing hours of RED4K video died out. That drive was actually our backup and was not switched on all-the-time.
Couple of years ago, I believed in WD’s Marketing moto “Put Your Life On It!” and purchased WD’s external hard drive box, containing “A grade” hard drive. That drive contained all of my pictures in period between 2002-2005 and needless to say, it wasn’t going anywhere but stayed on my desk. One day, this drive simply stopped working. I took it to a data recovery company and was told that the drive has manufacturers fault and that the head scratched the drive to that level that the data could not be recovered. Needless to say, I started to back up things on DVDs and even on Blu-ray media.
Today’s announcement of Western Digital’s 2TB Green drive brings sheer joy at the amount of data you can put in a five drive RAID5 array. Bear in mind that almost every motherboard sold in the past couple of years can fit at least four of these monsters, so you can have 8TB of data on your personal computer.
Then again, backing up 8TB of data is nothing short of logistical nightmare, since Blu-ray offers only 25 or 50GB of data and will charge you an arm and a leg for a single writable medium. It pays more to buy another hard drive for backup than buying a deck of five or ten writable BD-R media. Our video production studio is producing enormous amount of content with every filming, and while we keep the edited stuff, keeping unedited footage is almost impossible due to large foot print. In that way, while we are ready for investing in 2TB drives, bear in mind that every owner should be careful if the unthinkable happens and the hard drive goes poof.
My personal advice to every owner of hard drive goes as follow: backup your most important stuff on three locations. Prioritize the importance of data. Given the size of sensitive data, sometimes, a 1GB USB stick can be more useful than a BD or tape drive.
- First tier should be your most important data – backup this online as well
- Second tier should be data such as private pictures, videos etc- for that, you can use optical media or another hard drive.
- Third tier should be something you can live without.
All in all, Google’s Gdrive cannot come soon enough. 2TB hard drive is available for 300 bucks. Excellent for your movie collection, but for anything sensitive, go with RAID5 and five drives.