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By Samuel Wilson
Since we now live in a digital age, the demand for storing and accessing data has risen exponentially. There are now small computers (smart phones) in most people’s pockets, that can access seemingly endless amounts of information and these devices can also capture life’s moments in stunning high definition (in the form of photos and videos).
Large groups of people also own digital and/or video cameras and most homes have iPads and/or tablet(s), in combination with laptops and PC’s. When all those things are coupled together, one can quickly come to the realization that there is a lot of data being accessed and stored between all those devices at any given time. All of this content can take up a lot of storage space and fast.
There are many options out there to “add on” more storage for all of the various equipment and devices in our lives. Files are able to be stored on Discs, USB Drives (or other flash based storage), internal and external hard drives, and files can even be stored on a server or in “the cloud”. All of these are great ways to expand ever growing storage needs, but are you making sure, all of your data is backed up?
One of the most overlooked things, when using technology, is making sure all of this data is backed up in secure environments. It would be a shame to lose some of life’s most precious moments, like a child’s first steps or even a family recipe and/or other family documents/photos due to data loss or theft.
In a business environment, not having data backups can result in serious consequences, including but not limited to loss of productivity, downtime, legal ramifications, monetary loss, and loss of trust. Certain files are extremely valuable in one way or another and if there isn’t additional copies of these files, they can be lost forever in the event of data loss or theft.
Many people do not realize, that data loss can occur in many ways such as: theft, natural disaster, item(s) can be lost, equipment failure, fire/flood, power surge, virus/malware, file corruption, and files can deleted/wiped on accident or on purpose, so there are numerous ways to lose important data.
With all that being said, it’s very important to have multiple copies of important data and it needs to be stored in a secure location or environment. Ideally, there should be at least 2 backups, one could be on site and the other, should be off-site (maybe the cloud and/or a friend/family members house). Having the off-site backup helps to ensure the data is safe in the event the original backup is lost or destroyed, by fire or theft for instance.
Some people have “data redundancy” setup in the form of RAID (redundant array of independent disks), but don’t have their data actually backed up; data redundancy and data backup are two separate things.
A backup, is a duplicate copy of original files (source files) taken during a specific period of time, that can be used to recover information to the original state the source files were in.
Also during a backup, corrupted files generally won’t get copied because the corrupted data cannot be correctly read, so generally a copy won’t be made (this is a good thing). Data redundancy on the other hand, works in a different manner and can be implemented using various solutions.
Data redundancy in the form of RAID, has data spread over various drives and tries to provide a few things which include: performance, storage capacity, added reliability, and maximum up-time. Data redundancy through RAID (this means no RAID 0) can help protect against disk drive failure and unrecoverable sector read errors. The most common implementations of RAID are RAID 0 (no redundancy), RAID 1, RAID 5, RAID 6 and RAID 10. All of this may sound good, but RAID also has some downfalls, so it’s still necessary to backup data even if a level of RAID is being implemented within an environment.
Unfortunately RAID cannot offer protection against software error, human error (files being overwritten, deleted, etc.) malicious human behavior, file corruption, virus/malware (basically the drive will write corrupted and/or infected data to the various drives in the array, which is very bad), natural disaster, fire/flood, power surge, theft, and multiple disk drive failure.
Although most RAID implementations can lose one drive and still operate and rebuild the drive array; losing more than drive at once (or while waiting for the array to rebuild) can mean total loss of all data, across all drives in some levels of RAID. Not all levels of the RAID can be rebuilt when concurrent hard drive failure occurs.
Best case scenario, would be to implement data redundancy and data backup to achieve the best results; however not everyone can or wants to invest the time, money, and resources to do so. All of this may even sound complicated, but at its core, its not that difficult to implement, even for individuals that don’t consider themselves to be “tech savvy”. There are various solutions in the marketplace to help get this done without much work.
For example, the Akitio NT2 U3.1 dual-bay RAID storage enclosure uses USB 3.1 Gen 2 and provides fast transfer rates of up to 10Gbps. The enclosure also features a security lock slot to keep the device secure when a security lock is used.
This device allows the user to configure the enclosure in a few different setups (Non-RAID, RAID 0, RAID 1, SPAN). Since this storage enclosure can be set up not to use RAID, it can also be used solely as a backup device. Other options include, using the enclosure as additional storage and a backup device at the same time, since each drive that is placed into the enclosure can be used independently. On top of that, the product is very easy to setup and is compatible with Windows and Mac.
In order to use this enclosure, hard drives need to be purchased from a quality manufacture like Seagate. If RAID is being implementing, purchase NAS Drives or Enterprise Drives (seagate.com), to lessen the likelihood of any problems in the future. If RAID isn’t being used, Seagate Desktop Hard Drive or Seagate SSHD can be used instead. Once the drives are purchased, they can easily be installed in the front of the enclosure, it takes no time at all. Once that is done, it’s now time to flip the unit around to the back and then move the switches to the position that relates to the desired RAID configuration (or Non-RAID).
After that, attach the appropriate cables to the unit and then connect it to a computer or laptop’s USB 3.1 port if one is available, if not, the device is backwards compatible with USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports. Finally, let Windows (or your OS) recognize the hard drives and follow the prompts on the screen. You can also head over to akitio.com for resources on getting the device properly configured or to check out the various other storage related products they offer.
Over the upcoming segments, topics regarding expandable storage, data backup, and data redundancy will be discussed. Hopefully, this will provide the necessary information and resources, so informed decisions can be made on these topics going forward. For more info visit newburghtechgroup.com.