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Ask Slashdot: Simple Way To Backup 24TB of Data Onto USB HDDs ? 405

An anonymous reader writes "Hi there ! I'm looking for a simple solution to backup a big data set consisting of files between 3MB and 20GB, for a total of 24TB, onto multiple hard drives (usb, firewire, whatever) I am aware of many backup tools which split the backup onto multiple DVDs with the infamous 'insert disc N and press continue', but I haven't come across one that can do it with external hard drives (insert next USB device...). OS not relevant, but Linux (console) or MacOS (GUI) preferred... Did I miss something or is there no such thing already done, and am I doomed to code it myself ?"
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Ask Slashdot: Simple Way To Backup 24TB of Data Onto USB HDDs ?

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  • USB and disk Speed (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gagol ( 583737 ) on Friday August 10, 2012 @05:27AM (#40943507)
    May be your limiting factor here.
  • Tape? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mwvdlee ( 775178 ) on Friday August 10, 2012 @05:48AM (#40943625) Homepage

    Why not tape, backup RAID, SAN or some other dedicated backup hardware solution?
    24TB is well within the range that a professional solution would be required.
    Given a harddisk size of ~1TB, making a single backup to 24 disk isn't a backup; it's throwing data in a garbage can.
    More than likely atleast one of those disks will die before it's time.

  • by drsmithy ( 35869 ) <drsmithy@ g m a i l . c om> on Friday August 10, 2012 @05:51AM (#40943651)

    If you can achieve a sustained write speed of 50 megabytes per second, you are in for 140 hours of data transfer. I hope it is not a daily backup!

    I'd be willing to bet his change rate isn't 24TB/day.

  • No. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by AdmV0rl0n ( 98366 ) on Friday August 10, 2012 @05:58AM (#40943679) Homepage Journal

    I'm not sure if you posed the question out of being nieve, or if its just being daft. You don't want to be moving 24TB over the USB bus. End of discussion really - at least in terms of USB.

    Whoever or however you ended up looking at USB for this was wrong/wrong way.

    You have lots of choice in terms of boxes, servers, NAS boxes, locally attached storage. 24TB is in the range of midrange NAS boxes.

    Once you have this, you can start to make choices on the many backup, replication, and duplication bits of software that already exist, both free and proprietary.

  • Re:Tape? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Friday August 10, 2012 @06:21AM (#40943783) Homepage

    Yup. spool to tape. get a SDLT600 tape cabinet and call it done. if you get a 52 tape robot cabinet you will have space to not only hold a complete backup but a second full backup in incrementals that will all run automatically. Plus it has the highest reliability.

    And anyone whining about the cost. If your 24Tb of data is not worth that much then why are you bothering to back it up?

  • Backup advice (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 10, 2012 @07:45AM (#40944171)

    I do things like this all the time with a data set about half of that, ~ 12TB. You didnt say anything about what the data is but from the request and the fact you mentioned USB I would gather this is your typical warez hording mp3/flac, mkv, apps and also a personal picture and video collection of fam.

    Here is a checklist i would execute similiar to mine. I find the most reliable way to keep your data over the years is by following a checklist or procedure and choosing when to move to the next storage platform.

    Step 0: Get USB out of your head. Pop upon the drive and attach it to the native bus, PATA, SATA. if SATA may want to invest in ESATA cases. Its not solely the speed. I have done stupid things like this, in which the data backup takes over 2 days, and on the 2nd day some unrelated event affecting my USB bus causes all kinds of problems with the transfer. Over time doing cheesy things like this affects other things, like doing stupid shit in real life, usually with duct tape or guerrilla glue, then you have your wife on you. Right now your wife may not catch on to this, but it will escalate. Just do shit the right way.

    Step 1: Organize. Actually understand what you are backing up. I never got into these tools like google desktop that allow a user to accept the fact that he/she has no idea where their files are. Understand and make an effort to organize your files before you back them up and know the capacity of each 'genre' of crap you are backing up. Run a tool like 'jdiskreport' to find this information out after you organize. Create a mapping on paper of where shit is going, zork style. If you have really important shit like family pictures, taking up say 200GB, and your mkv collection is 12TB, you may want to make 2x copies of your family shit. Anything you download off the internet is easily replaceble despite how obscure your tastes may be and will turn up again. I would question even backing it up but that is another conversation.

    Step 2. Label your drives accordingly to your documentation.

    Step 3. Format the drives in the most likely native format you will use and are familiar with. If you are a noob linux guy who runs Windows 7 all the time, dont be an idiot and experiment with your backup on ext3. It is not that ext3 is a bad filesystem, but you may not be the most skilled in restoring your data in various scenarios. For example im a linux and solaris geek but am just getting into macs --- im not comfortable enough with mac failures enough to store my crap on a mac fs. Whatever your skillset is, dont use the most optimal file system on paper, use what you know, even if it is NTFS (which imo is very reliable).

    Step 4. Copy your shit over using your knowledge of your data organization and native OS commands or tools.

    Step 5. Run a checksum on your important stuff and store the hashes to verify everything is fine over time. Odd situations occur when backing up data. I have run into cases where i didnt realize the files i was about to backup were bad/corrupt until i saw the good copy on a backup drive i was about to incrementally overwrite.

    Step 6. Store the shit somewhere else if you can reasonably do this and feel confident in the security of your data. If you have to start encrypting your crap, you add some more complexity that can effect the reliability of your restoration, but again if you proceduralize and keep up on it you will be fine.

    Backup design and integrity is hard work and serious business when dealing with large volumes. It reminds me of the Seinfeld episode where he goes to the car rental place and they dont have his car and he goes into his "Anyone can take the ticket" diatribe. Anyone can back up their data. But can you get it back? I am not an expert in this area and dont pretend to be, i am just a seasoned IT administrator who has performed alot of backups in my day and have managed to keep most of my data safe over the years.

  • Re:solution (Score:4, Insightful)

    by AvitarX ( 172628 ) <me.brandywinehundred@org> on Friday August 10, 2012 @08:29AM (#40944437) Journal

    Is it that much faster for 3mb to 20 gb files?

To do two things at once is to do neither. -- Publilius Syrus