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  1. #1
    SitePoint Addict Kakarot720's Avatar
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    Using a burner as a backup drive

    This seems to be a fairly inexpensive way to make daily backups of data. Is it feasible? A tape drive is currently being used but my client is unhappy with it's performance and wants to go to an alternative method of backup. The only problem I forsee in using a burner is finding cd burning software that has a scheduler or some sort of back up utility. Does anybody know where I can obtain such software?

    Thanx!!

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    SitePoint Wizard creole's Avatar
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    In the Long run the Tape drive would be cheaper. The media is reusable where CD's are not.

    It might just mean that you need a better tape drive. Are you using a SCSI solution or something else? SCSI tape drives should be more than fast enough for the average user.
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  3. #3
    SitePoint Addict Kakarot720's Avatar
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    Creole, I agree with you on the whole tape drive thing. I told him that tape is the traditional method for backups. Needless to say he's stuck on using CD's. I figured if we use CD-RW's we could cut down on the costs. I'm not exactly sure what type of tape drive he is using, but I do know that it is very unreliable. It has broken on him several times now. Apparently he bought the computer from Erols/Starpower and they have a warranty on the tape drive, so everytime it breaks they just replace it. He's fed up w/that, so he's looking for other solutions. I don't think speed is an issue at all, as long as the backups are done nightly...

  4. #4
    Procrastinator Extraordinaire lucas's Avatar
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    i think high quality cd-rw's are good for about 1000 reburns. since cd-rw's are less than a buck a piece, it doesn't seem like such a bad idea. if they get a good quality drive they should be able to back up 700 meg in about 15 minutes.

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    SitePoint Wizard creole's Avatar
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    Yes, but keep in mind that not all computers can read discs that are "re-writable". If putting this information on another computer is ever a possibility then DON'T go this route.

    If the tape drive is giving your client so much trouble then the next time it breaks tell your client to demand an upgrade to a better one. If this company is good at Customer Service (it sounds like they are), then they should be willing to upgrade to a quality model simply for the difference between the two units.
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  6. #6
    SitePoint Addict Kakarot720's Avatar
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    Any ideas where I can get cd burner software that has a backup utility or some sort of scheduler built in?

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    program for scheluling cd backups

    HP used to make one. You select the files/folders, then whether you want it to be complete or only the changed data, and then the time for it to run. Never had to restore anything but when i checked the cd-rw it always looked like it was working.

  8. #8
    SitePoint Wizard dominique's Avatar
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    CD-R or CD-RW are not ideal for daily backups if you ask me. You can never forget to replace the disk every day, and (although this is becoming less of an issue nowadays) the computer shouln't be doing anything else besides burning the disk, that includes screen savers and antivirus and most of what hides in the system tray, don't forget network talk as well.

    Also, I don't know how much your client backs up at once, but if it's more than one disk then he has to be there to replace it when it's full. And even if it's less, he's going to want to get as much on the disk as he can, so the he will always be prompted with "Disc Full" messages at night when he's not there, whereas a Tape drive can hold a great deal more space.

    Tape cassettes also take up less space. 30 GB of tapes is much smaller than 30GB of CDs, not to mention it's less of a hassle to get the whole 30GB back on the HD.

    Mind you, CD-R and CD-RW are ideal for monthly household backups, but not in such a case where a daily backup is vital.

  9. #9
    SitePoint Addict Kakarot720's Avatar
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    I think I should have explained the situation better. He is actually backing up a database of patient information. So it is only a single directory that is being backed up.
    CD-R or CD-RW are not ideal for daily backups if you ask me. You can never forget to replace the disk every day, and (although this is becoming less of an issue nowadays) the computer shouln't be doing anything else besides burning the disk, that includes screen savers and antivirus and most of what hides in the system tray, don't forget network talk as well.
    He already changes the tapes on a daily basis, so changing CD's would not be a problem for him. The backups are done at night, so no activity, except for the backup software and the sys tray junk, is occuring. The machines are on a peer to peer connection (only 2 machines), so network talk is not a factor either.
    Also, I don't know how much your client backs up at once, but if it's more than one disk then he has to be there to replace it when it's full.
    This could definitely be an issue. The tape he uses is 20GB, but he has no idea how big the DB is. I will have to go down there and find that out myself. I find it hard to believe that he has 20GB of patient data though. But we shall see...

    Yes, but keep in mind that not all computers can read discs that are "re-writable". If putting this information on another computer is ever a possibility then DON'T go this route.
    Creole, I had not even considered this. Do you think it will be much of an issue? These backups will only be used in an emergency. I will definitely have to test for this if we decide to go this route...
    OK, since everybody seems to be hating on the CD idea how about an Iomega Zip/Jaz drive? More reliable than tape? Easy to use backup utility? I'm open to all suggestions and comments...

    Thanx!!!!
    Last edited by Kakarot720; Jun 5, 2001 at 05:43.

  10. #10
    I am the night... bman's Avatar
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    i use a zip drive to do my backup at home.. i am only backing up one folder though.. i make sure to keep anything i want to back up in that folder..

    then all i do is create a batch file that copies everything from that folder to the zip disk. and i run the batch file whenever i make chnages.

    if you are just backing up one directory (i think thats what you said you are doing) than this is a plausible solution. just have him start the batch file running before leaves at night...

    --------

    i know this is not as a good a way to back up things as using actual backup software, but it works for me, and i thought i would atleast throw it out there for you.
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  11. #11
    SitePoint Wizard dominique's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Kakarot720
    OK, since everybody seems to be hating on the CD idea how about an Iomega Zip/Jaz drive? More reliable than tape? Easy to use backup utility? I'm open to all suggestions and comments...
    If the patient database fits on one cd then it wouldn't be all that bad to use CD-RWs.

    Zip disks are only 250MB, so if he already replaces 20GB Tape casettes daily I don't think that's much of a solution.

    Jaz disks hold 2GB, so you might want to look into them. It needs a SCSI card to use though (There is a USB adapter, but it's extra) so you won't be able to bring it from computer to computer easily.

    As for CD-RWs not working on all computers, that's true for older computers, but newer ones should be able to read them without problems. You might want to test it out though, just to be safe.

    [Don't forget to take the price of Zip/Jaz disks compared to CD-RWs into consideration!]

  12. #12
    SitePoint Wizard creole's Avatar
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    If you only plan on using this on one computer then the Castlewood Orb drive might be good for you.

    It costs about $100US less than the Jaz, hold twice as much and the disks are about 1/4 the price as a Jaz disk.

    Another solution is the OnStream. It's an optical media device similar to the Jaz but it's disk holds around 30 gigs. The disk is about the same price as a Jaz disk I think.

    OnStream

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  13. #13
    One website at a time mmj's Avatar
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    The problem with CDs are that they can only hold about 640 Mb.

    However, CDs are good for incremental backups. It can do a daily backup onto the CD of just the files that have changed since the last backup.

    But then again, a tape can do that too.

    While a tape backup system has more expensive initial outlay, it can be more convenient in the long run.

    About using CDRW: You shouldn't use the same CD all the time, maybe change it once a week. The reason is that if there develops a failure in one CD, you can still restore older files from another CD.
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  14. #14
    SitePoint Wizard creole's Avatar
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    agreed...

    most people that do backups will have a Monday, Wednesday, Friday disc and a Tuesday, Thursday disk. That way, if one disc goes out they are never out more than one days work.
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