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URGENT: USB2 or Firewire 400 for mission-critical backup drive?

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by SpeedFreak, 22 Oct 2004.

  1. SpeedFreak

    SpeedFreak What's a Dremel?

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    Hey guys,

    im gonna be buying 2 removable drives to perform critical nightly backups of a Win2k server. I need the drives to be fast - so USB2 or Firewire, i also need them to be reliable. I will have to buy a USB2 or firewire controller for the server, but my question is - which one am i better off going with in terms of real-world speed, and reliability? Obviously neither drive will reach 400mbps seeing as its an ata133 drive inside, but which connection method is gonna give me the best real world speeds and be the most reliable?

    In my experience USB2 doesnt seem to be quite as reliable in achieving high speeds - but maybe ive just had bad luck?

    Opinions greatly appreciated, i need to decide today...
     
  2. Atomic

    Atomic Gerwaff

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    Use tapes with a proper rotation system.
     
  3. SpeedFreak

    SpeedFreak What's a Dremel?

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    we currently use DDS4 tapes, but you can only get 20gb tapes for DDS4. Plus, the main aim is recoverability - trying to explain to someone who isnt computer literate how to restore from an incremental tape sequence is next to impossible.

    Anyways, needless to say - as a qualified network administrator, i have a assessed the options and this is the best given the scenario. But since my experience is primarily with tapes, i need advice on which connectivity method is gonna serve me the best.

    So please, i just need an evaluation of USB2 vs Firewire - not suggestions of other backup methods

    Thanks
     
  4. phuzz

    phuzz This is a title

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    or at least have two backup drives, just in case. If your backup breaks then having a backup, backup (so to speak), will give you a warm and fuzzy feeling.

    From what I've heard Firewire seems to be a little bit faster than USB2 in the real world (I'm only going of one thing I saw tho...), and it has lower CPU use, which may sway you.
    On the otherhand USB is a bit more ubiquitous, so transfering to another computer maybe easier.

    But I'm with atomic I think, tape drives are a good way to go, being tried and tested, or possibly backup over the network?
    Using only one external drive with no backups is tempting fate a bit I think, not 'Mission Critical'.

    Have you looked into a removeable drive enclosure? Might be an alternative.
     
  5. mikeuk2004

    mikeuk2004 What you Looking at Fool!

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    One Word - SCSI. Get a SCSI array and a Fast SCSI controller. Its faster than any of the methods you mention and reliable. You can use 4 drives on mirror so you got a backup of a backup if the drive fails. If you got the money then got a whole bunch of SCSI drives.

    I currently use 4x18GB 10k drives in my game server on mirrroring.

    Even better you could use Fibre Channel. That is even faster with fibre optics. I currently got a 36GB 15k Fibre Channel Drive. Havnt got round to getting a Fibre optic card and an array to put the drive in at which Ill be getting more drives.

    Speed is always good

    Or if any of that is too expensive then get yourself a couple of those Weston Digital Raptor drives. They are 10k SATA and you can get removable cadys for SATA now or can get a SATA controller with a external connection if external is the way for you.

    But if none of that then use Firewire.
     
  6. SpeedFreak

    SpeedFreak What's a Dremel?

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    Ok firstly, we do have a tape system in place. Secondly, the plan is to have 2 drives that alternate daily, with one being kept in a firesafe at all times. The drives will be in external enclosures. Thirdly, i dont really care about USB being ubiquitous since firwire controllers are a dime a dozen, id rather get something that is more reliable. lastly, some network backups are done already.

    This system wont be the only backup system in place, but it is essential that it is as reliable as possible given the circumstances
     
  7. Guest-16

    Guest-16 Guest

    Harddisks are NOT backup devises. :duh: You will LOOSE your critical stuff just when you need it - its happened before and it will happen again. The only safety you can have in a harddisk array is RAID 5 and have it connected to a UPS with power surge protection.
     
  8. Atomic

    Atomic Gerwaff

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    Bindi pretty much sums up what I said but with reasoning.
     
  9. SpeedFreak

    SpeedFreak What's a Dremel?

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    OMG - how hard is it to get an answer to the actual question??

    the main drives in the server are a 3 drive RAID 5 10krpm SCSI setup - data IS secure. However, raid 5 isnt gonna save your ass if there is a fire in the building or someone breaks in and steals the server. It also wont protect you if someone accidently or deliberately hits the delete key on a few files.

    The point of this system IS NOT to make data redundant or to replace a RAID array, but to provide a backup system that can be kept locked away in a firesafe to store critical files to protect against theft, fire, and accidental or deliberate data tampering. External harddrives are simple and easy to use for those people who arent comfortable with tape media series' and data can be recovered in any machine with a USB or firewire port.

    Now please, answer the question - or dont post at all...
     
  10. Atomic

    Atomic Gerwaff

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    If you must use HDDs Id go for an Hotswap SATA Caddy.

    FireWire Id say its been better for data transfers than USB2 in the applications we've used it at work.
     
  11. phuzz

    phuzz This is a title

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    Ahh, now i know it's not your only backup I'm feeling much more fluffy. So, Firewire vs USB?
    I'd go for Firewire.
     
  12. Guest-16

    Guest-16 Guest

    Ok, im feeling fluffy too :):) ( :worried: ) uhh, id say it doesnt matter tbh. I use USB2 for my external disk cause every PC has usb and its easier. There's SFA in it i think.
     
  13. Krikkit

    Krikkit All glory to the hypnotoad! Super Moderator

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    Ok speedfreak. I'd go for Firewire for the External HD in a little case thingy. But really i'd like a SATA/PATA caddy with a HD in it, very simple and easy really.

    Oh and by the way, you'll probably see a bandwidth increase if you set your RAM to 2,3,3,11 rather than 9 seenas you're nForce2 (that's if that hasn't been disproved by now...).
     
  14. mikeuk2004

    mikeuk2004 What you Looking at Fool!

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    If thats the case then go for the USB as every machine these days have got a USB port. Firewire is still not common on all machines. If all your office computers that this hard disk is going to be or need to be plugged into has firewire then I would get a firewire Hard disk if not then your best off with USB as you can guarantee any machine has USB.

    But I would prefer SATA drives in a removable hot swap caddy or Firewire if SATA was out of the question.
     
  15. ou7blaze

    ou7blaze sensational.

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    Firewire seems to be more consistent so I would say to go with that :thumb:
     
  16. Guest-16

    Guest-16 Guest

    Firewire is plugged into the PCI bus, so you're limited to that, however USB2 is native southbridge so youll get full throughput. I did originally say firewire disks are better but i think i prefer USB now ive used one (with both connectors) extensively - its just more convienient than firewire.
     

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