So I had another friend ask me what the best solution for large scalable backups would be. I get this question often and my answer usually is that it’s always dependent on the situation. One would think that a portable hard drive would be the way to go but lets look at that solution for a moment.
Hard drives by nature are NOT portable. Yes manufacturers can put them in fancy shock proof containers and call them “portable” but the device is should still not be moved about to any great degree during use or even when powered down. Long ago I worked for del.l During their orientation they described how a hard drive operates in real word equivalents. The example was that of a Boeing 747 jet flying about 25 feet of the ground at full speed. The read/write head assembly across the spinning disks travels at a very high-speed and even if the actuator of the drive has shock resistance any movement of the drive can bang the head against the disk causing scuffs, scratches and the like. The bane of a hard drive’s existence is fine particles of dust or any other detrius such as chips of disk platen that could potentially bounce around ruining whole sections of the disk while it is spinning. Now hopefully you see what I mean.
Equipped with your newfound knowledge you can clearly see that old style hard disks are not a great long-term backup solution. Solid State Drives have few or no moving parts. These are the best choice if you need to move the backup medium around from place to place . Such drives do not suffer the ill effects since there are no heads to damage and no platens to damage.
This is still only part of the solution since no matter what medium you choose for your backups, having all your proverbial “eggs” in one “basket” is a bad idea. Double or even triple backup redundancy is a must if you value your data at all. That is where writable Dual Layer DVDs come in. I often use these as a secondary backup method.
So there you have it. In a perfect world you use a SSD for your daily backups. You can even carry that around with you wherever you go without worrying too much about your data. Backup every month or so to a stationary hard drive, portable or otherwise. Lastly, I would also suggest every 6 months or so a backup to hard media is the amount of data and cost is within reason.
Remember kids backup, backup, backup.