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Data Storage

How To Store Internal Hard Drives? 393

mike writes "I have been ripping all my movies and TV shows for easy viewing through a media PC. Because I would rather not rip everything again I'm looking for a simple backup solution. I'm considering a hard drive dock and several internal hard drives to use as 'disks' to back things up every once in a while but I don't know what the best way to store internal drives would be in the meantime. Could they sit together in any empty box and be OK, or would a number of externals be worth the slightly higher cost with fewer worries about storing them in the meantime?"
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How To Store Internal Hard Drives?

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  • Both methods have pros and cons. Which appeals to you and your budget more? Choose that one. Any clean, dry, vibration-free storage is good for removed internal drives.

    • Re:Take your pick (Score:5, Informative)

      by MightyYar ( 622222 ) on Tuesday May 12, 2009 @10:15AM (#27921517)

      Any clean, dry, vibration-free storage is good for removed internal drives.

      Yeah, they come in a nice box with antistatic bag and desiccant... what's wrong with that? Certainly the manufacturer likes this setup.

      • Re:Take your pick (Score:5, Informative)

        by sunderland56 ( 621843 ) on Tuesday May 12, 2009 @10:28AM (#27921711)
        And use one of these [thinkgeek.com] to plug them in when needed.

        Any solution that has the drives unpowered is preferable - no point in spinning a drive 24/7 when it's used for backup 5 minutes a week.
        • eSATA and 'books' (Score:5, Interesting)

          by mollog ( 841386 ) on Tuesday May 12, 2009 @10:37AM (#27921881)
          1Tb external 'books' are enclosed, store and look like books, can be labeled like books, and can be unplugged and plugged in like they're removable media. And they're not that expensive.
        • Re:Take your pick (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Aladrin ( 926209 ) on Tuesday May 12, 2009 @10:49AM (#27922085)

          You could attach a metal handle and call them 'wedges' a la Dollhouse.

          The scene where he 'saves' the wedge from calling, they show the back of the drive and they're SATA. Hehe.

          • I think the "wedge" refers to the slice of the brain contained on it and not the hard drive itself. The metal handle is there because they are hot swappable and the handle folds over to lock it in their cradle (think backplane). When they fist started talking about the wedges, they mentioned that they data blocks containing a slice of someone's life up to the time it was made.

            It's like using a windows XP box as a file server. It isn't really a server but if that's its only rule, you generally call the works

            • Re:Take your pick (Score:5, Informative)

              by HTH NE1 ( 675604 ) on Tuesday May 12, 2009 @12:19PM (#27923399)

              I think the "wedge" refers to the slice of the brain contained on it and not the hard drive itself.

              As with other things, the nomenclature shifts such that the device is referred to by its content or function. For all intents and purposes, if the drive only contains the wedge, the drive becomes the wedge made manifest.

              Compare how you tell someone to "put in the movie" without regard to the medium on which it is stored (VHS tape, DVD) or the player (VCR, PS3). The storage material is immaterial; only the material stored upon it matters in casual parlance.

              There's also how we hold on to some obsolete terms such as "dialing a phone" even when it is done on a keypad instead of a spinning rotary dial (even in science fiction, you have the DHD (Dial Home Device) which only ever spun rotary style on the animated Stargate Infinity). And though "don't touch that remote" has largely supplanted "don't touch that dial" for TVs, we still talk about "rewinding" video even when there is no spool of tape to be rewound, and probably will for a very long time to come.

              The terms were coined in reference to the mechanism, but they stick around because it was never about the mechanism, only the effect.

          • When I saw that scene, I thought "Shenanigans!". I wouldn't trust my brain contents to be stored on a single drive with no RAID. =)
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            Actually "wedges" was coined in the book Mother of Storms by John Barnes to refer to people's extracted memories.

        • Re:Take your pick (Score:5, Informative)

          by Chief Camel Breeder ( 1015017 ) on Tuesday May 12, 2009 @11:06AM (#27922357)
          I have contacts at the European Southern Observatory where the security copy of their archive is on disconnected hard-drives. Based on in-house tests, they reckon that the drives last very well provided that they are spun up at least once per year. If they are left unpowered for longer than that they tend to die.
        • Re:Take your pick (Score:4, Insightful)

          by linear a ( 584575 ) on Tuesday May 12, 2009 @11:31AM (#27922727)
          Don't forget to migrate to a new (set of) drives every 5 years or so. Drives get bigger and in my experience you can collapse 4-5 into 1 after that period. This assumes you end up with lots of drives. This also refreshes your copies of the data. Sidebar - watch out for your O/S silently converting long file names to 8.3 filenames if your filepathnames are too long (esp. if you lengthen the filepathname somehow).
        • by Amouth ( 879122 )

          i spent a bit looking for a good solution to a similar problem and while testing and revwing different sata docking stations

          http://www.thermaltakeusa.com/Products.aspx?C=1346 [thermaltakeusa.com]

          came out to be over all the most reliable dock i've found

          the one from think geek was annoyingly flaky

      • Re:Take your pick (Score:5, Informative)

        by rackserverdeals ( 1503561 ) on Tuesday May 12, 2009 @10:29AM (#27921733) Homepage Journal

        Newegg has Hard Drive Protectors http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817990010 [newegg.com]

        I've just stored drives in anti-static bags for some of my test systems when I upgrade drives and want to keep the old drives for messing around with. Haven't run into any problems.

        • by Amouth ( 879122 )

          thank you for that link.. i have been looking for something exactly like that for a couple days now.. with zero luck.

          i was about to place and order from newegg anyways..

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by JWSmythe ( 446288 )

        For old drives that I pulled from servers, I just stuck them in a cardboard box on the floor of my office. When I needed an old small drive for something, I'd pull it from the box. :) I wasn't confident in wiping them to sell or dispose of, so staying in my control was safer. Hey, they were old, they weren't worth anything to sell anyways.

        Except for the drives that already had stickers that said "bad sectors" or "clicks", they usually worked years later.

        The s

      • Re:Take your pick (Score:5, Informative)

        by Bakkster ( 1529253 ) <Bakkster,man&gmail,com> on Tuesday May 12, 2009 @12:24PM (#27923467)

        Any clean, dry, vibration-free storage is good for removed internal drives.

        Yeah, they come in a nice box with antistatic bag and desiccant... what's wrong with that? Certainly the manufacturer likes this setup.

        Yeah, that should be good enough. The three things that are going to kill a drive are:
        1) Physical damage. Keep them in a box in a safe place where they won't be dropped or crushed.
        2) Static electricity. Especially with exposed components, and the possibility of hundreds of volts of static between two points in a room, keep it in a anti-static bag.
        3) Humidity. No brainer, just keep a dessicant in there for long periods of storage.
        As others have stated, simply running the drives occasionally will prevent the internals from having issues. As far as environmental issues, though, these should be the only three things you need to watch for in storage.

    • by arete ( 170676 ) <areteslashdot2&xig,net> on Tuesday May 12, 2009 @10:50AM (#27922105) Homepage

      The only big advantage of the externals is that the connectors are a bit more robust, so if you're going to plug/unplug them a LOT, you're a bit better off.

      But for maximum longevity you should take 'vibration free' seriously. That is, you shouldn't lay a drive on a hard table, because when you set it there there's a surprisingly large impact. Set it on a layer of bubblewrap or foam, instead.

      If you have humidity issues, I believe you can collect desiccant packets from other things and bake them on low heat to 'refresh' them (bake out the existing humidity) Ideally do this baking with good ventilation.

  • At the very least... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 12, 2009 @10:15AM (#27921521)

    You should store them in the plastic containers they came in: http://www.ixbt.com/storage/scsi2005/roundup/fujitsu-pack.jpg [ixbt.com] These plastic boxes are anti-static and the bumps provide a modicum of shock absorbance. You might also want to add a (fresh) silica pack to prevent moisture from building up.

  • Easy solution (Score:5, Informative)

    by nhtshot ( 198470 ) on Tuesday May 12, 2009 @10:16AM (#27921523) Homepage

    Buy a cheap used box from a local shop.

    You can get P4 class boxes for around $100.

    Stuff it full of drives, set up software raid and keep everything there.

    In addition to providing a nice place to store backups, you can also use it for primary storage. I assume since you're ripping video that this is an HT-PC.

    I prefer not to have a bunch of loud HDD's in my HT-PC. Put that crap in a closet.

    • Re:Easy solution (Score:5, Interesting)

      by yincrash ( 854885 ) on Tuesday May 12, 2009 @10:17AM (#27921545)
      make sure your closet doesn't overheat.
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by durval ( 233404 )

        make sure your closet doesn't overheat.

        Nope. An unpowered hard-drive has MUCH greater tolerance to temperature than a powered one. Unless you are planning on keeping them powered up in your closet, that is... :-)

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by camperdave ( 969942 )
          My guess is that if the suggestion is to get a cheap used pc and stuff it full of drives, and raid them together, that the intention *is* for them to be powered on. Otherwise, why bother with the used machine? Just get a drive toaster as suggested elsewhere.
        • Re:Easy solution (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Sandbags ( 964742 ) on Tuesday May 12, 2009 @01:43PM (#27924709) Journal

          It's actually far more important for the temperature to remain relatively constant (a 10F degree range or so) than it is to remain under a certain temp. your closet isn't going to get anywhere near 158 degrees, or more than 40 below zero... Even when spinning HDDs are acceptable up to quite uncomfortable for human temperatures! at idle the range increases quite a bit. However, a poorly insulared closet could fluctuate 30 degrees or more, and on a daily basis, that couold cause a lot of damage. Keeping your PC powered on helps maintain HDD life by keeping a slightly more contact temp (this used to be to avoid chip creap in the old days, but now it's about the PS and HDD).

          Also, 300G shocks are within the "normal" range for a non-spinning disk. Shock absorption is not a requirement unless you plan to ship it. I think it was Seagate who used to have a commercial where they froze a HDD in a block of ice, played hockey with it, then thawed it out and it worked...

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by i.r.id10t ( 595143 )

      +1 - relatively cheap (just paid $350 for 3 1tb drives and a sata controller for a 2tb raid-5 array) and easy to do.

      Just remember to use a redundant raid - remember the 0 in raid-0 indicates how much data you'll still have if you suffer a failure

    • ick, softraid (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Benanov ( 583592 ) <brian.kemp@member. f s f.org> on Tuesday May 12, 2009 @10:28AM (#27921717) Journal

      Unless it's one known for its ability to work on various and sundry drives (as opposed to identical ones), and probably built into whatever OS OP is running...don't recommend softraid.

      Controller card/motherboard goes, or enough drives go and all his data's gone.

    • by JayAEU ( 33022 )

      While that certainly is a feasible solution, I'd rather get a proper NAS from Qnap or Synology instead. They do all the work for you and offer lots of additional benefits, staying cool and being reliable among the most important ones. Not to mention iSCSI, uPNP and advanced RAID and SMART configurations that let you know when (or before) something's wrong with your disks.

      • by nhtshot ( 198470 )

        Granted, this isn't pertinent to the OP...

        But, they're also SLOW. I've never found a NAS box that could even come close to a even a P4 running linux.

        Use a faster box with multiple SATA channels on PCI-E cards and we're talking real performance.

        I'm loathe to even think about how iSCSI would work off a cheap NAS box. I don't think I'd want to try it.

    • Point Missed (Score:5, Insightful)

      by travisd ( 35242 ) <.ten.sabut. .ta. .dsivart.> on Tuesday May 12, 2009 @10:35AM (#27921839) Homepage

      The OP already has the online storage covered. This is regarding using HDD's for offline (not spinning) storage. Even if they're not being accessed and are physically separate from the primary storage, you still are subject to wear (spinning platters) and things like power surges.

      Putting the dries back into their orignal enclosures, or perhaps an "OEM Pack" piece of foam (with anti-static bags) may be the best option. Better, consider putting the whole mess into a media-rated fire-safe.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by nhtshot ( 198470 )

        When you need to back up, turn on the machine.

        When you're done, shut it down.

        Offline storage at it's finest.

    • Re:Easy solution (Score:4, Insightful)

      by cuby ( 832037 ) on Tuesday May 12, 2009 @10:41AM (#27921955)
      Low reliability end energy inefficient. A P4 burns more or less 60w in idle. A drive easily use 15w. If the power supply has an 50% efficiency... that is perfectly normal for old cases. If you have 3 disks you use (60+3*15)*1.5= 157.5 w. Add more 20w to motherboard, memory and stuff and you get almost 180W in idle. This is a LOT after one year.

      If you are not still convinced. Try to imagine how to recover the raid array after one disk dies... Search the net and you'll find a lot of people that was unable to recover arrays because they used cheap hardware.

      Because of this I discarded NAS and similar solutions. I have external hard drives and I plug them as I need using USB. Put them away from kids, sun and humidity and they will be fine.
      • by nhtshot ( 198470 )

        It's only energy inefficient when it's on...

        Because of this I discarded NAS and similar solutions.I have external hard drives and I plug them as I need using USB. Put them away from kids, sun and humidity and they will be fine.

        And what happens to you in a drive failure? Instead of even having the option to recover your data, you just automatically loose it.

        For the record, I've recovered lots of HW and SW raids over the years. It's been a pain in the ass a few times, but I've yet to loose data.

        Those of you that backup to single external drives can't say that, or will soon not be able to say that once one of them fails.

        I'd rather have to fight a recovery procedure then automatically know

  • by wiplash ( 787883 ) on Tuesday May 12, 2009 @10:16AM (#27921529)
    If so, it might be smart to install/store them in inexpensive, standard USB disk enclosure caddies. That way, when you do need to go back to your archive, you can pop 'em into your USB port and they're ready to go straight away! And if you go for one of those book-style enclosures, it makes for a neat way to store them too.
  • by rednip ( 186217 ) on Tuesday May 12, 2009 @10:19AM (#27921585) Journal

    Why don't you try a box and use magnets as packing peanuts? Be sure to leave them in a hot, humid place, like a shower, and never every spin them up

    Dry, cool, and individually placed in anti-static bags, just be sure to spin them up every so often.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by goffster ( 1104287 )

      Don't forget to irradiate with X-rays to remove any bacteria.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Barny ( 103770 )

      Nah, you can get better density if you use the original foam packing that they come with, the only problem is if you spin them up in it you will cook the things, I solved this by lining up a big 3" drill bit and driving it down through all the drives and attaching a fan to the end, keeps em cool.

      Or (if you want a real solution) you could, I dunno, get an old army ammo case from your local disposals store (we have em called Aussie Disposals), cut the same packing foam used to ship (as joked about above) and

      • I agree with everything you said except using foam. I'd suggest using a material that would still protect the drive, but conduct the heat from the drives to the exterior of the ammo box quickly (a la heatpipe/sink style).
        • by Barny ( 103770 )

          Foam is cheap, doesn't conduct electricity, and the original question was just how to store them safely, not how to make something to power them up in :)

          But yes, if you plan to power them up, I would suggest making up proper mounting brackets and bolting the drives into the box so it can dissipate heat through the casing.

    • I prefer iron filings to magnets for a packing peanut substitue. They are much softer and absorb vibration better.

  • by TinBromide ( 921574 ) on Tuesday May 12, 2009 @10:23AM (#27921641)
    At work, we would routinely have to deal with 5-10 hard drives a day and probably would order 40-60 a month. We stored them in anti-static bags [cdw.com] in a bankers box. While that's not the exact brand we used (we bought them in 100 packs), its similar. During the few years we used those bags, we did not lose a single drive to storage loss. There were drives that were DOA or died during processing, or were dropped, but we never pulled a drive that was working the previous time only to discover that it was dead when we pulled it.

    As for hookup, you have a couple of options. If you are going to do casual use, you can get an esata dock [thinkgeek.com]. It doesn't have a fan, but for all but the most intense use, it should be sufficient for transfering files and weekly backups. If you're looking for more, go with sata sleds [cdw.com] (again not the brand I used, but similar), you can screw your hard drives into those and if your sata controller supports it, hot swap the drives. You can also buy extra sleds so that you can swap out your drives without having to handle the internal drive.
    • I do something similar, but use aluminum foil instead of the anti-static bags. Because anti-static bags are conductive (to force all charge to the outside of the bag via Gauss's law) this is just as effective, not to mention cheaper.
      • by GigsVT ( 208848 ) on Tuesday May 12, 2009 @10:47AM (#27922059) Journal

        Aluminum foil is not a good choice for anti-static material.

        Mainly, it's too conductive. For a hard disk it's not that big of a deal, but suppose you used it on a motherboard. You'd have an exploded lithium battery.

        In a hard disk, I can imagine an unlikely scenario where a charged capacitor on the board killed another component through the foil.

        Anyway there's good reasons that anti-static material is only slightly conductive. At 1000+ volts it is plenty conductive, but at lower voltages, it's more like an insulator.

    • It's could just a fluke, but I got one of those cheapo NexStar docks (the single bay, not the double) and I got a lot of write errors. I'm guessing it's because the drive is real wobbly, standing up like that and it couldn't handle the vibrations. I would suggest either getting a different brand (something that locks the drive in place better) or just get a standard enclosure. It's a shame, I really like the concept.

    • Can you post the SATA sled brand you do use? I'm interested, but don't want to pay CDW $27/sled. =(
      • we used to use kingwin [newegg.com] and you can get trays for them for 14.99 a pop [newegg.com], but the fan gets noisy after a while, little plastic bits break off. I'm not super thrilled with the drive bays, which is why I didn't try to hard to find the ones I used. A trayless triple bay is really nice, but it takes up to 5.25" bays in the case. (I currently can't find the triple bays on cdw that we used).
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      If you're looking for more, go with sata sleds (again not the brand I used, but similar), you can screw your hard drives into those and if your sata controller supports it, hot swap the drives. You can also buy extra sleds so that you can swap out your drives without having to handle the internal drive.

      Forget sleds, go trayless. [newegg.com] There are a variety of trayless sata racks available from a couple of different manufactureres, including multi-disk designs. I have them in all of my systems, they work great in windows and linux.

  • Off site backup! (Score:5, Informative)

    by MathFox ( 686808 ) on Tuesday May 12, 2009 @10:26AM (#27921681)
    Professionals keep (at least) one off-site backup. You could rent a private locker in a bank or some other organization or make an online backup deal. I do use (two) USB disks for backups. They are pretty portable, fairly robust, plug in nearly every computer, have decent speed and good capacity.
    • Rotate the backups! (Score:3, Interesting)

      by wiredog ( 43288 )

      Do a backup, drop it in the safe deposit box at the bank, take the other one out. Next quarter, rotate them.

      • by Barny ( 103770 )

        Or pay someone like Mozy $5 a month and not have to fuck with USB sticks, bank deposit bags/cases and the fees inherent in those.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by DerekLyons ( 302214 )

        An awful lot of effort to store (in the article in question) movies and TV shows he'll probably never watch again.
        I've never understood the packrat mentality with movies and TV shows... I know people with literally thousands (tens of thousands?) of hours of TV shows and movies - what's the point?

  • While trying to scrounge up the funds for a super sexy NAS, I took an old G4 Mac I got on Ebay and followed some directions to throw in some extra drives. There are plenty of 'diy' NAS instructions on the net to take advantage of old PCs that you might have floating around.

    I actually ran CAT5 to my detached garage. I think whatever your solution is (box, NAS, diy NAS) you should consider storing it 'off site' from your main house to ensure survivability if there is some fire or other disaster.

    • by Barny ( 103770 )

      To be honest, being semi-offsite is not the job of your NAS (which is a primary storage method), you should be backing your NAS up to something else.

      It all comes down to how much your data is worth, if its just a large collection of stuff leeched from TPP, well, I don't even bother with a redundant array for that crap, my porn collection on the other hand... :P

  • Keep in mind (Score:5, Informative)

    by maclizard ( 1029814 ) on Tuesday May 12, 2009 @10:29AM (#27921727)

    Whatever route you choose, keep in mind that hard drives as a whole have terribly high failure rate (about 1 in 8 fail in my experience). Also, regardless of your chosen media, be sure to research the lifespan of your storage. If you are looking for long term (more than a couple years) and dependability you are going to be spending more than you would on a cheap raid box.

    As much as I HATE to say it, magnetic tape is the ONLY storage media that has not failed me yet.

    • by Barny ( 103770 )

      The best rule of thumb (ahem, rule of wrist)...

      There's no such thing as permanent storage.

      That said, the interesting article from google about a year or so back in regards to consumer drive failure was a very interesting read, most failures happened in the first year and after five years of working life.

      Don't trust it in the first year
      Don't trust it out of warranty
      Don't trust it...

    • by GigsVT ( 208848 )

      Actually, hard disks have a 100% failure rate.

      All mechanical devices have a finite lifespan.

      But that doesn't mean you need to use tape. As long as your backup plan takes failure into account, there's no problem. I have put millions of dollars worth of data onto spinning media only, and I sleep just fine at night.

      That said, RAID alone is not a replacement for backups, as some seem to think. Your backup strategy isn't valid if "rm -rf" destroys every copy you have of something.

    • Then you have never used round reel tapes. Tape de-magnetizes.

      Ever seen a videotape recorded in the 80's? A lot of em look like static now.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Is magnetic tape practical for home backups? Last time I checked, it wasn't. Hard drives offer the best value and reliability I have found for personal backups. Certainly they are far easier and more reliable than burning DVDs.

      I would forget about RAID, and instead make your goal to have 3 separate copies of your files on 3 sets of hard drives. One set on hard drives is the live data that you use on your home server. The other two are backups, and you alternate between them, backing up with whatever frequen

  • I like these guys: http://www.wiebetech.com/products/cases.php [wiebetech.com] It's an anti-static, somewhat shock-mounted plastic case for 3.5" drives. I've got about a dozen stacked in a rubbermaid box. It eliminates the stress of the drives banging into each other, even in anti-static bags. I've never dropped a drive inside one of these, but i'll bet it'd survive a modest height.
  • It sounds like you want a backup to store the drive allready in the computer, although it could be you don't have enough storage and are just storing files on external drives. (Say movies ripped from DVD or so...)

    In either case, it's probably easiest to make a network attached storage device (aka Linux server) to copy everything to.

    Computer1: Primary use computer

    OldComputer2: NAS in closet... You can get an old P3 (low heat producing) with a bunch of drive bays, and a PCI SATA card ($50). Use a junky IDE

  • RAID 1 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Calmiche ( 531074 ) on Tuesday May 12, 2009 @10:32AM (#27921789)

    I actually had the same problem. I've got my entire 1,000+ Movie DVD and 400+ Television collection ripped to hard drive for use as streaming media to a media PC. I've been working on it for about 4 years now.

    I ended up buying and setting up a bare-bones computers with RAID capabilities. Get a big tower with plenty of cooling. I originally used your same method. I purchased hard drives and external hard drive enclosures. This was cheaper than building pre-made drives. I especially like Vantec enclosures. However, I had a couple of drives go bad over the years. After some experimentation, I found that underpowered drives tend to loose data.

    Now, I use the aforementioned RAID 1 solution. Originally I used 400gb drives but now I'm up to purchasing 1-TB drives. I've only had 1 drive go bad in the last 3 years and it was easily replaced with no loss of data. You could probably use Raid 5 just as easily, but my first setup didn't support it so I defaulted to Raid 1. The extra controller cars also used to be cheaper for RAID 1 but the costs have since equalized.

    For the moment, I would advise against the 2TB drives. Many have serious slowdown problems and the cost/storage ratio is to high. 1.5tb drives are looking better and better.

    Just remember good cooling! This may be the most important factor. Hot hard drives last a MUCH shorter time. I REALLY like Thermatake icage bays. They change 3-5.25" bays into 3-3.5" hard drive bays and have a really nice 120x120 fan on them to keep the drives cool.

    If you buy a hard drive a month you can get some enormous storage capacity really quickly without breaking the bank. I'm up to 8TB right now. (16TB of drives).

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by JayAEU ( 33022 )

      That's some collection you have there...

      Anyway, in a situation like yours, I'd have opted for a proper 4+ drive NAS like the ones offered by Qnap, Synology, etc.

      Cooling is not an issue with those cases, since they're designed with cool drives in mind from the beginning. The air flow is optimized and driven by a large-diameter slow-spinning fan in the back.

      As for cool drives, I found the Western Digital RE2 GP series to be really good. They spin slower than other drives, but they also stay a lot cooler and t

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by josath ( 460165 )
      Actually, high drive temperature doesn't really hurt that much. Being too cold is much worse than being too hot. Google has crunched the numbers [storagemojo.com] on tens of thousands of HDDs running at different temperatures, and they found that drives that were kept coolest actually had higher failure rates. The 'sweet spot' of most stable temperatures is actually 35-45 C (95-113 F). Drives running in the 15-25 C range experienced massively higher failures than even the drives running at 50C.
  • my recent solution (Score:4, Informative)

    by pak9rabid ( 1011935 ) on Tuesday May 12, 2009 @10:33AM (#27921803)
    I just recently addressed this problem myself. My solution, although a little pricey compared to just stuffing an old box with hard drives, was to get one of these guys [newegg.com] and put 5 1 TB drives into it. I have it running in a software RAID5, backing up everything from my server (media, subversion repository, etc) via a nightly cron job rsyncing between the server disks and the enclosure. So far it's been working like a charm.
    • by Barny ( 103770 )

      Pray your raid doesn't fail.

      And then pray another drive doesn't fail while you take the many many hours needed to rebuild the array onto a new disk.

    • by nhtshot ( 198470 )

      I also bought one of those when I ran out of internal bays.

      They're a little slow compared to internal, but kick the shit out of USB.

      Awesome little boxes.

  • Buy a cheap-o all-in-1 mobo/CPU/RAM/case combo. Fill it up with cheap TB sata disks in a software RAID. Add a dynamic DNS name, ssh server, and rsync. Plug it in at your mom's house, rsync your local fileserver with that one every night at 4am.

    I thought about buying a fireproof save and external hard drives, but I realized I would not have the discipline to archive to them regularly. With the solution I posted, no discipline is required after the initial setup, and it would save you even thieves empties you

    • on top of that, the ignition point of paper is higher than data loss temperatures on a hard drive, so your documents may not burst into flames in some fireproof safes, but your data might go up in smoke. While they may make fireproof safes for hard drives, make sure you know what you're getting if you do buy one.
    • Re:ask mom (Score:4, Funny)

      by freakmn ( 712872 ) on Tuesday May 12, 2009 @11:50AM (#27922999) Journal

      Plug it in at your mom's house, rsync your local fileserver with that one every night at 4am.

      But what happens if the fire spreads upstairs? With heat rising, that's likely to happen.

  • "I have been ripping all my movies and TV shows for easy viewing through a media PC. Because I would rather not rip everything again I'm looking for a simple backup solution. I'm considering a hard drive dock and several internal hard drives to use as 'disks' to back things up every once in a while but I don't know what the best way to store internal drives would be in the meantime."

    Well, you could store them internally.

  • TPBB (Score:5, Funny)

    by RiotingPacifist ( 1228016 ) on Tuesday May 12, 2009 @10:45AM (#27922027)

    The pirate bay backup(tm) offers a free and easy 4 step method to backup most movies/tv shows.
    1) create .torrent of all your movies
    2) upload to TPBB(tm) trackers
    3) seed
    4) In case of catastrophic harddrive failure/house being nuked from oribt, re-download all your movies

    Advantages of TPBB over conventional backup methods
    *Off-site - the backups are held of site in multiple unsecured locations
    *Distributed - these locations are distributed across multiple contents
    *Unlimited storage - You can even backup more content than your hard drive has space for
    *Content Filtering - TPBB will filter out boring content, ensuring just worthwhile movies are kept

    **Please consult your lawyer before using TPBB as we are not responsible for any legal disputes in your jurisdiction.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by ianare ( 1132971 )

      Real men don't use backups, they post their stuff on a public ftp server and let the rest of the world make copies.

      - Linus Torvalds

  • Amazon S3? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by plams ( 744927 ) on Tuesday May 12, 2009 @10:47AM (#27922047) Homepage
    They don't guarantee you don't lose your data, but it's probably more safe than what you can come up with yourself.
  • Maybe not directly relevant to the OP's question but since I see a bunch of folks mentioning using RAID, i thought i'd chime in about RAID5 survivability.

    RAID5 protects you against one failure in a stripe. if you lose a drive, that's a failure. If you have a read error on a particular sector, that is another failure, and your data is gone.

    the probability of a read error *somewhere* on a 1TB drive is actually quite high.

    So, you lose a drive, you go to rebuild, you find you have a read error and can't get y

  • They're easy to handle and store. But if you're going to use singles then you need to get the packaging material they ship bulk drives in, and put the drives in ZIPLOC antistatic baggies with those little moisture packets. Both are readily and inexpensively available via mail order.

    External disk enclosures do little to protect hard drives.

  • by toppavak ( 943659 ) on Tuesday May 12, 2009 @11:08AM (#27922397)
    A great way to get free anti-static bags is to order samples from semiconductor companies like TI and Analog Devices. They'll send you free stuff wrapped up in decently sized anti-static bags. Great for if you only have a couple drives to store, but if you need 10, for example, just go ahead and buy some.
  • I prefer to store mine in the cellar. Make sure you remove the lights and the stairs. Place the hard drives in a locked filing cabinet in an unused bathroom. And put a sign "Beware of the Leopard" on the bathroom door. That's the first place people would look for it. :P
  • My approach... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by raw-sewage ( 679226 ) on Tuesday May 12, 2009 @11:15AM (#27922515)

    I have two home-built servers: one is an always-on, live NAS; the other is a backup server that I power on only to do backups (or restores if it comes to that). First rule I go by: always use the slower 5400 RPM drives, such as the Western Digital "Green" [newegg.com] or the Samsung EcoGreen [newegg.com]. For both media streaming and backup purposes, these hard drives are still plenty fast. The biggest benefit, though, is that they use less energy (particularly important if your system is always on), and don't get as hot, making cooling much easier (which usually also translates to quieter).

    My live server is currently 4 x 1TB drives in RAID-5, using Linux software RAID. (I know RAID is no substitute for backup, but I still consider it "quasi" backup. But I also have real backup.) This system is fairly un-interesting: it's your typical DIY NAS.

    The backup server is housed in the Norco RPC-4020 [newegg.com]. For $300, you get 24 SATA hot-swap bays. That price is hard to beat. I haven't filled this case up with drives yet, and I have plenty of physical space going forward. The hardware is just some unused spare components I had lying around. Extra SATA ports are provided by the Supermicro AOC-SAT2-MV8 [newegg.com] (which works fine in "regular" 32-bit PCI slots).

    This, IMO, is a pretty simple set up. I just power up the backup server whenever I need it, and turn it off when I'm done. I don't care about performance, since backups are always run as a batch job (typically over night).

    Before I bought that Norco case, I was just using individual drives with a Thermaltake BlacX [newegg.com] SATA-to-USB hard drive docking station. This is cheaper, just slightly less convenient. I did order 50 "zip lock"-style anti-static bags for $13. I ordered them from staticbags.com [staticbags.com] ("GRC Enterprises" was listed on my invoice). After I copied data to the drive and put it in an anti-static bag, I just added it to the stack of drives I had on my bookshelf. The Norco case definitely looks better! :)

    All in all, I consider my system fairly robust. It's only semi-secure against my stupidity, and since its all housed in the apartment, does not safeguard against fire. But since the media rips are just copies of DVDs I actually own, my insurance policy becomes the ultimate backup.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    RAID is used as redundancy against hardware failure, not as a backup solution. If one of your drives fails in a RAID 1, sweet, you've not lost your data. However, overwriting all your data with crap will leave then you with two drives of crap. Where's your data now?

    TFA isn't asking about hardware failure in a way that RAID would be the correct answer.

  • One simple word (Score:5, Informative)

    by azav ( 469988 ) on Tuesday May 12, 2009 @11:35AM (#27922767) Homepage Journal



    I have 2 of them and one has saved my butt.

    After losing 7 hard drives behind a cheap surge protector after a lightning strike, I now have serial APS surge protectors and a 4.5 TB Drobo.

    Format it for 8 TB and you can swap drives in and out as you need to move up in storage capacity.

    It's pretty brainless to use. You just plug it in and let it do its job. Get the fast SATA drives.

    • by azav ( 469988 )

      OH. And I had one drive in the Drobo fail and it told me that all my data was safe, just replace the failed drive. I did and everything was good again.

  • by woboyle ( 1044168 ) on Tuesday May 12, 2009 @11:36AM (#27922793)
    My solution to this is to store my stuff on bare sata-2 drives (1 - 1.5TB @ $0.10USD / GB). I have a couple of eSata enclosures which offer tool-less installation - just a thumb-latch, and slide the drive in/out (about $50USD). So, I keep the bare drives organized on a shelf, and can plug one in as desired in about 30 seconds. Cheaper than tape, and just about as cheap as single-layer DVD-R discs, plus each 1TB drive will hold about 250 SL or 125 DL DVD's worth of data. Since the cost / GB is about the same for the newer 1.5TB discs as for 1TB discs of the same speed, I am getting the bigger drives these days. Each drive is about the size of a small paperback book.

    If you want to back up one of these, with the eSata connection to the computer you can back up a TB from disc to disc in about 4 hours. That's a collection of a couple hundred feature-length movies.
  • The biggest concern I'd have with single disks is that disk fail. Regularly.

    I can see the point of wanting to store to disk - plenty of space, easy to use, and fast. But I'd really want some kind of redundancy. Have you thought about buying an external raid array? Possibly the easiest to use is the Drobo - just fill it with as many disks as you want, and it'll ensure your data is protected:

    http://www.drobo.com/ [drobo.com]

    They're more expensive than just buying disks (£300 empty), but that's well worth it if

  • by dlapine ( 131282 ) <lapine@illinois . e du> on Tuesday May 12, 2009 @11:56AM (#27923083) Homepage

    If you'd just like to store your data off the PC, and you need "unlimited" storage, get a sata hot-swap mobile rack, a bunch of drives and presto!

    Specifically, this is what I use.

    Get one of these - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817994057 [newegg.com] and install it. Its' hot swap, and tray-less, so it treats the sata drives like cartridges. It's about $25.

    Find out if your motherboard supports sata hot swap - if not, you'll need one of sate card that can do hotplug, try this - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16816132003 [newegg.com]. It works and it's about $25 as well.

    Then determine your storage needs- 1TB drives can be had for as low as $75, but that's for relatively cheap drives. The better ones are about $100. 1.5TB drives are available for $130. The 2 TB still command a premium price at $280.

    I'd recommend the 1.5's.

    Buy a few of them, just like you would buy tape cartridges. Geek tip- if you buy several(4-5) drives at once from Newegg, they ship them in a styrofoam shipping thing, that has slots for 3.5" drives and works wonderfully as shelf container. You keep the anti-static bags the drives are shipped in, and put them on the drives before stowing them in the styrofoam form.

    There, you now have the equivalent of a tape drive and cartridges, for all of $50 for the "drive" and cartridges at the price point you want. Unlike cheap tape, you get sata speeds, no vendor lock-in, and your data on a medium that is universal.

    All that being said, you have do your backups as if the drives were tape cartridges- that implies a cartridge (drive) rotation system, data stored redundantly on multiple cartridges, regular backups and verification, etc. It won't do you much good if you don't follow the proper backup steps. Here's a guide to doing it properly- http://www.structuredsolutions.net/whitepapers/Tape%20Backup%20Procedure.htm [structuredsolutions.net]

    It is a nice piece of kit, however. It's up to you to use it properly.

  • SSD (Score:3, Informative)

    by Plekto ( 1018050 ) on Tuesday May 12, 2009 @01:55PM (#27924893)

    I've been dealing with this for clients for several years now - most of whom deal with AV and photography. Stuff that absolutely must remain intact at any cost.

    For a while we used RAID - and RAID 1 and similar redundant options do work well enough. And we debated Blu-Ray. But the final solution seems to be solid state drives. They look to be stable enough once written to actually qualify as suitable for archival purposes. This comes as all hard drives seem to be suffering from poor quality lately. I just know that some of the companies are flat out lying to us in their white sheets based upon how many data failures I have witnessed in the last couple of years.

    They aren't exactly inexpensive, but they do work better for this than a hard drive.

May all your PUSHes be POPped.