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Storage Devices

May 16, 2008  |  Difficulty: Easy

CD and DVD

CD-Rs, CD-RWs, DVD-Rs, and DVD-RWs are inexpensive and powerful tools to use for backup options.  Optical drives write data to recordable CDs or DVDs. CD-Rs and DVD-Rs (readable) are recordable disks, but once the data is written to them it cannot be altered or reused.  CD-RWs and DVD-RWs (rewritable) allow for numerous uses.  Data can be altered and re-stored.  However, with CD-RWs or DVD-RWs, you must rewrite and burn the entire disk each time a change is made.  The low cost of CDs and DVDs makes this a great option for home users.

Tape Drives

Tape backups are an excellent option for small to medium sized businesses looking to backup data, such as email server files and database records.  Tape drives and tapes are relatively inexpensive and hold large amounts of data at one time.  However, each tape drive uses a specific tape.  Certain tapes are more expensive or more difficult to find than others, so be sure to check into both factors before purchasing.  As with any backup option, be sure to schedule a regular time to check the success of your backup and make sure that all data can be fully restored.

External Hard Drives

External hard drives can be a great backup solution for businesses with needing to backup very large amounts of data.  These devices are fairly inexpensive (costing anywhere from $80-$300) and are portable.  External hard drives connect to your computer or server using a USB or FireWire connection.  Software facilitates the backup interval of data on a daily or weekly basis.

Removable Hard Drives

Removable hard drives are a simple and effective way to backup data and remove it from the main machine for off-site storage.  Removable hard drives may be a little more expensive than other options, but are the best choice for storing volumes of critical or sensitive data.  The main advantage of a removable hard drive is that it can be move to another location after the backup is complete.  For many industries, like banking and health care, regulations require data to be stored in a separate location in case of a disaster to the main server hosting site itself.

Flash Drives

Flash drives have recently taken over data storage duties from the traditional floppy disk drive.  Flash drives, also known as USB, jump, key, or thumb drives, are key-chain sized devices that can store up to 64 GB of data.  These tiny storage devices are an excellent option for home users or students needing to backup word processing files and open them on another computer.  However, as storage capacities on flash drives continue to increase, they can also be used to store larger files like MP3 and database files.  The average home or student user storing word processing files would typically only need a 32 MB or 64 MB drive; those looking to store music and pictures may want 1 GB or 2 GB.  Flash drives can cost as little as $20 for a basic 32 MB device.

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