No, I am not trying to be “kiasu” (a Singaporean word which literarily translates as “afraid to lose”), but it pays to have a backup of your precious memories in another media or format. Here I use a combination of several technologies in order to preserve my precious memories.
First and foremost is a USB back-up drive. I have several now, from easy-to-carry around 2.5 inch formats such as the Seagate 4GB drives all the way to the more robust Western Digital My Book Duo 20TB drive that is in a RAID 0 striping mode. I could easily have reconfigured it to become a RAID 1 mirroring system but then I would reduce the storage capacity by half to only 10TB. And that is not enough for me as I store my pictures in both RAW and JPG formats. With a 42MP camera such as the Sony A7RII and RII, you find that you quickly run out of storage space, no matter how big they are in the first place.
So why a USB drive? Well for me the first reason is its ubiquity. USB or Universal Seral Bus has been around for since the late nineties. Hopefully it will be around for many more years to come The standard is constantly being upgraded from USB 2.0 to USB 3.0 and now to USB 3.1. So why is this so important? Well, I don’t know whether you were around in the days of the Iomega ZIP and Jaz drives? I still have several of these removal media but alas, there are no more working readers I can use to access the data.
The second reason why I chose the USB drive is the convenience. With a USB drive such as the Western Digital My Book Duo, I get 20TB of storage right out of the box. It is really a plug-and-forget device and I am connected the minute I plug into the USB port on my desktop or laptop. I do not even need to power down the unit. When I power down my PC, the WD My Book Duo goes straight into power-saving mode. That saves me time and saves me the effort to physically reach out to the unit and press the power down button. Likewise, when I power up my PC, the unit is automatically ready for use.
The other convenience factor is the speed with which I can transfer the files. Believe me, transferring several terabytes of data is really time-consuming. It took me about a full day to back up my faulty Synology NAS into the WD My Book Duo. I cannot imagine how much longer it would have taken had I not taken advantage of the built-in USB 3.1 interface. Paired with my dedicated USB 3.1 port on my PC, I was able to get a sustained transfer rate of over 100MB per second using the FastCopy software (https://fastcopy.jp/en/). I found this to be one of the fastest freeware software available.
Hopefully, with the RAID-optimised WD Red disk drives, I can look forward to a longer mean time between failure (MTBF). Additionally, the WD My Book Duo comes with a whole list of software utilities to ensure that I am alerted to any failures. For instance, the Windows version of the Data LifeGuard Diagnostics software will perform S.M.A.R.T. drive tests to verify the integrity of the media. An extended test is available to do a full media scan to detect bad sectors if needed.
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M.K. Wong has been writing about tech stuff since the nineties, contributing to the first issue of The Computer Times all the way to when it changed name to Digital Life.