View Full Version : Speaking of backup storage...

06-19-2001, 04:39 AM
I've decided to get serious 'bout regular backing up and working out a long term storage and archiving strategy and I need some advice. At this point in my relative ignorance, an external dvd-ram looks like a good way to do daily automated backups, and then I could also make copies of files on a cd-rw for long term archives, storing off campus, and emergancy bootable disks, etc.
I'm running a b&w G3 with 3 ata's besides cd-rom: 1 x 6 gig, and 2 x 1.5 gig. Right now, I've got about 2 gigs docs, system (9.0), and apps, but anticipate serious accumulation of bytes in next several years. Am I on right track with dvd-ram? I understand I should avoid Iomega at all costs..
Any advice/suggestions you might have, I'd appreciate-gmidd

[This message has been edited by gmidd (edited 19 June 2001).]

[This message has been edited by gmidd (edited 19 June 2001).]

06-19-2001, 10:17 AM
For large volume storage DVD-RAM is NICE! It does have issues - and I have never used one. One big issue (potentially) is that DVDs created on a DVD-RAM will not work on a standard DVD drive. You can get about 4.7GB on a disk (per side I think) and it should work via the finder, although I think Toast 5 also supports it and may give you faster burning.

CD-burners are more common and much cheaper. I think 20X burners are coming out. Apple has their own burning software that works for most things. Burn once media is CHEAP and easy to get & use. They are fairly stable (like all MO type media) and will store up to 650MB. You can get 700MB disks, but they often will have issues - not something you want to test out on important backups.

A new popular drive is the combo CD-burner/DVD player drive.

MO Drives
You could also go with an MO drive. These are very similar to the DVD-RAM from what I see. I think you can get up to 4GB on a disk, but again you can only read/write from the MO drive. MO drives are less common than CDs and are fairly expensive (like DVD-RAM). One option for MO drives is to get a compact (3.5"?) disk. I think these store up to 640MB (about the same as a standard CD). These drives have been around FOR-EVER, so its a proven standard.

iDVD (SuperDrive/DVD-R) is a new standard for DVD burning. It allows you to burn up to about 4GB on a disk (per side) and these also work in standard DVD drives. You can get one with Apple's top end G4/733 - its a great deal - if you are already in the market for a new G4. Separately these drives run about $850 and more... Not sure what the price of DVD-RAM is (Gurus may still be selling them). You can get 4GB disks for $10 per - which is a great price in my estimation.

For any of the above mediums, I would get Firewire or SCSI. SCSI should be more stable, but less versatile and of course if you dont have a narrow SCSI card you will need one of those and a PCI slot.

Not sure about support in X for this. Not sure how well automated backups would work with say Retrospect and an 'optical' drive.

Tape backups can work well too. They can be slower and less versatile, but you can often get up to 40GB on a single tape. I think they may work better for automated backups. They are also more tolerant of being dropped (than say a regular HD).

We run nightly backups in the server room... they do not always good smoothly.

ZIP, JAZZ & ORB drives are great for quick, short term backups and transport. I think the ZIP 100s (havented tried the 250MB yet) are the most stable. I have issues with Jazz data dissappearing after about 6 months (or less) and I've heard issues with the early ORB drives.

The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy: Earth
The third planet from a insignificant star in the outter rim of the galaxy. It is mostly harmless. http://macgurus.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

06-19-2001, 10:23 AM

I don't have a DVD-RAM drive but just purchased (it is still in the box behind me) a Gurus EZQ CDRW 16x10x40 Ext FireWire w Cables, Toast, Media and a couple of XLR8 MAChFire PCI FireWire-only w/ VideoShop 4.5 for my S900 and PowerTower Pro.

You got me curious so I looked at the differences:
Much greater media capacity but much higher cost for DVD-RAM.
16x 10x 40x CD-RW Data Transfer Rate: 19 MB/sec whereas DVD RAM 9.4GB:
Data Transfer Rate: Write : 1385 KB/s (4.7 GB) 695 KB/s (2.6GB)
Read : 2770 KB/s (4.7 GB) 1385 KB/s (2.6GB)
DVD Rom: 3438 KB/s - 8310 KB /s (6x)
CD-Rom: 1520 KB /s - 3600 KB/s (24x)
is much slower.

So with Retrospect you would have to hang around to put another CDR or CDRW disk into the CDRW if you had more data to back up than the capacity of the disc whereas the DVD-RAM with Retrospect compression would give a lot more capacity before needing another cartridge. One thing I don't know, with a 9.4GB media, 4.7GB on each side, do you have to flip the media over, or does it read/write both sides without the flip? k

06-19-2001, 01:18 PM
I'll chip in with success using VXA tape drives - 66 GB to a tape, LVD speed, excellent system.. I have three daisy-chained and once I ironed out some SCSI voodoo all seems well...

(this might be a bit of overkill for your needs but the VXA drives are REALLY fast for local backup.)..


06-19-2001, 05:54 PM
Thanks gurus, for your thoughts..
Here's some things I've learned, some musings, and more questions.
I checked out Lacie's site. There big on Retrospect coupled with dvd-ram.
The cartridges are expensive; from $25 to $70.
Kaye, I coudn't determine if you have to flip a double-sided.
Cartridge data should last 50 years.
Lacie DVD-RAM 4.7/9 GB Firewire ext. drive: $500.
It reads cd's, cd-roms, cd-rw's but only writes to dvd-r/w
Does this mean I could boot from this unit should my internal cd-rom fail?
And here's a beginner question: can I make a bootable disc simply by dragging the system folder from my hard drive to the desktop icon of this or any cd reading external drive, thereby duplicating it in its entirety onto that disc or drive? Is that how you make an emergency backup drive?

As for dvd-ram, for catostrophic protection of my hard drive contents, I could periodically take present cartridge contents, remove to safe, offsite location, and backup again to new cartridge, and rotate on a regular schedule.
In addition, for onsite backup, extra storage and portability, it seems logical for me to buy a large external hard drive and backup every night.
If I did the cd-r or cd-rw route, I'd have to backup manually, but could quickly make copies on this inexpensive media for offsite storage and transport.

Question is, will dvd-r win out over dvd-ram in support and acceptance because that dvd-r definitely sounds good, dragon, especially when the price comes down..

Am I on the right track here?-gmidd

06-19-2001, 10:06 PM
does this mean I could boot from this unit should my internal cd-rom fail?
This is possible. A few Macs actually shipped with DVD-RAM and I'm sure THOSE are bootable. If the model number is the same (or maybe similar) a 3rd party solution should also be bootable. It is also possible that the DVD-RAM may need 3rd party drivers (like Plextor CD), but also that they are bootable (like the Plextor CD). That is for regular use you need 3rd party drivers, but when you put a system disk in they still boot.

And here's a beginner question: can I make a bootable disc?
From what I understand you Toast can make a bootable disk, but it needs to be HFS (not +). It would be best to get the boot folder from, say the 9.1 disk or whatever Apple's lastest OS is. This way you can boot on just about ANY Mac. Utilities like TechToolPro have several different bootable systems (7.5.3, 7.6.1, 8.1, 8.6, 9.1) so you could even boot on a really old Mac with 'no RAM'. http://macgurus.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Not sure how TOAST would work with DVD-RAM.

I think DVD-RAM (maybe DVD-r) uses UFS? or something? Unlike CD-burners you can normally copy files from the HD to the DVD - just like a regular HD, but much slower. With 4GB to spare, you could make one MASSIVELY comprehensive boot disk http://macgurus.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif Again the only issue is if its DVD-RAM, you can only boot from another Mac with a DVD-RAM drive http://macgurus.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_frown.gif

I only have one Mac with DVD anyway - and thats my PB2K... but DVD-ROM drives are common now.

06-21-2001, 05:18 AM
Thanks folks for yer thoughts..
Seems like there is a myriad of choices for backup and how often with no particular widespread standard practice... maybe its mostly a matter of personal taste- even as to whether one backs up at all.-g http://www.macgurus.com/ubb/eek.gif

06-21-2001, 10:12 AM

You hit the nail on the head. Over the years I migrated from dual SyQuest 270MB to dual SyQuest SyJet 1.5GB removable cartridges and just got an EZQ FireWire CDRW but am thinking it is too slow and small for backup. All of my four SyQuest drives still work just fine and no dead cartridges. However the suggestion by Chris, the VXA tape drive - 66 GB to a tape, LVD speed, is probably the best solution http://www.macgurus.com/beta/showrampage.cgi?mgvxatapedrives.html

Major bucks though. k

06-21-2001, 10:44 AM
They are pricey but you can demo a system from Ecrix and get a discount if you decide it's the way to go (they also have some fire sale pricing on the unpopular red and blue LVD ones)...

What I found was that the 'Gurus pricing beats Ecrix esp. if you are a DIY type - I built up a 4 bay Burly enclosure w/ two internal VXA units cheaper than their rack-mount single unit system...


06-21-2001, 04:15 PM
I'm late coming to this, but one point I would keep in mind is that no backup medium, regardless of what it is, is 100% fool-proof.

when i see claims of "50-yr reliability" ratings on DVD-RAM media or whatever, I bust up: has anyone owned one of these mechanisms for even five years? Of course not. So marketing claims like this are just that: claims. They mean little, if anything, in my opinion.

when you sit down and actually crunch numbers, actuial DRIVES come out looking pretty decent. They are much faster than any optical medium, (whether CD-RW or DVD-RAM or whatever), faster than tape (which regardless of all else must use SEQUENTIAL schemes to read and write data due to the linear nature of the media), and very, very affordable, particularly when you consider IDE drives.

so. Dedicated backup devices like tape get very expensive, but the big appeal is that the media is relatively cheap (hmmmm) and it is portable, meaning it can be taken off-site.

well. VXA works real well, which is why we sell it. But it does cost a cool grand, pretty much, though you can get deals here and there and save a hundred bucks or so. Our pricing on VXA is pretty low right now, but it does need to be updated. I'll be getting to that after I update some other stuff on our site. It is very reliable, and Ecris supports their products very, very well.

other tape devices, well....I like much less. Which is why we don't sell them. At least, not right now. We might bring some La Cie backup units onto the site after MW-NY.....it's one of those things under internal review right now.

but for the most affordable means of mobile backup......consider FireWire drives.


faster than any tape. Randomly accessible. All you need is a FireWire interface that is reliable. And you can use the Finder, or Retrospect.


06-22-2001, 11:40 PM
Thanks, m for the reality check. I see your point on the fw drives: plug 'n play portability, cheap, small, a strong new mac standard, etc.-g http://www.macgurus.com/ubb/dance.gif