Does these two sounds confusing? I guess NOT but there are many users who do not know the difference between these two. Before we fall into the data storage adventure we better make these two terms clear enough so everyone will be able to tell the difference between storage and backup.
What is data storage?
Storage is a place we keep our data, like in the real life storage is a place we keep in our belongings, the data storage is our “virtual belongings” such as pictures, music, videos, word or excel documents or any other file which is in our possession. These days we have so many devices we can keep our data on, here we have two ways on storing data:
INTERNAL – it can be a hard drive, SSD drive or flash drive in our computer, mac, laptop, tablet, phone etc
EXTERNAL – here we have much wider range of products, we can store data on external USB drive, SD card, external hard drive, external array, media such as CD/DVD/Blu-ray, tape or on very popular these days cloud service, this is slightly different as your data can be accessed only remotely and you do not have these files physically with you the same way as you would have external drive let say.
I think we have covered definition of data storage and we can move on into more interesting topic
What is Backup?
I have noticed over my 15 years of experience that people call something a backup without really understanding what the backup is. I will give you the following scenario:
Mr John is a professional photographers, about 10 years ago he moved from his old-style film camera into the new digital camera, since then he was making loads of pictures and were storing them onto the laptop, of course the SD cards back then were a little too small so he had to copy the files onto the laptop and then empty his SD cards. He obviously had a storage, but then space on his laptop was getting a little tight for all of his work so he decided that he needs to have a backup, he then purchased a large external hard drive to keep all of his work.
So up to this point we see that Mr John has a storage (his laptop) and the backup (his external drive), but what we do not know is that he needs an extra space, so he would not be buying another laptop (it is out of his budget), and also he would not consider going for another external drive to have a copy of it somewhere. What Mr John did was deleting the files of the laptop, you would say, fine, his external drive is large enough, 5 times bigger than the size of his laptop’s drive so he would be OK.
What if his external drive stop working, got damaged, stolen? He would not be happy about that…
This is why the backup is an actual copy of the data, we need to have it somewhere else. There is loads of ways to have efficient backup plan, this all depends on our budget, storage needs as well as the ways to access that data.
These days where files are massive you need more than just an external hard drive to be your backup, you are more likely require an external enclosure which will house hard drives. There are also several types of connectivity for them, we really see two types of connectivity:
We have selection of USB drives (no one is using USB2.0 anymore due to it’s limited speed, but we have USB 3.0 and USB 3.1), FireWire 800 it’s still present as I have seen that sort of solution for loads of customers specially the ones who are working on old Macs, and new connections like Thunderbolt (Thunderbolt 2 and Thunderbolt 3 are the most popular these days). There is also another connectivity available which is SAS, this is more dedicated for data centres or users with large amount of storage.
With direct attached systems (DAS) where we have more than one drive, we often can setup a RAID which will help to keep our data safe. There are many types of the RAID settings available but we need to focus on what we really want, the RAID types comes to hardware RAIDs so the enclosure (or card connected to the enclosure) has a RAID controller.
Here the key factors in finding the right solution will be:
- Size of storage we actually require
- Speed of the transfer between enclosure and our computer
- Budget we’ve got
- RAID option we want – hardware or software
- Further expansions if needed
NETWORK ATTACHED STORAGE
Have you ever heard of a cloud? Everyone did, these are OK if you need a small amount of capacity, what if you need 20TB – 30TBs, and in that case you can deploy your own “cloud” solution, what you will need is NAS (Network Attached Storage). These are a multi bay enclosures kept at any of your premises (that is right, if you wish, you can access them remotely, only internet connection will be required).
NAS units are connected by the network cable into your router or network switch, you can get 1Gbe (up to 125MB/s) NAS units or the ones with 10Gbe (1250MB/s) arrays, some have options to upgrade that. Here there is plenty of choice and these boxes can be used for more than just backing up your content, you can run them as independent servers too or have them as virtual machines, they can be responsible for your entertainment at home, you can preview footage from your CCTV, or in some cases you can even edit videos! (Nowadays many units comes with direct ports too so you can connect to them directly too by USB3.0/3.1 or by Thunderbolt!)
The great advantage of these boxes compared to mention above direct attached systems is that you can have multiple users being connected to the unit at the same time, you can give them special permissions and access to certain folders and files. Accessing data is simple and can be done even through web browsers, it is compatible with any devices you may have: Windows PC, Linux, Mac, iOS, Android and more.
Like with DAS, finding the right solution for you will simply come down to:
- Size of the storage you need
- Our Budget
- Speed of transfers to find right solution – 1Gbe, 10Gbe, FCAL etc…
- RAID options – here we have hardware RAID on all but the options of actual RAID will depends on how many bays and drives our system will have (you can have 2 drives in 8-bay system so your RAID will be only limited to options available for 2-bays J )
- Like in DAS we can purchase a boxes which are expandable or just change the drives for bigger ones when the time comes.
Why shall I backup my data?
If your files are important to you, backup should be on your TO-DO list all the time, like in real life no one can predict bad things and they are always happening when we do not expect them. I appreciate that you may not have much control over that in reality but for all your digital belongings you can have such a disaster plan in place.
Storage is the place you are having your files on, if something happens to that “place” wherever that is a computer, laptop, tablet, phone etc your data will be lost, in some scenarios you would be able to recover data, however this is quite expensive service and will not guarantee you 100% success rate. To avoid any black scenarios like this you should always have a backup.
825 total views, 0 views today