View Full Version : Backups: server vs. external HDD?

25-05-2006, 06:33 PM
I have about 200 GB of digital image files which I can't lose. At present my working copy is on my main pc, backed up to 2 external HDD's which I rotate weekly, plus two copies burnt to DVD, one set stored off site.

Problem is my archives are outgrowing being stored on my main pc. I could add HDD's but feel I'm at the point of needing a file server. I have a spare PC running Win2Kpro with plently of HDD space, and a house full of network cable.

First, is it viable to use this pc as a server? (Athlon 2000 / 1GB ram /Win2Kpro) compared to a custom built server?

Next, would it just be simpler to keep adding bigger external HDD's?

I guess the pro's for a server is only one power source to keep all the drives spinning, but then I'll still need a backup strategy for it. Pro's for ext HDD are ease of off site storage / rotation.

I've been thinking of all scenarios until my head hurts so thought I'd post here to see if anyone has good insights!

thanks, Bill

26-05-2006, 05:39 AM
I would go with a server... as you pointed out, one single power source for all the HDD's. External HDD's would end up being more expensive that slotting in bigger internal HDD's into the server. As for backing-up it seems you already have a good back-up strategy... All you need to do is get a decent software package and automate the process. I use Acronis True Image 9, brilliant program and using it is child's play really.



26-05-2006, 10:02 AM
The problem with a server is that it is onsite....if the place is burgled or burnt down you are stuffed.

You need hardware redundancy and location redundancy...

So possibly install a 2nd hard drive on your main PC to backup data on to daily, this will give you easy access to recover data and protect against hard drive failure.

Then have a BIG external drive you can take home and leave at home. Backup everything to this weekly or as required.

Big hard drives are coming down in price, you can get 200+GB plus for not that much.


26-05-2006, 10:15 AM
thanks for the replies guys... forgot to mention I have my puter set up as RAID 1, 2 x 250 GB mirrored, so that hopefully has the daily stuff covered against drive failure.

I'm a photographer and with a digital SLR a day's shooting can be 2 - 3 gb of files, so this is why I need an expandable solution. I like the idea of having everything on a huge external drive - that can be plugged in to any other pc easily. Looks like storing everything on a server and backing up to a big external, plus the DVD copies may be the answer. I looked at swap racks but it's a pain if you want to get the data to another computer quickly.

One of my stumbling blocks was the practicality of setting up an old windows box as a server - I don't understand how/why purpose built servers are different?


26-05-2006, 10:46 AM
Hi bud, purpose built servers have fabricated cooling solutions, redundancy psu and HDD.

How about using that server with some big drives and get an old DLT backup drive or even stretch for a newer SDLT. As this is your living, scimping on redundancy/DR is a no brainer.