Alternatives to backup tapes?

  May$ 13:32 18 Aug 04


I work at a school where we have a small network. We currently have tape drive in our server which we use to backup the network. We use HP 4mm dds3 tapes. However we have found using the tapes increasing unreliable and prone to "fail".
Also there is know way of knowing if what you have backed up has really worked until you need to restore something.

We are a small school with limited funds but would be interested in any recommendations or ideas for alternatives

Thanks for you for your help!

  wee eddie 15:41 18 Aug 04

External Hard Drives seem to be the flavour of the moment. USB2 and Firewire connection, or with both which seems to ensure greater longevity.

The trouble with such a system is that it offers no real Archiving facility.

With any luck one of the IT Consultants will see your thread and produce a definitive answer.

  byfordr 15:53 18 Aug 04

A mixture

cds and dvds make cheap (reasonably reliable) backups. Cd 20p DVD £1 (or less!)

External drives are very cheap, reliable and highly portable.

click here Maxtor £160 inc vat £134 without 250gb external Lacie 25gb £130 inc vat £110 without click here

Is there not a verify option on your backup software?


  Oldie2 19:54 18 Aug 04

Having only my home pc to run and wanting a backup system after recently having a hard drive crash, I found what to me is a brilliant program, 'Handy Backup, click here. A long time ago I used to back up on about 40 floppies but I have bought a Flash drive "PockiDrive" and with Handybackup it is just the thing. my Flash drive is only 64k but much larger ones are available, just plug it in to your USB socket. It makes life easier to use a 'Hub. Just look at the site I'm sure it would suit you, price is from about £16 upwards.
You can download a 30 day trial.

  May$ 10:50 19 Aug 04

thanks for the response,

wee eddie

thanks for the bump, appreciated. Archiving would be a bit troublesome.


we were looking at a external hard drive but need to look at which is best for us. I use the microsoft backup utility's verify option but have been plauged with problems with the tape deck!!

also thanks to oldie2,something to look into!


  wee eddie 12:44 19 Aug 04

Maxtor External HDDs come with Dantz Backup software, I am not able to compare it with other software, but it seems good enough.

Cost: Once you have bought the HDD there is no cost of consumables,

On the other hand: If you need to keep Archive Copies, rather than an Emergency Recovery System, your Tapes are better. Remember, when you change, your old tapes may not be readable by any new system, Tape or otherwise. So keep the old hardware and software somewhere safe.

  pj123 22:59 19 Aug 04

I used to use Acronis to back up to CDs but it is now using more and more CDs as my files grow. The trouble with that is that once they are over - say - a month old they become coasters. I have an 80gb hard drive. The system I use now is: I have two 120gb hard drives jumpered as slave. Just plug one in and use xxcopy (free from click here for Win98SE or xxclone for Win XP free from click here) and copy the whole 80gb across. Then disconnect it from the PC. Sellotape a Post-it note to it with the date of the backup. The following week (or whatever period you feel necessary) put the other 120gb hard drive in and do the same thing. Then continue doing each one alternately. OK, so it's a drag to keep connecting and disconnecting and copying hard drives but sooner safe than sorry. A friend has just lost some very important pictures (daughters 21st) and a recovery firm has quoted £465 to attempt a recovery (not guaranteed, but at least they say no recovery, no fee). The advantage of the way I am now doing it is that if my 80gb goes belly up all I need to do is make one of the back up disks a Master and reboot. Obviously, if that happens I would then need to buy another 120gb hard drive to maintain the system. 120gb hard drives can be bought from about £59 click here

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