Learning from Voldemort

My wife and I are both big fans of the Harry Potter series. It seemed, after finishing the series, that Lord Voldemort had no redeeming qualities. Recent events, however, have convinced me that Voldemort has a valuable lesson to teach.

A few weeks ago my home computer died. I was a bit concerned that I could lose valuable data (including our home budget), but I knew that I copied over important files to a back-up location from time-to-time.

When I realized that the computer died of hard drive failure, I decided I better get the last back-up. I knew it would be a week or two old, but that wouldn't represent a major amount of work to get caught up. I checked the data on the file and saw: April 16 - more than 6 months old!

This represented a major problem - I couldn't recreate all of the data from that far back. I took the hard drive to CompUSA and hoped and waited.

As a result of this trouble, I bought a 500GB back-up drive and tried to get in better back-up habits. This paid of quickly, as my work laptop died while my home computer was still in the shop.

I purchased a new computer and copied over important data from the back-up. I had to reinstall my software, but I still had my work.

Thanks to Lucas at CompUSA, most of the data from my home computer was recovered. I lost some old vacation photos, which was disappointing, but good news overall. After several weeks, I got back my work laptop as well (losing nothing).

If you haven't figured it out already, here is how Lord Voldemort figures in to this:

He makes back-ups of himself!

Sure, in his case, this corrupted his soul and made himself more evil. In the land of computer, however, horcruxes are called "images" and a very good idea.

So, taking a lesson from Voldemort, I now have my 500GB drive networked so that I can (and now do) back-up files from any computer in the house. I also have ShadowProtect installed on my primary work computer so it creates images of my computer at regular intervals.

My next step will be to purchase an online back-up plan for especially important files. After all, Voldemort didn't keep all of his back-ups in one place and I wouldn't want all of mine to be destroyed if the house caught fire.

So, even Voldemort has some positive value!

Comments (Comment Moderation is enabled. Your comment will not appear until approved.)
Why not simply invest in a RAID 1 system? For teh cost of all those backup drives and the time spent managing your backups, you could get a decent RAID card and mirrored drives, which will make backups a thing of the past. I bought a Dell XPS 700 a year ago with a 350GB RAID 1 system, and I stopped worrying about DVD backups, drive images and hard drive crashes. If you're particularly paranoid, you can still do the occasional drive image to in the extremely rare case of catastrophic data corruption.

And you can now get 64GB solid state drives for your laptop (albeit at an inflated price). I predict, in a year or two as the prices come down, mechanical HDs will be a thing of the past.
# Posted By Joeflash | 1/4/08 11:54 AM

Ignorance probably. What would it take to get that set up?

I may not now that I already have the back-up drive with ShadowProtect running, but then again, more protection can hardly be a bad thing (within reason).
# Posted By Steve Bryant | 1/4/08 12:09 PM
I am not an expert in these matters, i just made sure that my new machine had a RAID 1 setup. I'd have to do more research if I had to convert an existing machine. Wikipedia has a good primer on the subject (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RAID).

I do know that you need a RAID 1 card and two identical hard drives. Although not recommended for single drive setups, I have only one partition on each mirrored drive, which makes recovery much simpler. Best to start with two brand new drives for a RAID 1 system than to add a hard drive after the fact, because the dives will need to be formatted anyways to create the RAID system. If you're concerned about read/write performance with two drives running as opposed to only one, you can get a RAID 1 system with a third solid state drive as a read/write cache, though unless you're doing some serious data crunching like mass video rendering or 3D modelling, you don't need it.

Hope that helps.
# Posted By Joeflash | 1/4/08 12:33 PM
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