I've used a bunch of these on line storage solutions.  So far my favorites are Zumodrive (1GB free), Dropbox (2GB free), and Skydrive (25GB free).  I also use livesync to synchronize files between multiple devices (works great keeping all my WoW mods, pictures, music, movies, and etc updated across my home computers).   


Amazon probably has the most robust and affordable solution for huge data backups, skydrive has the most storage for free (25GB), Zumodrive does a great job with media, gdocs and live@edu let you actually work on the files through the browser, but none of them will do it all.   So, I use all of the above (well, I don't use Amazon... yet).


I'd like to see what everyone is doing or planning to do with online data services as addition/replacement/fault tolerance to your school's storage options.  Currently we back up about + TB to disk and then that goes to tape, as it takes too long to go straight to tape.   Dropbox at $240/year for 100GB would cover a fair amount of data, but would that solve more problems than it would create?  Amazon can host all of our backups for about the cost of our tapes for 1 month... but can we even begin to push that amount of data up to the cloud with a tiny 30MB handoff?  How big a pipe do we need to realistically use these solutions and will that cost be worth it?







Michael Vining, SB IT Support

South Burlington School District

South Burlington, Vermont 05403


Direct: (802) 652-7298

IT Help Desk: (802) 652-7050



From: School Information Technology Discussion [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Adam Provost
Sent: Sunday, November 01, 2009 10:56 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Backups and things that get dropped in the night


We've discussed institutional backups on this list many times. How about personal backups? Here's a quick survey we've created to stir up discussions on how we do or don't backup our personal data at home. We came up with the idea of asking students and adults here on campus to chime in and also you folks on the School-IT list.

Here's the link to they survey. We don't ask your name, but we do ask your age.

Many thanks for your time if you choose to fill it out! Adam

Here's the ditty I wrote up for the class to open discussions. Yes, my music HD did croak this weekend!

I dropped an external hd yesterday and it has officially croaked from the impact. The drive had my entire music library on it! BOOO! I have a backup except for iTunes purchases I've made over the last year-ish though so that' helps. I contacted Apple, explained the dilemma and I can download my purchases again... a one shot deal. Full recovery. This... is a good thing. 

The whole thing got me thinking about backups for the home... again. Without this online data recovery from Apple I'd have lost a good bit of music purchases. It's about time we get this conversation underway this year.

If you've been doing this media bit for awhile there's always the item of converting things to new locations or new formats. Cave walls, stone tablets, paper, reel to reel, technicolor, cassettes, VHS, Hi-8, even DAT tapes go the way of the location or media player changes. One form phases out and you are left to convert all your material to a new format. I still have a stack of Hi-8 videos I'm converting to digital. So what's the next step for digital music, photos and video?

Here are a few pitfalls with home based backups: 

- Some folks don't backup at all or like me in the case above, forget to backup a certain part of their material.

- They are not done frequently enough. You lose large chunks of data in between backups. 

- Backing up incrementally to dvds is cumbersome too with ever-changing content. Music and photos are ever changing medium for me as an example. I'd rather do many other things than backup data manually or sort it for backup and archiving purposes.

- Backing up data to an external hard drive in your house is great... until something happens to your house: Auto-Bot landing, black hole, fire, etc. Catastrophes like this have always been a risk, especially for traditional picture albums, record or cd collections and the like.

So, I looked around a bit for automated solutions to data backup and found this one:

Online backups can be slow though. So I'm thinking rather than slow down my workstation, I automate backups to one external hard drive and then backup that external hd to a web service like Mozy online. Photos, videos, music etc. No sorting. No incremental goofing around. Easy off site data backup. Three copies: Local, external drive and offsite. That means at least two workstations though in a home and a broadband internet connection. Not a practical solution for some. Hmm. 

Mozy is just one of many services out there. Likely as time goes by there will be more. 

Then... I think along the lines of sacrificing resolution and just putting all my photos and video online anyway. Is preserving resolution of photos and video really that important for the future?

I went the way of the web for my documents years ago. As we move toward higher internet bandwidth, is archiving things at home on our own drives even practical anymore? Are we in a transition period... a mixture of home hard drive and dvd tinkering and online services or would you pick one or the other?

Please fill out this online survey via the link below. I've asked some IT folk in education to do the same. The survey will collect the data and we'll see what folks have to say.

Thanks for tuning in, Adam