External drives

Reinhold Rumberger rrumberger at web.de
Sun Feb 20 23:42:35 UTC 2011

On Sonntag 20 Februar 2011, 23:39:44, Clay Weber wrote:
> On Sunday, February 20, 2011 05:24:49 PM Neil Winchurst wrote:
> > I have been told that a good idea for back-ups is to use an external
> > hard drive. Do they all work with Kubuntu and does anyone have any
> > helpful suggestions please? There are so many on the market it is very
> > confusing.
> Yes, any of them should work just wine. Though some may come with windows-
> based backup helper software installed, they amount to really, really big
> thumb drives as far as Kubuntu is concerned :) They probably are all
> formatted in FAT32 so it is just a  matter of plugging it in and having it
> show in the device notifier

Actually, for backups fat32 is pretty much the worst choice you could make...

If you're going to use them for backing up your Linux distros, format them to 
ext3/4. It's a lot less hassle if the fs actually supports permissions and has 
no stupid 4GB file size limits.

As far as choice of drive goes: try getting something with different kinds of 
ports (USB, eSata, FireWire). That way you can use it for longish-term storage 
and chances are good that you will still be able to recover your data without 
having to resort to a string of incrementally more modern hardware because 
none of the ports are in use anymore.
Obviously, warranty is a concern if you are going to be serious about backing 
up. That means the really cheap stuff is out of the question.
If you're going to do one of those half-assed unreliable approaches, you can 
just get the drive with the best cost-per-GB ratio, but then doing without a 
backup is probably cheaper and about as useful.

Before you go out buying drives, however, you should first think of a backup 
strategy to use, and buy a drive that suits your needs. If you keep backups 
for e.g. only a year, the choice of ports is less important. Also, you should 
consider some multi-device deal with some sort of RAID/LVM if you'll back up 
really important data and your budget allows for it.

There are enough resources to be found by googling for backup strategies, so 
I'll leave you to that. As Clay pointed out, the actual drive isn't as much of 
a concern as Linux isn't so terribly choosy about them. Apart from access 
speed, the difference between an external and an internal drive pretty much 
boils down to one type being readily removable and the other not.


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