Question for you computer geeks

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Annika1980, Dec 26, 2007.

  1. Yes, I agree there are more to environment than temperature. That's why a
    *PROPER* installation takes all of this into account. Of course, this means
    that the server/RAID array has an APC Smart-UPS of the appropriate size for
    maximum protection. All other peripheral should also be wired and
    configured correctly as well. But, as I said earlier, the biggest
    percentages of RAID, HD, and other hardware failure is caused by improper
    ventilation and overheating.

    Rita Ä Berkowitz, Dec 30, 2007
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  2. I can only believe that this would be true if the faliure were caused by
    some third event, such as a fire that consumed both drives together, or a
    power surge that wiped out everything running at the same location. I doubt
    seriously that two hard drives located at separate installations would fail
    at the same time, or so close together that you wouldn't have time to buy
    and install another drive and copy your stuff onto it from the good drive.
    In my case, I make CD's and send them to my daughters in another state.
    (Wyoming) They live at opposite sides of that state. The odds of both of
    them losing their copies at the same time that I do has to be extremely
    small. Any catastrophe that affected both of their computers at the same
    time as mine here in Oregon would make the loss of my photos relatively
    inconsequental anyway. I bring Cd's containing my music to my music teacher
    located about 20 miles away. In general, having friends that will keep
    copies of Cd's for you in their bookcases is a great idea for backup.
    William Graham, Dec 31, 2007
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  3. How about forming an, "Archival club". Everyone in the club sends everyone
    else their backup CD's, where they are stored in the member's library. If
    the club has like 10 members or more, it would be next to impossible to lose
    your stuff. Even if the CD's are of very poor quality, getting 9 copies from
    different locations would pretty well guarantee that you don't lose any
    William Graham, Dec 31, 2007
  4. Yes. different locations entirely is a good idea....The odds that a Wyoming
    Squirrel will do the same damage as an Oregon squirrel at the same time are
    pretty small.....:^)
    William Graham, Dec 31, 2007
  5. [A complimentary Cc of this posting was sent to
    One should keep in mind that this "maximum protection" is, in
    practice, pretty minimal... :-( A good lightning would easily burn
    through a UPS (fortunately, our area is not subject to "good"
    lightnings, so I know this via rumours only).
    One control question: is your ventilation under UPS control? ;-) What
    I've heard is that a typical breakage chain in big data centers would
    go in several steps, like: electricity is off ==> AC is off ==>
    overheating of backup electricity source ==> catastrofic shutdown.
    (Track comp.risks for more info...)

    Ilya Zakharevich, Dec 31, 2007
  6. [A complimentary Cc of this posting was sent to
    William Graham
    Oups, I did not think that one could read what I wront THIS way. ;-)
    Yes, "similar" means colocation for HD. But for media like DVD,
    sending them out may not help, if this batch has higher-than-normal
    deterioration rate (as I saw with one batch of Tayio Yugen).
    See above.

    Currently, I store 2 copies of DVDs at 2 locations (unfortunately,
    both within several hundred yards of the same fault; I need to invent
    another place less prone to earthquakes; but all my friends/relatives
    are too mobile to be save data havens), and on two HDs, one powered up
    24/7, another off-line 24/7.

    This is not as reliable as I would like; but at least I had no actual
    data loss yet.

    Ilya Zakharevich, Dec 31, 2007
  7. Annika1980

    Ron Hunter Guest

    But the spinup phase is where many drives fail. I have had only three
    HD failures, and ALL occurred after the drive had been off for various
    time periods and refused to spin up. Now I keep them on when possible,
    except for the laptop drive, which is designed for that kind of usage.
    Ron Hunter, Dec 31, 2007
  8. Annika1980

    Ron Hunter Guest

    I, currently, spread my important data across the three computers I have
    in use. Short of a 'site environment failure' (a euphemism for
    something like a fire in my home), I shouldn't lose any really important
    data. And if that happens, I suspect that will be considered a rather
    minor problem.
    Ron Hunter, Dec 31, 2007
  9. Annika1980

    Ron Hunter Guest

    I suspect the drives designed for use in laptops are less likely to fail
    with repeated power/thermal cycling than those designed for desktop
    machines. They should be somewhat more resistant to g forces as well,
    but I wouldn't bet my life on it. Still, any drive can (and eventually
    WILL) fail. Putting copies on as many drives as you have easy access
    to, as in across a network, seems to be a workable backup plan for 99.9%
    of circumstances.
    Ron Hunter, Dec 31, 2007
  10. Annika1980

    Ron Hunter Guest

    At my last job, we had several EMC cabinets with RAID 5 drives, all
    'hot-swappable', with spares on two of them, and suffered only one
    actual 'hard down' situation in 10 years. One of the 4 controller
    boards died, and the system had to be shut down to replace it, in order
    to get that part of our storage online. The rest of the drives
    continued to operate. Great thing, RAID.
    Ron Hunter, Dec 31, 2007
  11. Annika1980

    Ron Hunter Guest

    My experience seems to argue the other side of that statement.
    Ron Hunter, Dec 31, 2007
  12. Annika1980

    Ron Hunter Guest

    Or a small company that thinks putting the RAID array in a closet is a
    good idea... Grin.
    Ron Hunter, Dec 31, 2007
  13. Annika1980

    Ron Hunter Guest

    Sorry, but 'big data centers' have their own backup generators, which
    will run the A/C. I have seen several cases where A/C loss has required
    system shutdown, but the computers always got thermal shutdown long
    before the HD systems.
    Ron Hunter, Dec 31, 2007
  14. Ron Hunter wrote:
    You echo my thoughts....
    Indeed, I already do this. The 2 x 300GB 2.5-inch drives with USB
    interface would be the backup to the main archive. It would make 4HDs in
    total with my stuff. I see USB as "easy-access", but likely one of the
    USB boxes would be off-site.

    David J Taylor, Dec 31, 2007
  15. Yep, you got it. Not to mention a lot of homes have UPS and generator
    backup. All my important equipment have UPS units attached that can be
    configured to shutdown all or any computer on the network. Having a
    generator is nice as well since we have about a dozen outages in a year. I
    never had a problem with anything nasty getting past the UPS.

    Rita Ä Berkowitz, Dec 31, 2007
  16. Sorry, you are totally wrong. I have seen many UPS units get killed in such
    instances where the MOVs clamped down and did their job. A good UPS will
    give its life to protect the equipment downstream. Replacing the UPS is all
    that is needed, the equipment downstream just need be powered back up.
    It's not a problem, even in third world countries. A proper installation is
    a proper installation no matter where it is located. A datacenter is pretty
    much the perfect environment. A good three phase UPS in a datacenter
    environment isn't even going to flinch. Even a decent properly sized single
    phase APC will have no problems. Been there and done that many times over.

    Rita Ä Berkowitz, Dec 31, 2007
  17. Laptop drives platters are generally made from glass while your 3.5" drives
    have aluminum platters.

    Rita Ä Berkowitz, Dec 31, 2007
  18. Annika1980

    Nomen Nescio Guest

    Ironic indeed that you'd call someone a moron when it's you who is
    oblivious to two fairly well known facts...

    1. Platters in hard drives are designed to be dynamic. By their very
    nature the data they store is "transient", and at-rest retention
    reflects that. Data on a hard drive sitting on a shelf will degrade
    faster than the same data on a DVD sitting on the same shelf.

    2. Modern hard drives (and by modern I mean everything sold in the last
    10 years or so) refresh data on the fly to compensate for this
    degradation, so your misguided notions about data on hard drives
    "lasting longer" if you don't use the drive is *laughably* ironic.

    Nomen Nescio, Dec 31, 2007
  19. [A complimentary Cc of this posting was sent to
    Ron Hunter
    Nothing to be sorry of. "Having backup generators" has very little to
    do with "backup generators starting when needed", etc. As I said,
    tracking comp.risks is very educating...

    *THIS* is the message I'm trying to pass true. As practice shows,
    having a 0.01-failure-rate backup to a 0.01-failure-rate system does
    not make the combination 0.0001-failure-rate. Much much more often it
    becomes something like 0.005-failure rate. Making failures
    independent is A LOT of work; most often it is not possible at all.

    [And sometimes having a backup would make the system less reliable.
    Remember the 3rd tower of WTC?]

    Hope this helps,
    Ilya Zakharevich, Dec 31, 2007
  20. Annika1980

    -hh Guest

    The general problem is that there's no "Easy" solution that parallels
    the old paradigms of film, where we could just throw it in a shoebox
    and ignore it for a decade.

    And while magnetic hard drives have their limitations, the
    alternatives of Optical media isn't a panacea either: there's "DVD
    Rot" issues, particularly unless you're willing to gamble on the Blu-
    Ray vs HD format war, the relatively small capacities of conventional
    CD's and DVD's invariably end up with the photographer having to spend
    progressively more "Touch Labor" (remember: time is money) to
    maintain his archival database.

    Personally, what I do is to use hard drives with redundancy. The
    basic reason for this choice is that the greater ease of making a
    backup (ie, it takes less of my labor) means that my backups actually
    get done. While we all talk about how important it is to do a backup,
    the percentage of us that actually have currency in our backups, with
    redundancy, is probably less than 10%.

    Mechanically, my HD's are mounted on swappable trays and I only have
    one tray slot on my system, which serves as a hardware block to
    prevent me from having more than one backup node getting fried by a
    lightning strike while it was on the PC, etc.

    Process-wise, the HD trays get split up. To address the risk of the
    whole house being burned down, one copy is kept in a drawer of my desk
    at work.

    To address the concern of inactive HD's going dry, these tray-mounted
    drives are on a backup rotation schedule. Thus, they get spun up
    (hopefully) no worse than monthy. I do expect them to eventually
    fail, but my plan is that when this happens, I'll simply buy a new HD
    to replace it.

    Finally, cost. While CD-R and DVD-R media is currently cheaper per GB
    than a HD, it is also a "write-once" media. Since HD's can be reused
    extensively, they become less costly after just a few backup cycles,
    even without considering the value of your time to sit there and feed
    optical disks in/out of a slot (and keep database records of what was
    backed up on what disk). And as time has progressed, so do one's
    storage capacity needs, and the ~$100 160GB's I started out with can
    now be replaced by new 500GB's at the same ~$100 price point.

    -hh, Dec 31, 2007
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