Mon 18 Sep 2006
A few weeks ago I got a call from our senior priest, Father Bishoy. He told me that the server I had setup for him at home wasn’t working anymore. I had set the server up with a hardware RAID 1 and apparently both drives had failed. I had setup an external drive for backup from him, but it wasn’t connected and the last backup he had made was November 2005. I should have known better and had a better backup system in place. I wasn’t backing the server up to church because it was over 80 GB of data and his Internet connection was just too slow to back that up with our current backup solution.
I tried to pull the data off of either drive without any success (I even tried freezing the drives). So I looked around and found that were several companies that specialized in hard drive data recovery. Prices varied from $1,000 to $5,800 and some gave free quotes and while some charge up to $250. I decided to go with ESS Data Recovery, a Western Digital Data Recovery Preferred Partner. Western Digital customers get a free 80 GB hard drive for data return and a 10% discount. Their prices were also among the most reasonable ($1,000-$2,500) and there was no fee for a quote. ESS sent me to a UPS store where they packaged the hard drives and shipped them next day. Once they received the drives they sent me an email saying that there is a 90% chance of recovery and they the estimate cost for completion is $1,550. If they don’t recover the data, no charge. The representative told me the usual turnaround is 3 to 5 business days.
The drives are still at ESS almost a month later, they seem to have a problem getting a certain replacement part for the drive that is necessary to restore the data. They still assure me that the chance of recovery hasn’t changed.
Meanwhile, I have been looking at backup solutions for Father Bishoy that would reduce the chance of this happening again. Earlier this year we had purchased a 2 terabyte Infrant ReadyNAS 1000s for storing our A/V files and backup to disk. The NAS works great so I looked for a similar but smaller solution for Father Bishoy. I found a good deal on a populated ReadyNAS 600 at Newegg. That will work for local backup but I still need a remote backup solution.
I have found that our backup software, Veritas Backup Exec 9, doesn’t handle large backups overs slow remote connections very well so I started to look at various online backup options. I found Xdrive and a few Amazon S3 based apps – filicio.us, Jungle Disk, Altexa Backup, and ElephantDrive. I also stumbled across a TechCrunch post on Carbonite Online Backup yesterday, where he also mentions Mozy. Carbonite looks really impressive and would be the the most cost effective. Has anyone had experience with any of these solutions – especially with large amounts of data?