My 4 year old Dell Precision Workstation and 80 gb hard disk are chugging along just fine, but right now I'm just doing incremental back-ups to CDs, and that's not enough. I run a small business and major downtime from a hard disk crash would hurt plenty. If the HD crashes, I want to be up and running again within a few hours. I also like the idea of having a complete copy of the data out of town, in case something like Hurricane Katrina strikes.
I'm mulling over different options, and would like feedback on them:
1. Get a new computer.
The Dell does everything I need it to do. My only fear is that it will suddenly go out of service. If the hard disk is the weak link, then I could just replace it. But if other components on four year old computers regularly start to act up, then it's time to start thinking about a new machine.
If I get a new computer, of course, I have to budget time to re-install all the software, plus figure out what box I'll get.
2. A second hard drive, either USB 2.0 or (if necessary) SATA, plus Ghost or another software solution.
It would be easier for me to install a USB 2.0 drive, as I have a couple of free USB ports. However, I *could* buy a SATA card, if SATA is that much more desirable.
If I get a back-up drive, I'd want a hassle free restore process. Best of all would be to simply reboot from the back-up drive; I think only SATA would give me that capability. It also would be acceptable to open up the case, replace the dead HD with the back-up drive, and reboot.
I haven't used Ghost, though, and don't know if Ghost makes things that easy. I also could install the new HD, fire up Ghost or another software program and then wait as it restores the volume. (What I *don't* want is to have to install the HD, install the OS, install various drivers and then only restore selectively -- I could do that with my current set-up.)
I know that other products are available, such as Maxtor One Touch. Maybe that's just what I need. I tend to be leery, though, as I've had years of bad experiences with back-up products. I've heard good things about Ghost, but maybe I haven't heard enough.
3. Tape Drive.
I now have a film scanner on a low-tech Adaptec 2930CU PCI SCSI controller. I could get a better SCSI controller to use with both the film scanner and with SCSI tape backup. I like tape because it would let me postal mail copies of my data out of the city, solving my Hurricane Katrina concerns. But maybe it's more than I need.
The main priority: to be able to get up and running again fast, with all or virtually all of my data, in case of a hard disk crash.