What Is The Best Way To Backup Your Data?

It’s Not A Question Of IF Your Hard Drive Will Fail? It’s A Question Of WHEN

Most hard drives last between one to three years, depending on the model used. Some will die even faster ? there is no guaranteed way to ensure your hard drive won’t fail. Drives have many mechanical parts and suffer wear and tear inside the drives’ complex assemblies, which is why backing up your data is critical.

What is the most efficient and easy way to back up and protect your data? The answer is with backup external drives. It is simply a pain to use CDs, tape drives, and other media that have low capacities and take too long to transfer just a simple file.

Backup External Drives

Make Backup Easier Backup external hard drives make backup and recovery of data easy. Backup external drives offer whopping capacities up to 500 GB per disk. And, backup external drives are plug-and-play compatible with most operating systems and offer speedy sustained data transfers of over 15 MB/s much faster than CD or DLT tape.

There are literally hundreds of backup external hard drives on the market. Although these drives may offer a standard set of features, most fall significantly short of meeting all of the eight important features every backup external drive should have. T hese eight key features to look for in a backup external drive, are:

    1. Adequate shock and vibration protection for surviving bumps, knocks, or drops that the backup external drive may encounter when it is moved around preferably with rubber corner bumpers. Look specifically for a backup external hard drive with a shock rating of over 1,000 Gs.
    2. Cable connection between the hard drive and internal electrical interface board to ensure the connection is not compromised by shock or vibration. Call the manufacturer and ask if they use a cable or just hard connect the drive to the interface board. You will want a cable connection if your drive is ever going to be moved around.
    3. Use of “through-hole” components on the electrical board to avoid components falling off due to vibration or a drop. Again, call the manufacturer and ask if they use surface mount or through-hole components. If they use surface mount primarily, the drive can easily become unusable if it is subjected to shock or vibration.
    4. Use of highly reliable internal hard drive with long operational life and warranty of at least three to five years (including protection against accidental drops). Look at the warranty statement; all warranties are not the same.
    5. Large capacity, especially for backing up video, photo and other large pieces of data. Currently, backup external drives have up to 500 GB of capacity per drive.
    6. Compact, handheld form factor that preferably has the ability to stand vertically.
    7. Good performance. Look for a sustained transfer rate of over 15 MB/s.
    8. Versatility and compatibility with different interfaces such as USB 2.0, Firewire, SATA or 5.25 docking bay option (that allows the backup external drive to be routinely and reliably ejected). Having multiple interface capability is an easy way to ensure compatibility with various different operating systems (PC, Mac, Linux).


The most important of the eight items is adequate shock protection, especially if the backup external drive is to be reliably used for backup and offsite archiving. Most backup external drives are made only to sit on a desk, not designed to ever be moved anywhere. Backup external hard drives are fragile by nature and can be damaged with just a 1/4-inch drop. That is why most backup external drives from popular manufacturers contain warnings not to bump, knock, or jar the drive.

The main problem with most of these backup external drives on the market is that you can’t use these backup external drives to protect your data from a disaster because the drive cannot be reliably archived offsite. If you could safely move the drive, you would want to store the backup external drive somewhere away from your server/workstation to protect the data from theft, fire, or other natural disasters.

Another key point to keep in mind is that good reliability is expressed through a longer warranty. Most drive manufacturers only offer a one-year warranty, yet useful data may need to be available longer than that.

Introducing A Solution: Rugged & Transportable Backup External Drives

Rotation and offsite archiving are needed to protect your data from hazards such as theft, viruses, worms, Trojan horses, fires, earthquakes, hurricanes, indoor sprinkler systems, media failures, and other disasters.

A truly transportable backup external hard drive is an external hard drive with high shock and vibration protection that enables the data to be safely moved around, especially for critical functions like rotation and offsite archiving. Shock protection on hard drives has evolved to a level where you can now purchase a transportable, compact, and high-capacity backup external drive that has the durability to compete with tape backup drive media. But sadly, most backup external drives still offer no real shock protection. However, one company, Olixir Technologies, has developed a patented three-stage shock protection system for hard drives that provides 1,200 to over 10,000 Gs (depending on model) of protection. The over-10,000 Gs model exceeds the MIL-STD-810F Transit Drop Test and even survives drops from up to 7-foot drops onto concrete! With so much durability, you can comfortably and safely rotate and offsite archive, or transport data just like tape media, without having to deal with all the headaches associated with tape. To learn more about Olixir’s product line and for more information please visit: olixir.com.


The Olixir drives can be used in an enterprise chassis (to achieve Terabyte capacity levels), or simply with a low-cost USB 2.0, Firewire, or SATA cable. Users often interchange usage such that in the chassis, routine backups and rotations occur, while cables are used to directly restore a particular user workstation. There are many choices with this flexibility; this is much simpler than how tape drives work.

Tape backup drives can only use media that is of the capacity rated for the drive (or lower). Thus, when you need to expand capacity in your organization, you pay for a new expensive tape drive. With a transportable hard drive solution, like Olixir’s, you can use higher-capacity drives with the same chassis. Compared to tape backup, this will save you thousands of dollars over a three-year period.

Transportable Hard Drive Solution Versus Tape Backup:

Surveys of transportable hard drive customers show they receive major benefits over their prior tape backup drive systems:

SDLT Tape Backup Drive Solution Olixir’s Mobile DataVault FastRestore SE
Restore Time for 100 MB File (Typical) 15 minutes
Restore Time for 250 GB Sever (Typical) 12-18 Hours
Media Capacity (Native) DLT – Max: ~110 GB Max: 500 GB
Ability to Rotate & Archive Offsite Yes Yes, with Olixir’s shock protection
Installation Time Hours Under 30 minutes via plug-and-play USB 2.0 or Firewire.
Expandable to Larger Capacity? No Yes: Infinitely expandable via higher capacity hard drives; daisy-chainable
Cleaning Yes No
Warranty 1 Year (Typical) 3 Years
Cost Most midrange 110 GB tape backup drives with 5 tapes: $3000-$7000 Backup-to-portable 250 GB drive kit: $2999
(Comes with 5 transportable hard drives, chassis that holds drives, and professional software)

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