Data Death

Wherever you live, you probably heard the oaths and imprecations from here today. This morning my current backup hard disk died, instantly and irrevocably. That’s two and a half years of fountain pen photos that have become unavailable to me.

It’s not a financial loss. My business files are fine, because I back them up to CD as well. The photos have no real earning potential for me. Mostly, I use them for this blog and as illustrations to questions I answer in the pen groups. It would cost £280.00 to recover the data, and it just isn’t worth it. I would have no return on that outlay.

Those photographs were a wonderful reference, though, and I’m really going to miss them.

It does make me consider my backup policy, which I felt was a sensible one, but it clearly wasn’t enough because it has let me down. Realistically, how many backups of backups of backups do you need before you can say your data is safe?


5 thoughts on “Data Death

  1. There is no real way of safely backing up digital data. You have to rely on multiple copies of your data on a variety of media and refresh/re record it from time to time.

    The most unreliable storage media is the writable CD/DVD because unlike commercial CD/DVDs the data is recorded using organic dyes which unfortunately have a bad habit of suddenly breaking down leading to catastrophic data loss. External hard drives are a good place to store data if they are only used occasionally to refresh data. If they are constantly connected then lifetime becomes an issue. Flash memory is a lot more expensive but offers similar or better reliability compared to external hard drives. A new place to store data is ‘In the cloud’ i.e. on-line with a service like DropBox or Ubuntu One. Your data is securely stored in server farms where multiple redundancy is employed in case of failure. This is probably the most reliable form of storage but should not be relied on alone.

    1. I’m a little annoyed, as the external disk was only used for backup and wasn’t old. Oh well. I’ve been doing this since 1976, so I should be used to the unreliability of all media by now.

      I may try the on-line solution, among others. Thanks for your suggestions.


  2. OUCH! I feel your pain, Deb. If any good comes from your misfortune, it will be that you have given a big nudge to others (myself certainly) to examine and pay more attention to backup issues. Thanks for your sad post.

  3. Hi, I back up on a hard drive too but all my pics also go onto Flickr which is very cheap, limitless and provides another place for them. I just send batches up every now and then which is a pleasurable thing as I get to see the pics as I go!

    I would be devastated to lose the pics. I wonder if there’s a cheaper option to get them back?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.