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29

Jul

2019

When you think self-storage, you think physical stuff: furniture, clothes, linens. But these days, our digital lives are sometimes even more important. Your work, your irreplaceable family photos, your business documents, your home movies, all of these things rely on digital storage for long-term security. And it’s not always so simple: like physical objects, data can decay under poor conditions.

Today we’ll briefly explain the pros and cons of various backup formats.

Tape Drives

Wait, tape? Is it 1990? Not quite: most large corporations and data centers still back up on magnetic tape! Tape has superior durability and predictability, and the cost per unit is relatively low; you can get 6 TB of data backed up for around 50 bucks. Tapes last 30 years or more.

But as you can imagine from the target market, tape backup for consumers can be prohibitive. The drives are incredibly expensive new, and the used market requires deep research. Also, don’t put stuff on a tape you need to get in a hurry; the access times are extremely long.

Hard Drives

The old mechanical hard drive is still a tried and true storage solution that combines durability with ease of use. Hard drives plug in to almost any computer, can access data instantly, and last a long time when unplugged. Plugged in, you’re looking at 3-5 years on average.

But of course, hard drives do fail because they are mechanical. So if you have irreplaceable data on them, you need to make other backups for redundancy.

Flash Memory

Flash memory (like USB sticks and solid state drives) revolutionized storage technology: low power, insane speeds, and ruggedness from no moving parts. Unfortunately, they are not viable for serious archiving; SSDs ultimately require power to retain their data, and unplugged that data will eventually fade.

The Cloud

Services like Dropbox and Google Drive have a few advantages. For one, they’re automatic: Dropbox and OneDrive, in particular, can sync data in the background without your input. It’s also nice knowing that your data is on a Google-grade server, with all the professional backup strategies that entails.

But the ultimate problem with data storage is that your stuff is still in someone else’s hands, on physical media you cannot access or control. For maximum flexibility, you need to always have a physical copy of your data in your hands.

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Looking for a secure place to store your precious backup devices? Hillsborough Self-Storage offers a variety of secure storage units with available 24/7 access. Our 5×5 and 5×10 climate-controlled units are the perfect option for digital media thanks to their small footprint and stable temperatures. Contact us today for a free quote!

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