Mirror Your Hard Drive

March 25, 2010

When you hear the word RAID, you probably think of the bug spray. Us techno-geeks, however, think of Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks. Originally, RAID was invented so that you could put together several small, less expensive disks and make them work as one larger disk which would cost more than the cost of all of the smaller disks combined. Later, RAID was expanded to include other uses. One of those uses is Mirroring.

To perform RAID mirroring, you need to identical hard drives. You set one up to the primary, and one to be the mirror. Everything that gets written to or changed on the primary also gets done to the mirror. The big advantage to mirroring is that if the primary hard drive fails, you can simply boot off the mirror and work like nothing bad every happened. Then  you come back later and replace the failed hard drive and put the mirroring back in place.

Many consider mirroring to be the best type of backup because it automatic and always up to date. However, RAID mirroring isn’t without its problems. For one, it slows down writes to your hard drive a little since it now has to write it to two hard drives instead of one. In addition, some implementations of RAID are buggy. Another problem with RAID is that many computers do not support RAID. Sure you can purchase a RAID controller to install in your computer, but they aren’t cheap.

Luckily, there is an alternative. Bounceback is a software product that kind of does the same thing as RAID mirroring, but without using RAID. With BounceBack, you still have to have a second hard drive, but that hard drive doesn’t have to be identical to your primary hard drive. In fact, it can even be an external hard drive which anyone can install.

BounceBack will create a mirrored copy of your primary hard drive on a secondary hard drive. You can set it to check every few minutes, or every hour, so it’s not always updating. That’s better for performance.  Just like RAID, if your primary hard drive fails, you can boot off of your secondary drive, and continue to work.

BounceBack comes in several different editions including BounceBack Essential and BounceBack Ultimate.  If you just want to mirror your hard drive, the cheaper BounceBack Essential will do the trick. If you want to do more fancy things like synchronize folders between computers, you’ll want to get BounceBack Ultimate.

If you are interested in BounceBack, click on the link below:

http://www.cmsproducts.com/products/backup_software/bounceback/default.html

One important note about all of this. When you backup to another hard drive, or any media, that stays in the same building as your computer, you are protecting yourself against hard drive crashes, but you aren’t protecting yourself against disasters. If your computer and your backup are in the same building and that building burns down, you’ve lost your data. Hurricanes, tornados, floods, war, or burglary can also rid you of your data along with their backups. This is why we recommend that you have a remote backup in addition to having a local backup. For more information about that, see our website at www.ct-cp.com.

By the way, Cyber Tek Computer Pros is not affiliated with BounceBack or CMS products in any way. We just like their product!

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