This weekend my network media server died. Being a tech guy, computer failures are to be expected. Even though total loss of new gear is possible, usually failures seem to happen most with older equipment. This media server is about a year old and the hard drive warranty is good until December 2012. However as good as the warranty is, nothing is going to bring the data back from that crashed hard drive. (Yes, I froze the drive and tried any number of recovery efforts. It is toast.)
As it happens, one of my medical clients asked me to help them with their disaster recovery and back up system a few months back. I needed to find a system which supported HIPAA compliance and was reliable. I stumbled upon KL Security which sells the IOSafe. Their sales rep was very helpful and suggested to buy a NetGear Ready NAS 4000 NV+ (network attached storage.) The IOSafe plugs into the NAS and provides a redundant, single disk backup which is waterproof at 10 feet depth for a week and fireproof at 1500 degrees for at least a half-hour. The NAS runs as a RAID (redundant array of inexpensive disks) in a proprietary format similar to RAID5.
I set up a prototype system at my offices first to make sure it would be a good fit for the customer. So about $900 later, the system arrived. It was easy to set up… Pop in the hard drives and let the NAS do the rest. After install I set the time and network information. The NAS comes with on-board back up software which was easy to use. And the IOSafe plugs into the NAS via a USB cable. I needed to format the NAS to FAT32 which required a third party software to exceed Windows rules (see Ridgecrop Consultants Ltd Fat32Format.)
So I programmed my back up on a nightly basis. Fortunately I set up the software to fully back up the data on all network attached devices including the media server. Normally I back up my data off site with Mozy. But Mozy does not allow you to back up network attached devices, nor would I want to because we are talking about 500GB of storage which is impossible to back up remotely (at least as of this writing.) The NAS box started throwing me error emails about the media server while I was on the road, upon return, I found the hard drive had failed.
After replacing the hard drive, I used Microsoft SyncToy v2 to copy the backed up data from the NAS to the new hard drive… Over the gigabit network the restore time was very quick, and inside of the afternoon, my entire media server was fully restored.
It’s the first time in 20+ years of computer/technology that I’ve ever experienced a full drive failure. The disaster recovery backup saved my weekend.