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Let your storage do your backing up for you

Western Digital has introduced the latest in its series of My Book external storage solutions. The My Book World Edition can be used as a Network Attached Storage device, usable for common storage or as a backup solution across an entire home or business network.

Available in 1TB or 2TB capacities, the new lineup uses the same Caviar Green Power drives with 500GB per platter perpendicular magnetic recording technology that DailyTech previously covered. It is also expandable to larger capacities through the use of its USB 2.0 port, though access times would be slower.

According to a study conducted by WDC, seventy percent of consumers claim to be backing up their data, but most of that is the occasional copying to a CD or USB flash drive. The My Book World Edition addresses this problem by providing automatic, continuous backup for all the computers on a network. A capacity gauge gives a visual indication of how much space is available.

WDC is targeting consumers in particular who want to store music, photos, videos, software, or backup CDs in a shared digital media library. It connects to a network router through the use of its gigabit ethernet port, and allows access to data from any PC, Mac, Xbox360, or Sony Playstation 3 on the network.

Remote access and file sharing on the internet is also available for free through WDC's MioNet software. MioNet was originally developed by a team from Stanford University who formed a company named SenVid to market it. Western Digital acquired SenVid and the entire MioNet product line in 2007.

The 1TB My Book World Edition NAS is now shipping to retail with a Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price of $230, while the 2TB version will be available at the end of February with a MSRP of $450. Western Digital is offering a three year warranty on both versions.



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NAS not just for backup
By BPB on 2/20/2009 10:56:34 AM , Rating: 3
I am building my own NAS, but it won't be for just backups. It'll also be for moves/migrations, so it HAS to be RAIDed to increase the likelyhood that I won't loose data. I'm sure I'm nto alone in this use of a NAS. The bottom line is I would not want just one drive.




RE: NAS not just for backup
By Moishe on 2/20/2009 11:09:29 AM , Rating: 2
You're right...
The thing that sets this one apart seems to be the software that does continual backup.

So what we need is two of these and separate software instances so that we get two continual backups. Still not as good as RAID, but better than one drive.


RE: NAS not just for backup
By Steve1981 on 2/20/2009 1:31:35 PM , Rating: 2
Keep in mind if the historical data is sufficiently important, you'll still want a backup of the backup.


RE: NAS not just for backup
By Hare on 2/21/2009 4:14:03 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly. RAID is for redundancy. Backups should be kept separately. For backup purposes I would take two completely separate drives over RAID any day. This way the historical data is preserved and if the drive MB burns you still can get the data back. How many people have actually tried to restore a RAID array after the controller has broken?


RE: NAS not just for backup
By kkwst2 on 2/21/2009 5:01:50 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
How many people have actually tried to restore a RAID array after the controller has broken?


If you have a good hardware controller, it's usually pretty easy unless the entire RAID got hosed in the process of the fail (I've not had this happen). Adaptec controllers allow you to backup your configuration, so it's a matter of replacing the controller, restoring the configuration, and then running the RAID diagnostics to make sure everything is OK.

Now if you're using onboard controllers for RAID, things may get a little dicey because the management tools are often not as comprehensive, but if you're serious about your data you're not doing that. Onboard RAID is usually a joke. Maybe things have improved recently, but they usually have high CPU utilization, poor performance, and limited recovery tools.


RE: NAS not just for backup
By jackedupandgoodtogo on 2/20/2009 12:43:16 PM , Rating: 2
I've got my home server setup with a 4-drive software RAID 10 configuration (using Intel Storage Matrix) and use an external USB drive for backup. The backup drive is simply to migrate data if I need to reconfigure the RAID array or if I'm upgrading the array. But for the most part, my RAID configuration has kept my data intact, after several rebuilds over the past few years and I've never really used my backup drive on a daily basis. Just on occasion, I'll archive my data to it.

So far, the array is very fast, and since it's stripped and mirrored, it's also safe.


RE: NAS not just for backup
By Justin Time on 2/20/2009 1:27:26 PM , Rating: 2
Good luck with the no-backup approach when someone steals the Server, or you have a fire, or a flood, or a storm, or a major electrical surge or...

Bottom line, if you store data somewhere, whether it's your PC's drive, a Server's drive or even a NAS device (which is essentially just a file-server) you need a backup to be held elsewhere.


RE: NAS not just for backup
By Steve1981 on 2/20/2009 1:30:14 PM , Rating: 1
Exactly.

RAID is a solution for improving uptime. It is no substitute for a backup.


RE: NAS not just for backup
By omnicronx on 2/20/2009 2:58:14 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
RAID is a solution for improving uptime. It is no substitute for a backup.
How on earth does one not equate to the other?

If you just have a mirrored raid setup (say raid 1) and one drive dies, how is the second drive not a backup? If you didnt have an array, there would be no recovery. A mirrored setup does not require two drives to operate, if one dies, it will continue to work without the second drive. You never have to replace the second drive if you don't want too. Thus I don't see how a backup on your PC and a backup on your NAS without RAID is any different. Regardless it is being kept in two places, and they have the ability to operate independently.

In fact the very definition of redundancy would tend to disagree with what you are trying to imply here.


RE: NAS not just for backup
By Steve1981 on 2/20/2009 3:06:39 PM , Rating: 2
Two words: disaster recovery. A well implemented backup solution has it. RAID does not.


RE: NAS not just for backup
By Steve1981 on 2/20/2009 3:12:17 PM , Rating: 2
To further expand: the only reason you need fault tolerance in a backup is if you care about historical data, eg you care about things that were on your hard drive a year ago but are not today. Otherwise, it wouldn't matter if the backup drive died, you'd just buy another one.

If you do care about historical data, things change. Lets say you buy a RAID NAS backup. The ONLY location of that historical data is on that NAS. Therefore, if the NAS fails, you're screwed. As such in that instance, it makes sense to have a backup of the backup.


RE: NAS not just for backup
By omnicronx on 2/20/2009 3:16:12 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
If you do care about historical data, things change. Lets say you buy a RAID NAS backup. The ONLY location of that historical data is on that NAS. Therefore, if the NAS fails, you're screwed. As such in that instance, it makes sense to have a backup of the backup.
I fully agree, I would never leave it up to a NAS to be the only source of such information.

But would you take this approach for a home server? Personally I think its more than overkill, a RAIDED NAS backup is more than enough for most people.


RE: NAS not just for backup
By Steve1981 on 2/20/2009 3:21:32 PM , Rating: 2
I think a RAIDed NAS is overkill for most people.


RE: NAS not just for backup
By Steve1981 on 2/20/2009 3:38:59 PM , Rating: 2
To expand again....

Assuming you don't care about historical data at home, you just want your pictures, mp3s, movies, etc duplicated somewhere, a simple external hard drive will suffice. If it dies, you can get another one. If both die at the same time, the G-man is out to get you and RAID ain't helping.


RE: NAS not just for backup
By Steve1981 on 2/20/2009 3:39:59 PM , Rating: 2
Bleh..

that is to say if both your PC/Server and your external drive die at the same time, the G-man is out to get you.


RE: NAS not just for backup
By omnicronx on 2/20/2009 3:12:22 PM , Rating: 3
So what? I never implied it was the best solution, I only implied it is a form of backup. Would I personally leave my mission critical data on a RAID NAS without backup? Nope.. but for a Home Server, it is more than enough.


RE: NAS not just for backup
By Steve1981 on 2/20/2009 3:13:50 PM , Rating: 1
Since you posted before I expanded, I'll repost...

To further expand: the only reason you need fault tolerance in a backup is if you care about historical data, eg you care about things that were on your hard drive a year ago but are not today. Otherwise, it wouldn't matter if the backup drive died, you'd just buy another one.

If you do care about historical data, things change. Lets say you buy a RAID NAS backup. The ONLY location of that historical data is on that NAS. Therefore, if the NAS fails, you're screwed. As such in that instance, it makes sense to have a backup of the backup.


RE: NAS not just for backup
By omnicronx on 2/20/2009 3:17:39 PM , Rating: 3
To further expand what you have expanded.. damn.. now I'm just confused.. ;)


RE: NAS not just for backup
By saiyan on 2/20/2009 4:42:43 PM , Rating: 2
If you just have a mirrored raid setup (say raid 1) and you accidentally delete a folder containing 200GB of MP3/WMV, how will you recover deleted files? Even though you have an array and healthy hard drives, there would be no recovery. A mirrored setup does not prevent you from deleting files accidentally.

The above is just one scenario that shows RAID is no substitute for backup. Others have already mentioned disaster, fire, theft and other situations that RAID cannot save you from.


By jackedupandgoodtogo on 2/20/2009 4:19:17 PM , Rating: 2
"and use an external USB drive for backup"

I don't think I wrote no backup with RAID.


Slow Performance
By tcsdoc on 2/20/2009 12:58:45 PM , Rating: 2
Over at Newegg, people who purchased the My Book are reporting super slow speed. Even with a pure Gigabit setup (nic and router), speeds are around 5MB's a second. That is way too slow given the size of the storage.




RE: Slow Performance
By Steve1981 on 2/20/2009 1:16:15 PM , Rating: 2
I get comparable speeds from a Seagate FreeAgent external drive for what thats worth. Its odd since a file copy goes considerably quicker, but I suspect that the USB controller is competing with the integrated NIC for resources. I can't think of any better explanation in any event.


RE: Slow Performance
By Iridium130m on 2/20/2009 5:50:44 PM , Rating: 2
I own a 1TB dual drive WD NAS and performance was unacceptable, even on gigabit. The onboard processor is just too slow to handle this box efficiently. Even after hacks and tweaks to the onboard linux os, the fastest writes I could get were around 6-7 MB a sec.

I finally took the drives out and put them into a FreeNAS box with an old Athlon XP processor and all is fast now.


Gigabit
By Bremen7000 on 2/20/2009 12:09:29 PM , Rating: 2
I like that it has gigabit ethernet, but suggesting that it be hooked up to a router is kind of misleading -- who actually has a gigabit router? People will probably want to pick up either a new gigabit router or a gigabit switch, which is practically a forced accessory for this storage of this size.




RE: Gigabit
By bigboxes on 2/21/2009 1:13:41 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
who actually has a gigabit router?


I have a Linksys gigabit switch. I've had it for over two years now. When building my home network I wanted the ability to move files between my file server and the other PCs on the network at a speed that is practical in real world usage. Yeah, it's slower than the drives that are on the host pc. But when I had issues with my router I had to connect my PCs to directly to my router until I could get another router. The difference between 100 and 1000 was amazing. I guess I had gotten used to the gigabit speed and was constantly complaining about how slow it was sometimes. Compared to 100, gigabit flies. I will never go back to a slower network again. At this time the internet doesn't need gigabit, but network PCs certainly benefit from it.


RE: Gigabit
By Jansen (blog) on 2/21/2009 9:38:56 PM , Rating: 1
I have a gigabit router and a gigabit switch. I suspect that the majority of readers here who run a home network would have one, especially if they do a lot of file transfers.

1Gb/s = 125MB/s MAX


Performance
By TO on 2/20/2009 12:44:58 PM , Rating: 1
I hope the performance on this drive is better than my WB edition I, cuz a 750gb backup takes 35 hours on this piece of shit... and it's a gb lan... (this drive has a bottleneck issue)

and

mionet = bad joke




Continuous Back-Up, How?
By kelmon on 2/21/2009 11:51:28 AM , Rating: 1
I have no intention of getting into a "Mac vs PC" debate, but I'm fairly certain that Time Machine is a better backup solution than what WD is offering here. The reason for this is that I am suspicious of how WD is implementing their "continuous backup" system. Is it scanning for files that have been created/changed constantly? Or is the solution more elegant than that? Time Machine runs each hour but its impact on system performance is so negligible that this is quite acceptable. The reason for this is that each file creation/change/deletion is logged by the OS at the time it happens so Time Machine only needs to work from that log file rather than scanning the disk for changes. Unless WD has a similar sort of solution then I'm rather afraid that their continuous backup solution is going to result in a noticeable performance hit.




Nice, but...
By SpaceOddity85 on 2/20/09, Rating: -1
RE: Nice, but...
By blafrisch on 2/20/2009 10:41:52 AM , Rating: 5
Why? It's a backup of data you already have, that's why it's a backup.

If the NAS dies, you have the primary copy
If your primary copy dies, you have the NAS.


RE: Nice, but...
By TedE on 2/20/2009 11:34:18 AM , Rating: 2
Since they're pushing this to also be used for streaming audio/video this is an issue. If you have all your music and video on this baby and it dies then you lose everything. Once you start using these things for anything other than backup, RAID becomes essential.

Unless you backup this thing to your PC!


RE: Nice, but...
By Bremen7000 on 2/20/2009 12:05:56 PM , Rating: 4
No, when you start using it for anything but backup, you need BACKUP, not RAID. If you're storing all your movies/music on it to stream, RAID isn't gonna do you any good if they get corrupted or accidentally deleted, or the RAID controller dies.


RE: Nice, but...
By KingViper on 2/20/2009 12:32:25 PM , Rating: 2
If the RAID controller dies, just buy another one. My Areca raid can be utilized by any other Areca controller with enough ports for all of my drives.


RE: Nice, but...
By omnicronx on 2/20/2009 2:45:33 PM , Rating: 2
Many NAS devices employ RAID 5, which allows for stripped performance and redundancy. I.e any one drive can die and you won't lose any data. Obviously this still leaves you prone to accidental deletion, but will deal with any corrupted or non working drives. The controller dying also does not result in data loss, so its not the end of the world either, you can just get it replaced.

NAS's mainly have redundancy for a reason, and that's so you do not have to backup your files locally.


RE: Nice, but...
By Steve1981 on 2/20/2009 10:42:45 AM , Rating: 3
It mostly depends on whether you need historical data, or if just the latest full backup would do.


RE: Nice, but...
By Moishe on 2/20/2009 10:53:05 AM , Rating: 2
I agree that you'd need not one of these, but two to be safe.

I think most people need one because they have their files on their computer as storage and another as backup. Both are normally plugged in though and can be struck by lightning anytime. I want something that is not running or touching any electricity except when I'm performing a backup.

I have a NAS that I use as backup and then I have a separate USB drive that is used for long term backup (unplugged 99% of time). I use my backups for things I don't use often and so I don't have to keep my drives full of old stuff.


RE: Nice, but...
By Spivonious on 2/20/2009 10:53:33 AM , Rating: 2
Meh, for home use there's not much point in backing up the backup. The chances are low that both your main drive and the NAS drive would fail at the same time. Now, if the NAS failed and you needed to pull a file out of the backup that you mistakenly deleted, then I could see the benefit of RAID.


RE: Nice, but...
By grath on 2/20/2009 10:54:30 AM , Rating: 2
I agree. I seem to recall that a few years ago the MyBook had two drives within the enclosure to increase capacity in the pre-perpendicular magnetic recording days. They went back to the single drive as capacity went up and to keep the cost down, but if they are now marketing these as a real backup solution rather than just external/portable storage, perhaps they should put a second drive back in the enclosure and RAID 1 it. Would certainly make me feel better about its reliability.


RE: Nice, but...
By jackedupandgoodtogo on 2/20/2009 12:35:34 PM , Rating: 1
The problem with mirrored RAID for backup in an external drive is if the drives lose their sync (either power goes out while writing, or the USB/Network cable is unplugged), the time it takes to rebuild the array would be very annoying for the average home user who just bought the thing for backup. They're not going to know what's going on while the drive thrashes about resyncing.

If anything, I think it's better to just have two external drives and do backup rotations between them if you're really that scared of losing your backup and primary.


RE: Nice, but...
By Doormat on 2/20/09, Rating: 0
RE: Nice, but...
By DeepBlue1975 on 2/20/2009 2:31:57 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah...
Rather than 1 disk with 2tbs, they'd rather make a bigger enclosure, and put 3 500gb disks in raid 5 instead.

They talk about backing up to optical media as a bad thing, but the alternative they offer is a mechanical disk which is as unreliable and prone to failure as any other hard disk you might have inside your system.

Used as an external storage, it's pretty convenient (much more so than a simple external USB drive), but as a backup, I think it is as useless as it gets. For what matters, you can just get another internal drive for your PC and backup your data there, and you'll be saving some bucks on the process.


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