Doing some yearly IT maintenance over January. Upgraded my main hard drive from 200 gig to 500 gig (it was getting full). This contains all my photos, 18 years of email (includng gmail backup), steam games, all my documents etc.
I do two backups. One to a second hdd within the desktop (every midnight). The other to an external hdd enclosure I bring in every couple of weeks from home. The backup is of the entire system using ‘rsync’.
The only problem with the USB enclosure is that it is very slow. So I bought an esata pci card and connect via that instead. This increased my speed from about 1MB/sec over USB2 to 57MB/sec over esata. That is an increase of 50 times!
I also noticed that my internal hard drive is much faster than a few years ago. Old notes suggest I was getting about 54MB/sec in 2003, but the newer hard drives are giving me 96MB/sec.
The sustained write speeds are slower than hdparm. The external esata actually rsyncs at about 30-40MB/sec (not 57MB/sec). But now I can update the backup in minutes, not hours.
All measurements are using hdparm under linux.
[email protected]:/home/schuller# hdparm -t /dev/sdc1
/dev/sdc1: Timing buffered disk reads: 290 MB in 3.01 seconds = 96.22 MB/sec
In summary: if you are using external hard drive enclosures, make sure you connect via esata.
What about NAS? They are great in theory, but very expensive compared to a generic esata/usb enclosure.