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Cold storage suggestions

I am trying to back up all of my data and I need a 12tb hard drive to be able to back everything up. This will be cold storage and I intend to back it up 2 times eventually. I would like the drive to be fast so copying everything over does not take for ever. I don’t want to do tape or blu-ray because a hard drive is easier and faster(I think?). I am open to any suggestions and if I forgot anything please let me know. The cheaper the better, but I do want a good drive(willing to pay if its worth the extra money). I am willing to do multiple drives as well if it saves money.

These are the drives I was considering:

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I use WD Purple drives for cold storage.
Write speed is okay (~120MB/s)

thanks for the suggestion ill check that out. Any one else have any recommendations?

I have never had a 5400 rpm drive fail, 7200rpm, not so much.

Do you know if the lower RPM speed somehow is correlated with a lower disk failure rate?

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Just what I have observed

Just about any of those will work. If I had to pick I’d probably go with an Ultrastar drive

Easystores and WD elements are going to be your best option for as low as $15-16 per TB when on “sale”, which happens regularly.

As far as real world reliability goes, everyone in the data hoarder community considers them identical to the “enterprise” versions of the drive.

One thing that applies to all high capacity helium drives is no one is really sure how well they are going to hold up over the long term. I don’t worry about it TBH. I just rotate the sets of drives I consider to be Backup and Offline Backup. If you want something you can forget about for a decade or two, then it’s time to deal with money hole called tape.


aren’t those drives slower though?

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Not really noticeably slower - they contain WD drives, similar to their “Red” line for the higher tier of shuckable drives.
If you are after cold storage, slower isn’t really a problem?



-Unless Log contradicts, looks like they started to reply, then fell asleep.

-Maybe they just got bored and went outside for a lovely stroll.

-Maybe Log started to reply, but his phone froze, and won’t reset, and the user gets stuck in a permanent state of posting, never to release

Depends on workload.

If you need IOPS, then yes, the full speed enterprise drive will provide roughly 25% more (assuming 7200rpm vs 5400rpm, same number of platters, data density, and head latency). But 25% more of nothing is still nothing. You are generally going to be FAR better served by making use of SSD’s, which provide orders of magnitude more IOPs. Put your VM’s and databases on an SDD pool and backup to spinning rust.

A backup workload is a throughput workload. You won’t notice any difference in regards to throughput unless you are benchmarking. The type of pool and number of vdev’s are what matter, assuming you even have more than a 1G network (which will bottleneck you to ~125mb/s max. A single disk can easily max that out when streaming data). 10G and 40G fiber are stupid cheap to setup these days with parts from ebay.

If you are just storing data, then don’t worry about speed at all. You’re big concerns are redundancy levels (I’d never use lower than RAIDZ2), price per TB, and how many disks you want to deal with (because of power and physical space)

You can use camelcamelcamel to see historic amazon prices and get price notifications

Bestbuy, Newegg and Amazon often pull the trigger on sales very close to each other.
Reddit’s datahoarder sub also has people post what they find.

Doing a full system backup takes me twelve hours, I start a script and don’t think about it.


thank you for all that information. I am just using it as a backup. Most will come from internal spinning rust but some external usb spinning rust. I would like it to be as fast as possible. BUT if i can save a bunch of money I’d rather do that.

Backups are really just a fire and forget sort of thing to leave overnight, like MazeFrame said. The roughly 5-10% throughput increase on an enterprise drive is laughable. And even then, it’s better to put the money saved into another disk so you can have a mirror instead, which let’s you actually correct errors, rather than just detect them (which is all a single disk pool can do). You really do want a pair of disks at least.

If you are wanting a storage pool that’s responsive to access, that’s a different discussion.


just want a backup of my files that will mostly be cold. i want it to be physical and in my possession. cheaper the better.

I got a hotswap bay in my main system and a storage case for the drives.

I am working on a small programm to let me “search” files that are only in cold storage now (files of completed projects). Current situation is the “spreadsheet of data”.


Ouch, years ago, there’s this total commander compression plugin that only built an inventory of the files and didn’t store any data into the archive. It allowed you to do a search through archives, which would find the files by name.

What sucked about it was it didn’t really create an index of the content like some other desktop search systems… most third-party desktop search systems are dead these days.

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As a heads up, another sale dropped and 12TB easystores are $180 at bestbuy. That comes to $15 per TB.
Should last all Friday. Possibly Saturday.


thx log i am getting it now

Thank you everyone the wd easystores work great, getting good results @Log

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