Is physical disc backup still advised?

Im working on full backup of all my most critical data.

Right now i have some images on a external disc, not connected to anything.
The data files that are within those images are also on a windows server (for easy sync with everything from dropbox to google drive and more)
Everything on the windows machine is duplicated over network to a storage server running unraid.

I will eventually also add some cloud storage

But the question is - if this is data i really dont want to loose, would it still make sense to burn archive dvd’s??

I have a very large image library that i simply can not loose (i do graphic work and take tons of pictures)

I would have to burn like 700-800 dvd’s to fit it all, thats pretty expensive and time consuming, but would it be worth it?

I mean, drives can die, servers can burn and lot can happen. Or is it in 2021 a little over the top?

I don’t have much in the way of experience with this sort of back-up scheme, but I wanted to say that you could use archival quality BluRays instead of DVDs and lower the total amount of discs you ultimately need to burn and store. That is if you do intend to go that route.


I do my half-year backups to BluRay.
Weekly backup to cold-stored HDDs.


Some form of “offline” backup is still a good idea I’d say as a last resort against ransomware, or some other shenanigans which might corrupt all your other backups.

If it’s a lot of stuff, and you’d need a pile of DVDs to fit it all, then maybe DVDs isn’t the best option. Just get a 10 or 12 terabyte external hard drive, and do backups to that as frequently as you need. if it dies, then it dies, and you can just get another one. A dead offline backup is a problem only if you leave it alone for six months, you never verify that your backups from it actually work, and then find that it’s dead when you really need it.

1 Like

It might be worth the effort if the data did not change, and would be kept practically forever, like masters of copy written material, or legal documentation. [like you mention, your original shots in RAW]

But cost per gig and man hours cycling drives, catalogue-ing discs and sorting, is it actually cheaper than a few HDD’s?

I’m thinking of a price difference of $400 for DVD’s and Ma hour, compared to $600 for HDD’s?

And if the data needed to change, HDD’s would win?

Tape might be closer with the data density maybe?

I looked at RDX storage because those drives seem to have some impressive spec promises, but then it hit me when I read your guys replies - that maybe nothing will go wrong, and i would have spend a lot of money and energy on nothing…

So actually, right now im just looking to see what the cheapest value for money external drive is around me, because if it dies, its easy to replace, and if its cheap enough, could always keep a few, they should have an ok storage life if i only backup to them once in a while

1 Like

The reason for dvd compared to blueray, was because i could see the pr gb price would be actually lower on dvd, and when i read about it the lifespan and reliability seem higher for dvd than bd

But i skip that this time, its simply too time consuming

1 Like

So i was looking, and actually think i found a good deal. I will order 2x seagate backup plus drives 5tb.
I have around 3½tb of images and video rn, but have a little extra is not a bad idea

The sweet thing about these drives is, they are on the cheaper side for that capacity, but they also come with 2 years of data recovery, incase the drive should fail.

And by having 2, i can swap them from time to time and have less wear on a single drive, even it out, so im atleast somewhat safe for the next 2 years - so nvm, issue is solved, in a totally different way than i first thought of

1 Like

I have been a promoter of live backups for a while - 3-4 ecosystems with physical backups of keys and journals. As long as you pay attention to make sure all is tracking automatically and actually independent and not in the same ecosystem (housing, authentication, physical location…)

There might be a time GB price increases for storage and traffic, but so far it was not the case.

EDIT: 1, 2, 3 where 3 has versions of 1 and versions of 2. 3 is probably hosted in a cloud and encrypted. If you add it up, the costs are not that huge.

I think i get what your saying, the idea is, i have a live library on a windows server, that pulls from the different clouds i use, google drive etc. and make a constant offline backup in the machines own hard drive.

Then i will use the usb drive i mentioned as a incremental backup

And then every 2 weeks or 1 time pr month, i will move it all to the unraid storage server

On top of that, i think i will setup the windows server to use one of the cheap cloud solutions, something like wasabi maybe, and make a constant backup in the cloud too

In my mind, all that sounds fairly simple and easy to maintain, and should be pretty secure - or am i wrong?

I think it is still too prone to human error.
Having a server that pulls all the data together is fine.
Then I would just run MyBackupPC/rdiff style to a NAS and that is pretty much hustle free.
And then I would want that data to be replicated on some long term storage provider.

This way you have 2 ecosystems (Work+Backup) in 2 places (Cloud+Home) so 4 places
this will give you time to notice errors and redundancy.

EDIT: Do not have a one way to manage both ecosystems - you do not want to make it easier for attacker to affect backups.

If you want to be over-the-top, checkout the M-Disk “Thousand Year” disks. I think they have similar capacity to a BluRay disc. I don’t think this is probably practical for a day2day backup or data but is interesting if their claim is true.

That is the problem, Once you exceed capacity (1 backup = 1 piece of media) it becomes really hard to manage and costs skyrocket due to human/robot interaction. So having iterative backup solution is a must since 90s and MyBackupPC :smiley:

Damn I wanted to illustrate it with the montage clip from Mr.Robot as he hacks up a project to a disc.

1 Like

Mr Robot is Bae. He runs Arch Kali BTW

Ditto, A security box at your local bank is a excellent place to store off site. Just do backups often on more than one media and swap them out and bring the one back on site if needed.
I know it’s a lot of trouble but good insurance. Have you given any thought to high capacity flash drives? It will still require a few but not as many as dvd or blue ray disc.

Plus you have the option of pick and choose what you want on each one. Makes life easier if you don’t have to dig through file after file for a specific one you need. Just a thought.

If you’re happy to get technical and learn, you could go for TrueNAS, it sounds as if it would give you the redundancy you need…and it would be easier/safer/quicker than blu ray ripping. It is designed to be fault tolerant and alert you to a near or failed hard drive. You can lose upto 3 hard drives and not lose any data - however there is a big storage space penalty.

Just noticed the post a month old, so might not be helpful!

What kinda price is a bank security locker?
For a small locker, is it between $5-50 per week? $250-25000 per year? More?

I finally have an actual backup. Backup NAS pulls data from Primary NAS via Snapshot once per week. Doesnt give me off site backup but prevent the pool failing during rebuild. If its something I truely cannot afford to lose my OneDrive from my Business 365 account (also hosts my email) can store that small amount of files.

1 Like

I am a big fan of this methodology too. There is too much room for human error if you manually perform any of your standard backup practices. (Something will eventually get in the way, and backups will come later. But then later never comes for the backups.) And with TrueNAS being as good as it is for even the free version, there’s no reason not to learn how to do it, if you can.

1 thing ive learned in the 40 years ive been playing with computers…
we lose data.
you can make all the backups in the world your still gonna lose it one way or another, either by obsolescence or hardware fail.
the most reliable way ive found.
hdd’s filled then removed and put in storage.
then once thats done, just back up the new stuff on another drive till that drive is full, remove the backup and put it with the rest.
sure the data is now unaccusable in storage… but its a back up.
so no need to access it unless you want to restore the data. and then ist just plug it in and go.

why i dont recommend a nas for long time storage… sympathetic vibrations kill nas’s
meaning if its on, the disks are spinning the cage is vibrating and passing that vibration to the other drives. and because of physics the drives will try to sync there vibrations which will cause errors with reads and writes.
so yeah if it is a backup that you dont need to constantly access. just pull the drives and put em in a cool dark place away from magnets.