While building a new server for a client the issue of backups was discussed. What is the easiest way to have a out-of-building backup nowadays?

In the current backups are done daily to another server which is physically in the same building. While doing improvements on the hardware we might as well invest some time in improving reliability in case of disaster.

And a remote backup is always nice to have isn’t it. There are, as always, various ways. One option is making a backup on an external harddisk and take it somewhere else. Use more than one harddisk and you even have a poor mans versioning 🙂

Hooking up an external harddisk can be as easy as plugging in a USB disk, but what to expect? Back in the days of USB2 doing massive data transfers over a bus which originally was designed to do IO with things like keyboards and mice was a pain.

Apple knew and always used Firewire as an alternative. But nowadays they have Thunderbolt and how does that compare to USB3?

This article How fast is USB 3 really? gives a nice overview.

When using an SSD the Thunderbolt is a clear winner, there is only one problem, it does not exist unless you use Apple hardware. And doing web/database servers on Apple hardware is silly. It was when there were XServe’s and those were killed off ages ago.

So while there is a very nice technical solution to do speedy backups to external devices most PC based servers can’t use it because the hardware is missing.

The comforting thing to pick up from the stats in the article is that when you are writing to a normal harddisk via USB it doesn’t matter. Thunderbird and USB3 are similar in performance because the disk is lagging behind.

Back in the day we were always waiting for the tapes, now we are waiting for the harddisks..