how would you backup 1TB of data to dvds?

Les Mikesell lesmikesell at
Sat Feb 9 20:35:46 UTC 2008

Robert L Cochran wrote:

>>> I asked for a backup to DVDs, I need a cheap solution for chunks of
>>> 50GB every month.
>> Even then reliability of media and writers is likely not going to make you 
>> happy. Dual layer is tempting but the reliability of those is even worse than 
>> regular media. 
>> You haven't said anything about the type of data you have. How well does it 
>> compress with bzip or 7zip? 
>> LTO1 media are pretty reliable if you can keep the temperature at the right 
>> levels. They can be had pretty cheaply on ebay these days - 100GB a piece. 
>> Peter.
> I'm confused -- what is the advantage of using tape media (that is what
> LTO-1 is, right?) over a hard disk? How does the cost compare to just
> buying an external USB hard drive?

Tape media is still cheaper than hard disk and probably more reliable 
after sitting unused for long intervals.  However you have to need a 
large amount of media to offset the cost of the drive (and realize that 
you'll need another one elsewhere if this is for disaster recovery.

DVD's might be suitable for 50 GB that doesn't change often or if you 
want to hand-pick the data and store in an uncompressed form that can be 
accessed immediately.   Or if you are willing to trade a lot of time to 
save a little money, you could script a tar backup that gets compressed 
and split into dvd sized chunks, but you'd have to restore the whole 
mess to access anything.

If this is a standalone computer, external drives are probably going to 
be the best choice.  If it is networked you would also have the option 
to schedule rsync runs to maintain copies elsewhere, or you might be 
able to set up something like backuppc 
to do it automatically and use a compression an linking scheme that uses 
much less disk space than you would expect to keep a history of 
snapshots on line.

    Les Mikesell
     lesmikesell at

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