Last week I looked at 7 Best Online Data Backup Options and so, it only seems logical that I give the offline alternatives to “balance out the equation” so to speak.
Why use offline data backup options?
While some people may find the online solutions better and more preferable, you need to bear in mind that not everyone has the necessary requirements such as high network bandwidth to allow them to make use of these options. There are also those (Myself included) who may not like having our sensitive data on a cloud-based platform run by some firm no matter how reputable they are.
With that said, let’s dig in.
- Compact Disks (CDs)
This a flat circular disk which encodes binary data in the form of pits and lands. Computers operate on binary values i.e. 0s and 1s. The pits represent 0s (due to lack of reflection when read) and the lands represent 1s (Due to presence of reflection when read). This reflection or lack thereof is due to the disk having one side (sometimes both) coated with a special material on which the data is “burned” using a laser or stamping machine.
Easily accessible. They are easy to acquire and quite affordable.
Portable. Easy to move from one place to another.
Data Loss. One scratch on the special material on which the data is stored is enough to corrupt all your data. They require a touch of delicacy when handling them and can be quite a bother if for example you happen to touch the data storage area and have to stop and clean it or risk not having your data read.
- Digital Versatile Disc (DVD)
This is a storage device that shares much in common with the compact disc save for the fact that it has a larger storage capacity. While CDs max out at around 700MB a DVD can have a capacity of as much as 15GB.
Larger storage capacity allowing for storage of more data.
Portability. Easily moved from one place to another.
Data Loss. As with CDs, one scratch on the special material on which the data is stored is enough to corrupt all your data.
- Blu-Ray Disc (BD)
This is a storage device that utilizes optical disc data storage technology and was designed to be the successor of the DVD.
Large Storage Capacity. It offers the user 25GB of storage space (50 GB on a dual layer disc). The disc gets its name from the blue laser (specifically, a violet laser) used to read data stored on it. It allows data to be stored on it at a greater density than is possible with the longer-wavelength red laser used for DVDs.
Availability. The disc is not easily available and when it is, the price can deter most buyers.
Data Loss. One scratch on the special material on which the data is stored is enough to corrupt all your data (I think you can see the pattern here).
- External Hard Drives
This is a data storage device used for storing data using one or more rigid rapidly rotating disks (platters) coated with a magnetic material. The platters are each paired with magnetic heads which are arranged on an actuator arm. These heads read and write data to the platter surfaces.
Large Storage Capacity. The disks offer large storage capacity and it is possible to get one with capacity as high as 2TB at your local electronics store.
Portable. Easily moved from one place to another.
Prone to electromagnetic interference. The same technology used to make it is its Achilles heel.
Durability. Ever dropped your hard drive? I have. Lost 500GB of data in one fell swoop. Since they have moving parts, dropping them could result in one of those parts going out of place and damaging the disc e.g. By scratching the platters.
- Flash Drives
This is a storage device that includes flash storage with a USB (Universal Serial Bus) interface. Having been introduced in the early 2000s, this device has become quite common with some organizations even giving them away for free at events e.g. conferences.
Portability. Small size allows for easy movement from one place to another and can be concealed with ease.
Impervious to electromagnetic interference.
Durability. They can drop and still be able to function as they have no moving parts that can be damaged.
Finite write/erase cycles. One can only write and erase on them a certain number of times. For some it’s as high as 100,000 cycles but no matter how great the value, the fact remains that it is not infinite.
Loss. Can be easily lost, misplaced or forgotten due to their small size (Talking from personal experience).
- Memory Cards
This is an electronic flash storage device used for storing digital information and is commonly used in portable devices such as smartphones (and some “dumb phones”), digital cameras, laptops and video game consoles. They have become quite common in recent years especially with the adoption of smartphones and can now be found with ease at your local electronic stores.
Large storage capacity in a small physical area. Advancements in technology have allowed their storage capacity to be greatly increased to as much 256GB. All that data in a device that can fit on your thumb.
Portability. Small size means it can be easily moved from one location to another with ease and can even be easily concealed when necessary.
Durability. They can drop and still be able to function as they too have no moving parts that can be damaged.
Loss. Due to the small size, it is quite easy to lose the device and with it, your data.
Finite write/erase cycles. One can only write and erase on them a certain number of times.
- Memory Crystal
In the 1978 Superman movie starring Christopher Reeve, we were introduced to a rather curious piece of technology. Crystals that had the ability to store data. Both audio, video and possibly more. You’re probably thinking “That’s just a movie”. But bear in mind that some of the technological wonders that seem so common to us now started off as science fiction. Take the cell phone for instance. The idea was inspired by the StarTrek movie franchise and today is a reality.
The memory crystals are technology that is being explored by researchers at the University of Southampton’s Optoelectronics Research Center. They claim that the disc would be able to provide the user with 360TB of storage capacity and the data stored would be stable at temperatures of up to 1,000 degrees Celsius. So if your house burns down, at least there’s a chance of your data surviving. They also claim the crystals could store data for 13.8 billion (Yes, billion with a b) years.
Large storage capacity. The disk would provide the user with up to 360TB of storage space equivalent to 360,000GB.
Stable. The data would remain intact even at high temperatures. Unless you plan on throwing it in a furnace, there is no reason for the device to ever reach 1,000 degrees Celsius.
Data Longevity. The crystals could store data for periods far exceeding the user’s lifespan and future generations could actually make use of it.
It does not exist, yet.
When it does come into existence, you can expect the price to be astronomical. Hopefully, my pockets will be lined with paper at the time so I can be first in line to get my hands on it.
The options above each share the advantage of portability to a varying degree. Some are very durable while others are not. What I advise is to combine the usage of both online and offline options so as to make your backups more reliable in any emergency.
As always I would like to hear from you. Leave a comment down below on your thoughts and suggestions.
Till next time. さようなら.