TECH: Data storage–what to do for home office use?

The NY Times tells us that we shouldn’t keep all our data in one stash.

They’re right. I have everything important at least in two places, but it’s still a struggle to manage.

You can buy online back up, but at the moment it’s just not worth it. Apple charges $100 a year for a gig?  That’s a hell of a markup. You can buy a gig of storage for less than a dollar if you buy more than 100Gs in an external hard drive–-which is what you’ll need if you have movies or much music or lots of photos. Moving it over the net is too slow for those big quantities for now (although it’s getting faster). Moving a gig up or down takes several hours (as those of us who share soccer torrents know)  So that’s the issue for storage.

But what about disaster recovery? I came up with a low tech solution but one with other uses. For less than $200 I bought a fireproof, drop-proof safe that is big enough for all my meager valuables and two external hard-drives. My hard drive lives in the safe if I’m not using it.  Yes of course there’s a chance that either I won’t put it in the safe or that the effect of an earthquake would destroy the disk drive, but it’s not a bad option as it’s something I use anyway for my other valuables, such as passports.

But as the price points change, what I’ll probably end up doing is going with one of the services that the NY Times is talking about. Already one company (Fabrik) is down to 50 cents a month for a gig of storage. That’s still way more than my solution—I’m storing around 100 Gigs (5 of which I really need). So I might be persuaded to put 5–10 of it online for $100 a year. Xdrive will soon introduce something similar (5 gigs for $120 a year) But the ideal solution is a someone selling me 100 Gigs of back up for a little more than than I pay for my external hard drive—say $100.

We’ll get there as storage costs fall. And in about 5 years it’ll be another monthly bill we don’t even think about. But for now the price needs to fall a lot before it’s a mass consumer or even small business market.

And then consumers will start putting lots more online…think banking records and medical records. Perhaps a few tech companies are starting to think about that, eh?

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