10. Choose Your Backup Hardware
I remember vividly the days of backing up my hard disk onto a tall stack of floppies. Back when a 40 MB drive was standard, I would have been thrilled to think I could put 16 or more copies of my disk on a single CD-R. A few years later, conventional wisdom held that DAT (digital audio tape) drives were the way to go for many power users. Now, however, with hard disk sizes routinely reaching 400 GB, we have to reconsider old notions about backup hardware and media. You probably have a lot of data to copy, and the amount will only increase. But you don't want to spend a fortune on your backup system, and you don't want backups to take all day. What to do?
Although floppy disks are effectively dead, optical drives (to burn CDs and DVDs), tape drives, Zip and Jaz drives, and the like are still common, and since you may have these already, you will certainly want to consider the pros and cons of using them for backups. Hard drives are much less expensive than they once were, and for many people make the ideal backup device. There's also the possibility of backing up to a network server of one kind or anotherand even your camcorder. In this section, I sort through all the major hardware options and help you to decide which is best for your backups.