Monday, August 11, 2014

Lenovo makes and excellent data backup option.

In the past I have used a Iomega Datastore to backup my data. I had purchased a used unit for under a $100 because the previous owner was unable to use it with Windows Vista.

The Iomega unit was buggy and hot and I had to default the unit many times. Eventually, the  redundant array of independent disks (Raid) array had to be reformatted, which destroyed all of the existing data.

Last week, I was unable to even connect  to Iomega Datastor on my network. It was time to buy a new unit. These units are called Network Attached Storage (NAS) because they have an Ethernet port and can be connected to a home router or cable modem.

There are many backup options in the market, some are the size or a smart phone. Many work off of a USB connection to a laptop or PC.
Lenovo IX2

Lenovo bought out Iomega and he new unit I received is called the Lenovo IX2
It has two hard drives and supports both Raid 0 and Raid 1.

 It is a big improvement form the old Iomega unit. It runs a lot cooler and the serial ATA drives are far easier to swap out. The embedded software is far more robust, too.
RAID 0 comprises striping (but neither parity nor mirroring). This level provides no data redundancy nor fault tolerance, but improves performance through parallelism of read and write operations across multiple drives. RAID 0 has no error detection mechanism, so the failure of one disk causes the loss of all data on the array.
RAID 1 comprises mirroring (without parity or striping). Data is written identically to two (or more) drives, thereby producing a "mirrored set". The read request is serviced by any of the drives containing the requested data. This can improve performance if data is read from the disk with the least seek latency and rotational latency. Conversely, write performance can be degraded because all drives must be updated; . . . the write performance is determined by the slowest drive. The array continues to operate as long as at least one drive is functioning. (Wikipedia).
The IX2 has two hard drives.

Raid 0 is great for serving media. If you want to push out You Tube or Amazon Prime videos to your TV, a RAID 0 setup is speedy. The downside is that if one drive fails, you lose all of your data. 

RAID 1 is far better for backing up data because if a drive fails, your data will be intact. When you replace the failed drive, data from the working drive will be copied to the new redundant drive. RAID 1 is slower than RAID 0, but it is a better option for data backup. It's slower because your data has to be copied to each hard drive in the RAID array.

However, the so-called personal backup devices rarely have more than one hard drive while the Lenovo IX2 has two 1.0TB SATA Hard Drives, which are easy to swap out. Raid 1 is a far safer option for your data than a personal backup unit with one drive.

With  NAS, anyone on your home network can access the unit if you give them permissions.

You can establish both users and groups through the embedded sever on the Lenovo IX2. .

If you purchase one of these units or any sort of backup device,  recommend you use it with an uninterpretable power supply (UPS). No backup device will last long with power surges, brownouts or drops.

If you shop around , you may be able to purchase a Lenovo IX2 for under $200. The units have many options including firmware upgrades and enhanced security. 

I was able to setup an administrative user and group quickly. I had no difficulty seeing the shared directories on my Linux desktop using Samba . However, initially I was unable to access any of the IX2 directories. Eventually it became clear that access permissions were needed to get to the default shared directories  Once I setup access permissions, I was able to backup my laptop to the Lenovo NAS using Linux Mint's Simple Backup Suite.

Don't forget to check Access Permissions for the data directorates

Had I used Windows, I would have been able to download the Acronis Backup Manager which is excellent backup software.

So far the only hiccup with the system is that I have to point my browser to IP address of the device with a manage directory such as:

You can also configure the unit to use https or SSL which is more secure.

The Lenovo IX2 has many features. The screen shot below shows about half of them.

If your files are important, you may need NAS with a RAID array,  

Can recall a story from a a local PC repair man. The business next to his store sold swimming pool supplies and equipment. The owners computer and point of sale devices were exposed to fumes from 10 per cent pool bleach (sodium hypochlorite) and muriatic acid every day. The PC man had tried to sell the pool store owner a backup system, but he had no success.

Then one day the pool store owner needed some data recovery help. His computers had all gone down and he PC repair guy indicated that all of his hard drives had been destroyed, Nothing could be recovered

It got worse. The state tax collector was scheduled to audit the swimming pool supply company the following week.

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