Backups, redux

Following on my trials and tribulations of getting backup routine going for my NAS, I’m pleased to announce I’m more-or-less there!

Kingwin EZ-Dock EZD-2535

Based on the price-comparisons I did I decided on a Kingwin EZ-Dock EZD-2535 and a couple Western Digital Blue Caviar 320GB SATA2 drives. As soon as these arrived in the mail I set the un-opened box aside, played with my kids, made dinner, went for a walk, bathed the kids, put them to bed, had desert with my wife and watched a of TV. Then the next day instead of TV I opened the box and headed down to the office to play with my new toys!!!

There’s two things that you must absolutely know:

  1. When backing up over USB you should enable Fast USB Writes (or whatever your system calls it). This allows asynchronous access to the USB drive and makes an incredibly huge improvement in speed – just don’t forget to un-mount your drive before disconnecting to make sure all the buffers are cleared and your data has completed writing. And;
  2. SATA connectors have a pull rating of about 50 cycles!

Taken from the Western Digital Interface Guide:

This is an important feature since eSATA cables and connectors are designed for 5000 insertion and removal cycles while internal SATA cables and connectors are designed for only 50 insertion and removal cycles.

So on a monthly rotation schedule my drives should last about 50 / 12 = 4 years before the SATA connector gives out.

I’m also going to look into getting a case or protective cover for the drives since the front is nicely protected but the backside exposes the circuit board and a ribbon connector.

Cross-posted on Cameron-Schultz at Backups, redux.


  1. I suggest one of those pretty paper / cardboard boxes the missus might keep around for stationary, cards or stuff like that. This would also have the added bonus of camouflaging your drives as well as protecting them from dust.

  2. Sorry but i think this is way too much trouble.. let me start with this : WD Blue drives are nice, but only come with 3 years of warranty while the Black edition drives come with 5. You may think this is not necessary, BUT i can tell you from experience that i have already repalced 4 drives from Seagate and Maxtor in their 3rd year and even their 5th year of warranty and the nice surprise was getting a 200GB drive back to replace my broken 40GB since it was no longer being manufactured.

    Also, this backing up the backup is a little too complicated for my taste. Why not setup a nice FreeNAS box with RAID5 or even RAID-Z + Spare so that if a drive (or 2) actually does die, your data will still be there ?


  3. Admittedly my price comparison was not comprehensive – the deciding factor was largely $/GB and total cost of the solution (i.e.: a 500GB drive would have had lower $/GB but a higher price). Warranty period did not figure into the spreadsheet at all.

    A NAS-to-NAS backup is another solution I didn’t explore but it suffers two important limitations:
    1) in a home setting it does NOT provide the security of off-site storage in the event you have a disaster at home; and
    2) it would ultimately be more expensive and complicated than the solution I’ve presented here.

    The only things “better” than backup to USB is backing up over eSATA (but my NAS doesn’t have any eSATA ports – with justification). Every other solution would be more expensive and/or more complicated.

    I’d love to haul out some mothballed hardware and build my own freeNAS or OpenFiler or … based server. But frankly, pre-built and dedicated hardware is going to be up-and-running faster and better before I even have a chance to find that damn metal screw for HDD that I dropped and the cat is playing with under the sofa!