Flash Drive Stability

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Ken
I normally back my files up to the cloud, another HD and/or an SSD depending on the nature of the files. I would never rely on having an important file in just one place, but I was wondering for a small number of files that do not take up a lot of space, would a flash drive be considered as stable as a HD or an SSD for a backup? I have used them over the years, but only for convenience. They certainly do take up less space than an HD, and speed is not usually an issue for backing up the file changes, but I was not aware of any significant downfalls to that type of technology and thought I would see if anybody had any thoughts.

--Ken
 
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Don Roy
You're going to get a lot of 'only use industrial strength MIL Spec media' recommendations. To me, look at it simply. You only have the data in one place now, so having it in two places on any other device is definitely better. I'm less concerned about my alternate media type and more about the alternate media location. Off site being better than a desk drawer.
 
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My concern is write speed.
Unless you spend $$ for fast flash drives, the write speed to the flash drive/stick could be SLOW.
I think they are better now, but in the past, when I had to move a LOT of data, I would use a portable hard drive, rather than a flash drive/stick, because the write speed was soooo much slower.

Like the portable hard drive trick, the fact that they used a USB 2 then USB 3 interface, had no relation to the write speed of the drive itself. You simply bottlenecked at the flash memory rather than the USB interface.
 
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You're going to get a lot of 'only use industrial strength MIL Spec media' recommendations. To me, look at it simply. You only have the data in one place now, so having it in two places on any other device is definitely better. I'm less concerned about my alternate media type and more about the alternate media location. Off site being better than a desk drawer.
I concur about overthinking this. It is actually not in one place at present, but there are some files that I would like to backup more frequently and having an extra (and very portable) backup of them is appealing. But then again, Samsung's T5 drives are quite small. They are just a bit more expensive.

--Ken
 
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My concern is write speed.
Unless you spend $$ for fast flash drives, the write speed to the flash drive/stick could be SLOW.
I think they are better now, but in the past, when I had to move a LOT of data, I would use a portable hard drive, rather than a flash drive/stick, because the write speed was soooo much slower.

Like the portable hard drive trick, the fact that they used a USB 2 then USB 3 interface, had no relation to the write speed of the drive itself. You simply bottlenecked at the flash memory rather than the USB interface.
Very true. I have not had much luck with getting any speedy transfers out of flash drives, but I am only talking about a few key files that need additional backing up and possibley being easily accessible to somebody else in an emergency.

--Ken
 
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Walter Rowe
Here is my concern with Flash media. They are small. You cannot label them because they are so small. They are easy to lose because they are so small. How much space do you think you will need on this drive? You can get small capacity external SSD drives for a very affordable price. Like a Flash Drive, these are USB powered, but they are wicked fast compared to Flash and HDD.
I splurged and bought this Oyen Digital 4TB MiniPro Dura Rugged External SSD (link) for $629 and use it as my master image disk. I use HDDs to back this up.

You can see a vast assortment of SSD drives at B&H for comparison.

My point is that prices for small capacity SSD prices are reasonable, that SSD provides better performance, that an SSD's larger form factor makes it less likely to get lost, and that an SSD's larger form factor makes it easier to put a label on it to remind ourselves what is on it.
 

Growltiger

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I completely agree with Walter (above).

The only thing I would add is that I do have a slight distrust of flash drives, I have known them to fail but usually they are good. So you would need several copies to be safe.
 

Growltiger

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If unlucky you can get the same sort of problem that can happen with SD cards. You plug it in and the computer says it needs to format the drive. The only option then is to use data recovery software.

Regardless of your choice of medium, have more than one independent backup copy.
 
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If unlucky you can get the same sort of problem that can happen with SD cards. You plug it in and the computer says it needs to format the drive. The only option then is to use data recovery software.

Regardless of your choice of medium, have more than one independent backup copy.
For sure. My flash drives were for moving files between my office machine and the various labs and classrooms I taught in. Bypassing the clunky file sharing system on campus made for much safer and faster computing :)
 
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Ok, I'll byte, what do you use to store data for a long period of time? [...and why do you think flash drives forget?]
I have a NAS in Raid 1 that I also backup online. Anything I deem vital for safe keeping gets stored on a few external drives. One accessible, one in a firebox, and one offsite. I zipped a few files, encrypted them, and stored them on my web server as another safe haven.
 
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The Samsung T5's are on sale again, so I may just spurge and pick up a few to add to my HD/SSD collection since I really enjoy the one that I currently have. With the exception of being slow, I think that many of the pros/cons of flash drives are how you view them. For example, they are tiny, but that is not always a bad thing. And I have heard a few first hand stories of them surviving a trip through the washing machine, so they cannot be that fragile. These were not to be used as primary backup, but more as secondary or for sharing in the event of an emergency. I may still pick up a couple for very specific use, but barring the price of the T5's, they are hard to beat.

Thanks,

--Ken
 

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