External USB 3.0 SSD backup, the future?

Discussion in 'backup, imaging & disk mgmt' started by ratchet, Jun 2, 2012.

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  1. ratchet

    ratchet Registered Member

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    Wouldn't backup and restore speeds be convenient enough to not even bother with the snapshot apps and their risks? With most of the newer motherboards and numerous cases with USB 3.0 ports, I find it surprising few external SSDs are available. Prices are high for that reason too. There is a Transcend 64 GB available from several vendors for less than $100, which is the most reasonable right now. Yet that is much higher per byte than internal sale prices.
     
  2. aladdin

    aladdin Registered Member

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    You can get 120GB SSD for less than $100, and it is called Mushkin.
     
  3. TheRollbackFrog

    TheRollbackFrog Registered Member

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    I don't think USB-based SSDs are necessarily the future of backup... maybe using USB5 but not right now.

    The USB real world speeds are much lower than any rated bus speed. In the USB2 world, thruput over that connection doesn't even come close to decent HDD speeds... the storage device itself has never been the bottleneck in that type of data stream.

    All the recent thruput tests over USB3 haven't produced much either as far as limits of a decent HDD... they are faster than USB2 but not blindingly (is that a word?:D ) so... hard disk rotational latency has really never been an issue with this type of data connection. If they haven't approached internal HDD speeds yet over a USB3 connection, what can be gained using an SSD for that purpose?

    At least for this stage of external bus speed increases, the best approach would be to use the tried and true eSATA-based HDD device... which appears to be just as fast as an internal SATA-based HDD. If you're short on ports, a PCIe add-in SATA/eSATA controller (for a desktop) doesn't cost much more per port than a USB3 add-in controller. External eSATA/USB HDDs (and cases to build such) are very affordable these days.

    What I don't personally know is whether TRIM is supported using a USB-based SSD... I think not, but for eSATA-based SSDs... definitely. Without TRIM, a USB-based SSD would wear level just like a typical FLASH stick (which is not well) and probably have the same lower level WRITE throughput that FLASH devices currently demonstrate.
     
  4. treehouse786

    treehouse786 Registered Member

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    i image to an internal SSD and it takes about 2 mins to backup my C drive, no need to bother with buggy snapshot/rollback software this way = more peace of mind and security.

    i have to say i disagree with you Frog, USB 3.0 SSD's have roughly 3 times the write rate as USB 3.0 HDD's and they are even more faster when compared to portable USB 3.0 HDD's.

    yes using USB 3.0 is still slower than internal connections but not by much when your looking at write rates. using USB 3.0 SSD as destination would only increase my backup time by 1 minute.

    the problem is that most people use USB 3.0 drives over USB 2.0 ports and although it provides a tiny speed increase over USB 2.0 drives, its still no where near USB 3.0 speeds when used on a true USB 3.0 port.

    so Ratchet, i do think external SSD drives are the backup medium of the future, its just the prices that are preventing that right now. when the prices come down and the capacity goes up it will be favored over traditional HDD's, but dont expect that to happen in the next 3 years at the least.

    edit- @Frog, TRIM cant be enabled over USB but that should not be a concern as with the latest SSD firmware, the low level measures built in to new SSD's can manage just fine without TRIM and by the time SSD's compete with HDD's (in price) firmware should be advanced enough to manage without TRIM
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2012
  5. 2YsUR

    2YsUR Registered Member

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    Does using this tye of internal drive give you protection against malware such as ransomeware that might deny you access to your data?

    I thinking an external drive only connected at the times of backup/restore would offer better proctection.
     
  6. treehouse786

    treehouse786 Registered Member

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    ransomware does not block access to data, it blocks access to normal running of the operating system, i use active@ boot disk so i have to boot into a live CD/USB to restore so ransomware's or any other virus would not be able to get in the way of a restore.

    the backups are encrypted so file infectors cant touch it (permission protection). the image files are also scheduled to transfer to my nas-box on a weekly basis (or daily depending on mood). nas-box only has write permissions and not modify permissions
     
  7. 2YsUR

    2YsUR Registered Member

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    Thanks for the more complete picture of your setup. Sounds good to me:thumb:
     
  8. Keatah

    Keatah Registered Member

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    SSD's are not quite ready for prime-time, give them another two or three years. Prices on SSD's are high because you pay a premium on speed, and there is still research being done on these devices.

    It will be a good number of years before Solids reach the cost effectiveness of Spinners. Marketing and general corporate greed is very fast to charge a premium on speed - which SSD's deliver by the box full.

    Eventually we'll see a time when mechanical drives are no longer part of the computing environment except for archival purposes. The driving force will be the wearing out of the factory equipment and increasing popularity of mobile computing. It may take a complete revolution and elimination of flash-based memory chips, but it will happen. Size and shipping cost will also speed this along. For the weight of 1 Spinner, you can ship 3 or 4 Solids. Thin UltraBooks and Macbook Airs are helping to make this happen. There's just so much infrastructure momentum to overcome. But if one thing is certain, the electronics industry can completely obsolete an existing standard and methodology faster than anything!

    I do not believe TRIM can be issued through a USB connection. It's a matter of how the USB chipset and drivers present themselves to the O/S. The USB chipset and drivers work together to present a black-box storage device to the O/S, the technology in that storage device is for the most part irrelevant. It's similar to the fact you can't do some low-level functions on a drive in an enclosure with a USB bridgeboard. This is also why you can use big disks on old systems irregardless of the BIOS.

    For SSD's to become the backup/archival medium of the future, mfg's are going to need to build more reliable chips, perhaps on a different technology altogether. I wouldn't trust my long-term data to a device that has write elements with a life expectancy of 2800 write cycles and 30 electrons to represent TWO (four states) of data. Not unless I could refresh that information every few months.

    Be aware that fully 25% or more of each NAND flash chip is defective and needs to be mapped out. Much like a hard disk. To ask for a 100% functioning chip would be asking to charge hundreds of dollars per chip itself! Not practical, not doable. Furthermore, the controller chip works its magic in prolonging NAND life by using a bare minimum of 56-bit error checking, in most newer drives this has risen to 128-bits and as high as 256 is one drive. Not out of ensuring extraordinary reliability, but out of necessity of making the drive function at all! Additionally the controller moves around blocks and wear levels them. It keeps track of overused blocks and lessens the write operations. This requires additional memory too. It's typical for a 128GB SSD to have 160GB onboard for spare replacement and internal housekeeping. This is getting beyond the scope of this thread - there's resources out there if you want to read up on it.

    One more quick thing - There is an SSD that has 3 processors inside it, and is completely aware of NTFS $Metafiles, it reads these files and manages itself accordingly and TRIM doesn't even need to enter the picture. If it does then that's just icing on the cake and can be a good fallback when the drive is not used in NTFS environments. All the free space management is done by the drive itself, as it should be. That's why I say another 2-3 years and this will be available everywhere. TRIM is just a bastardized patch designed to help maintain the speed of SSD's by erasing and preparing larger contiguous blocks for incoming data at the urging of the OS. To write or change a bit of data may mean the drive has to read-relocate-verify-write a lot of other data that happens to be sharing the same block as the file you are changing. That data could belong to a good number of other files which will also need to be "re-done" incidentally. This is something the drive should be doing itself from the get go. That's why early SSD's slowed down to less-than-Spinner-speeds once they got full. The only way to recover that speed was to wipe the drive and give it contiguous free space. Then the TRIM patch came along; working in the background to prepare discarded (but not yet erased) blocks for re-use at high speed. The TRIM command is a cattle prod for kicking your SSD in the ASS!

    As you can see, like most things with computers, SSD's are rapidly evolving and still have a lot of changes to make. And as long as we're worrying about things like this crap it means SSD's aren't a fully developed product yet. We're still building the internal structure. Whereas with Spinners we've long stopped doing that and are elegantly focusing on increasing density alone.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TRIM
    http://www.devwhy.com/blog/2009/8/4/from-write-down-to-the-flash-chips.html
    http://www.maximumpc.com/article/features/white_paper_trim_command
     
  9. cybertooth

    cybertooth Registered Member

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    I bought my first SSD 3 years ago...I just get SICK working on a computer without it. Sooo slow!
     
  10. treehouse786

    treehouse786 Registered Member

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    Yes i know the feeling :D. We are considering switching to SSD's for our work PC's but not until the next generation of firmware is on the market.
     
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