Книга: Fedora™ Unleashed, 2008 edition

Removable Storage Media

Removable Storage Media

Choosing the right media for you isn't as easy as it used to be back when floppy drives were the only choice. Today, most machines have CD-ROM drives that can read, but not write, CDs, which rules them out for backup purposes. Instead, USB hard drives and solid-state "pen" drives have taken over the niche previously held by floppy drives: you can get a 256MB drive for under $10, and you can even get capacities up to 16GB for good prices if you shop around. If your machine supports them (or if you have purchased a card reader), you can also use Compact Flash devices, which come in sizes up to 8GB in the Flash memory versions and 4GB for Hitachi Microdrives. Both USB hard drives and solid-state drives are highly portable. Support for these drives under Fedora is very good, accommodating these drives by emulating them as SCSI drives — the system usually sees them as /dev/scd1. Watch for improved support and ever-falling prices in the future. A 500GB USB hard drive costs about $150. The biggest benefits of USB drives are data transfer speed and portability.

FireWire Drives

FireWire (IEEE-1394) hard drives are similar to USB drives; they just use a different inter face to your computer. Many digital cameras and portable MP3 players use FireWire. Kernel support is available if you have this hardware. The cost of FireWire devices is now essentially zero, because many external drives come with both USB and FireWire as standard.

CD-RW and DVD+RW/-RW Drives

Compared to floppy drives and some removable drives, CD-RW drives and their cousins, DVD+RW/-RW drives, can store large amounts of data and are useful for a home or small business. Although very expensive in the past, CD writers and media are at commodity prices today, but automated CD changing machines, necessary for automatically backing up large amounts of data, are still quite costly. A benefit of CD and DVD storage over tape devices is that the archived uncompressed file system can be mounted and its files accessed randomly just like a hard drive (you do this when you create a data CD; refer to Chapter 7, "Multimedia"), making the recovery of individual files easier.

Each CD-RW disk can hold 650MB-700MB of data (the media comes in both capacities at roughly the same cost); larger chunks of data can be split to fit on multiple disks. Some backup programs support this method of storage. After it is burned and verified, the shelf life for the media is at least a decade or longer. Prices increase with writing speed, but a serviceable CD-RW drive can be purchased for less than $20.

DVD+RW/-RW is similar to CD-RW, but it is more expensive and can store up to 8GB of uncompressed data per disk. These drives sell for less than $50.

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