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I dont have any mechanism to protect my data (images, video, etc) from disk corruption. I just wonder how youtube protect their videos.

What is the best practice to protect data from disk corruption?

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make multiple copies in different locations? –  johnh Aug 10 '10 at 14:03

5 Answers 5

Ideally, you'll want to have a copy of your data somewhere else, such as a seperate hard disk drive (RAID or external device) or another machine (NAS, another PC or up in the cloud).

RAID cards (SATA or IDE) can be bought quite cheaply and can be used to mirror a disk so that if one drive dies, the other still has the data.

Another PC can be set-up as a backup storage device (or NAS) on your network at home.

Online services such as Microsoft's Skydrive offer free online storage for anything that you want - the data is not publically available, but you can access it anytime or anywhere. (I think that they're currently giving away 25 GB free)

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25g for free, Wow time to sign up... –  This_Is_Fun Feb 5 '11 at 1:59

You can't stop data from corrupting, as such (insofar as you never know when a hard drive will fail), but you can minimise the effects of corruption. There are lots of ways of protecting your data; which you choose will probably depend on the importance of the data, your level of knowledge, and the amount of time you're willing to put into it. Lots of servers use a technology called RAID, with which disks can be mirrored (lookup RAID 1). In its simplest form, there will be two hard disks working at once, both containing the same data (written to both automatically once RAID is set up). Then, if one disk fails, there's another disk which can be used immediately. A similar thing can also be achieved using tools like LVM, although this works more on a software level. Most importantly, backup frequently! If you're using a server, your host might provide you with simple imaging tools (enabling a snapshot to be taken of your data, which can be easily restored later), or you can set up backups to another location. If you're just worried about protecting your data at home, then this might be overkill (although they are all valid techniques). At the very least, backup your data onto another drive (an external USB drive is often useful), keep it up-to-date, and make sure you know how to restore from it! (Practise!) Then, if disaster strikes, you should lose very little at most. If you use a backup tool which supports incremental backups (lots do), after the first backup (which might take ages, depending on how much data you have) backups will be a lot quicker, as only the changes are copied to disk, instead of the whole lot. These can then be rebuilt by the program to restore your data.

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  1. Use a RAID array with redundancy
  2. Use ECC RAM
  3. Back up the files to a different server running different hardware

If you cannot do #3, do #1 and #2 but know that a bad disk controller can still corrupt your data.

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I just wonder how youtube protect their videos

...

What is the best practice to protect data from disk corruption?

Employ a team of capable system administrators - but I suspect that's not the answer you were looking for.

Regular backups is probably a more sensible approach for your home PC.

You could add a host based IDS like tripwire which will detect changes to files even if there is no detectable fault on the disk.

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  1. Backup
  2. RAID
  3. Cross Datacenter backup or may be use s3 (They keep 3 copies of each file).
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