Backing up in real-time

I just purchased some new software: NTI’s Shadow 2. It’s pretty neat — makes an instant copy (to any mounted drive or directory) of any file that changes on your windows box. It even keeps past revisions of files, so you can roll back changes. I found it invasive when using Eudora, so I set it to back up that directory only once an hour, which seems to work very well for me.

It’d be just “neat” and not worth purchasing, except that it’s $0.99 through the end of the year. That’s hard to beat…I don’t know why they chose that price point, but in my opinion it’s very smart. Their cost of creation of the software is sunk, and the $0.99 price is for a download of the software. Figure $0.29 for the credit card charges, maybe $0.01 for the bandwidth, and their incremental profit on every product sold is $0.69. Doesn’t sound like much, except that it gets people to their website, where they can buy many other products. It’s not a loss leader — they’re still making money and getting customers they most likely wouldn’t have gotten another way — and it’s going to give them a killer mailing list.

Personally I’m doing the backing up to both a central TCG fileserver (on our VPN) and to a little box I have sitting under my desk: Netgear’s Storage Central ($99.99 from Buy.com). It’s a very cool product — basically a file server with no storage. You buy your own IDE drives (I had a couple lying around the office, and bought a 250 gig one from TigerDirect for $69.99 after rebate), plug them in, close the box, and poof! Instant personal SAN. I also got one of these things for my home network, so we can serve my 7000 legal MP3s (honestly — recorded every one myself, from my own purchased CDs) and the occasional wedding video or StrangerHood episode, and we can backup all the laptops and desktops sitting hither and thither in the house. Fun!

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