Computer hardware failure

After reading Jeremy Zawodny's blog entry on hardware failure, it makes me felt a bit anxious about my own data. On the backup side of things, I have to confess that I have not done a good job. I am not a paranoid kind of person, and usually I just apply ad-hoc kind of solution when the problem arises. However I am afraid that it might not be good enough, if one day something does strike a plaque to my data.

On my main file server at home it has two disk drives - a 5 years old 9GB Quantum Fireball and a 13 months old 60GB Seagate Barracuda, and I am currently doing incremental backups on week nights and full backup on Sunday of important data (home directories, wwwroot, /etc, database, etc) to a tarball on the same drive, which might not be a smart move if the drive decides to quit without giving any prior warning. I do burn them onto CD's whenever I remember, but that usually means once every one or two months.

I'll probably power down the box in the next week or two to upgrade the whole system to Gentoo. It has been more than a year since the last power cycle and I started to worry about that 5 year old Quantum Fireball - I have heard lots of stories of old drives failed to start again after a cold reboot. Have to put that onto my mental note - back up everything before dong the shutdown...

Surprisingly I have not experienced many disk drive failure in my nearly 20 years of computing life, and over the past 5 years or so, I really only had one stuffed disk in my notebook. However I don't have that much luck with motherboards - I remembered once back in 1998 I fried 4-5 various branded Intel 430TX based boards in a single month! I think that friend of JQ, who sold me those boards, was a bit annoyed about my ability. As of today, I still have a 440BX and a VIA (can't remember the chipset) boards sitting in the garage with perfectly working CPUs but just refuse to POST.

I am hoping my old Lintel server can still survive another year without frying anything.