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DataRisk - Risk Management Tool


mediadogg
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I have just released a tool to help anyone with large amounts of data folders to manage. A Basic (free) version is available here, and a Pro (fee) version is available here.

 

A brief User Guide is available, and more detailed usage information is provided in the buil-in product Help.

 

Purpose:

 

The purpose of this program is to provide, in one place, a set of tools for helping to keep track of the risks associated with data backup strategies.

 

An ad-hoc risk assessment is determined, based primarily on the number and location of copies of your data. Tools are provided for capturing and saving the server location of your data folders and automating the running of scripts that make backup copies of the data, using the Windows Task Scheduler on your local system or on a remote server.. You can also load, save and print copies of the risk assessment and related information.

 

Other tools are provided for burning copies of data on optical media, and for keeping track (audit) of when copies have been made and where they are located. Extensive Help is built-in, including a detailed “Hit and Tips” section where the author’s shares aspects of his many years of experience in handling and protecting data in the home environment..

 

 

Screen shot of Sources View  Tab

 

image002.jpg

 

DataRisk makes it easy to collect and maintain a list of all your data sources and shared folders in a spreadsheet format. Once collected, it is possible to use the spreadsheet to keep track of backup operations and to selected various folders to be used in automated script operations. It is possible to use you own custom scripts, or to use pre-defined templates for Microsoft RoboCopy, Microsoft RichTools and the third-party program Beyond Compare ™, the author’s favorite data copy program. (Disclaimer: the author has no interest or investment in Beyond Compare – just deep respect and admiration for its capabilities and quality).

 

DataRisk computes a subjective assessment of the risk of losing a data folder based on the number of online, offline, optical and off-site copies:

  • High Risk (red color): only one online copy of the data.
  • Moderate Risk (yellow): more than one copy online, but no off-site or optical copy.
  • Low Risk, Lower Risk (light green): off-line and /or  optical copies, but no off-site copy.
  • Lowest Risk (dark green): More than one online, at least one offline / optical and at least one off-site copy.
Edited by mediadogg
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Interesting idea, although I am a little concerned by the reliance on optical media as a backup option. I no longer consider optical media (well, DVD+/-R/RW or Blu-ray) to be good backup targets - I don't find them reliable enough, and they're too slow and have too little capacity to be truly viable, IMHO.

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I wonder what I said that implies a reliance on optical media, because I need to change that statement. I apologize for the confusion.

 

Using optical media for archival storage is an option that is supported, and is an important one to consider in the context of reducing the risk of lost data.

 

To be more clear, DataRisk supports:

 

- Create, print, save and load a spreadsheet-like inventory of folders used across all servers

- Automatic accounting of which folders used where, and an ad-hoc "risk assessment" is displayed in text and color to help you decide what more needs to be done

- Folder Audit View that automatically creates all possible From / To pairs for folder backup and syncing - you can also run scripts from this view

- Directly running copy operations between server folders using RoboCopy, RichTools, Beyond Compare and custom scripts. Templates with symbols substitution are provided

- Creating, saving and running scripts created by consolidating commands using all of the above

- Built-in support for map / un-map Network drives

- Creating Tasks directly in the local or remote server Task Manager

- Separate authentication (user Id / Password) for remote server folder access, remote task Scheduler access and remote Task run-time authentication 

- Drives View (folder tree) with automatic computation of folder sizes

- Automatic fill of optical media during a burning process of an arbitrary set of files and folders

- Bulk edit / replace of target paths in shortcuts that have been invalidated by folder rearrangements on your servers

 

As you can see, support for optical media is only one of a number of useful functions. Using the scripting functions, even transfers to the Cloud or iSCSI targets can be supported.

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Sorry, wasn't trying to imply that the program requires optical media. That said, it does seem that optical media is fairly front and center. I was only commenting that I find optical media unreliable. I guess the way I would promote the program would be to say, "Oh, BTW, it also supports the use of optical media for backup, if you insist on using that technique."

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Ok, we will leave it at that then Oh, BTW the optical media stuff is not available in the Basic (free) version. Only the core risk assessment tool is available in that one. The Pro version has the additional features, such as Task Scheduling, Shortcuts Editing and Optical media burning.

 

And I have found a couple of places in my wording that I plan to change to eliminate the impression that optical media is "front and center". It really isn't, at least that was not my intention. (Oops, seems I can no longer edit that post. Oh, well.)

 

Thanks for your attention and feedback.

 

(P.S. If you care to comment, is it the actual optical media you have found unreliable, the burning process, or the compatibility of the media with readers - maybe all of the above?)

Edited by mediadogg
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Primarily the lack of reliability, slowness of burning, and low capacity.

 

An awful lot of burnable DVDs/Blu-rays become unreadable after a number of years - I simply do not trust them any more. Oh, I have no problem burning a DVD for transferring some data or creating a bootable disk - as long as it's something temporary. I cannot rely on burnable disks for any kind of longer-term storage.

 

I also find optical media way too slow to burn, and they're notoriously prone to burning failure.

 

Finally, who wants to take all that time, and risk of failed burns, for no more than 50GB of data? And let's face it, most optical media are 25GB or less.

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Primarily the lack of reliability, slowness of burning, and low capacity.

 

An awful lot of burnable DVDs/Blu-rays become unreadable after a number of years - I simply do not trust them any more. Oh, I have no problem burning a DVD for transferring some data or creating a bootable disk - as long as it's something temporary. I cannot rely on burnable disks for any kind of longer-term storage.

 

I also find optical media way too slow to burn, and they're notoriously prone to burning failure.

 

Finally, who wants to take all that time, and risk of failed burns, for no more than 50GB of data? And let's face it, most optical media are 25GB or less.

 

Yeah, I agree with all that. But I guess I haven't yet experienced a burned CD/DVD failure due to age. I added the burning feature to DataRisk when I discovered that I was using a substantial amount of hard drive space for archival backups of data that would never change (downloads organized by date). So I worked out a scheme where the tool keeps track of a lot of stuff for you. Basically, you can set and forget and come back every now and then to stuff in a new disc. I had already selected a brand of blanks that yielded an acceptable error rate with my burner (old tried and true Panasonic), and I didn't experience any more with the tool than without - maybe less, since the tool tries to compute the correct amount of buffer.

 

So, it worked for me - to get some of those hard drives back into the server. Now USB externals are so cheap that I do use the burning option a lot less.

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Try some disks that are 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 years old, see if the failure rate increases with age. I've found it does.

 

From experimenting, I've found that hard drives are actually one of the most reliable storage media. So far, I've never had a read failure from an HDD that's been sitting on the shelf for several years. The only concern is to ensure you copy the data to new HDD formats (RFM -> IDE -> SATA -> ??) as time goes by.

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