Thoughts on RAID article from ExtremeTech

Immediately upon posting my opinion about Joel Hruska’s article on ExtremeTech yesterday, I felt regretful. I’ve never had the talent for writing. I always appreciate reading from great writers as they’re able to both entertain and educate simultaneously. I figured maybe I was being too judgmental so I decided to give Joel’s article another chance this morning as perhaps I may have missed something critical. After doing so this morning, I realized I did, in fact, misread (or rather didn’t read) the second page header of his article. The very top header was labeled “Myths and misconceptions” which I didn’t pickup while reading.
So under this new paradigm which I was not privy to start with, what do his points highlight to me now? His first myth/misconception is “RAID is not a backup”. As I originally said before, I partially agree with this statement (not being a myth/misconception). A lot of IT storage pros tend to say (namely on serverfault and most enterprise storage folks), that RAID isn’t backup. Now under Joel’s statement that it is a myth/misconception, to some extent, I can agree with Joel’s point. RAID is *part* of a backup solution but it isn’t backup in and of itself. And, to Joel’s credit he says just that: “RAID arrays (other than RAID 0) should be treated as a way to ensure access to a backup set is minimally disrupted in the event of failure, not as a backup solution in and of itself.” Okay, let’s just move on.
“Cloud services aren’t automatically safe”. Is this a myth or misconception? Joel’s ending statement within the cloud services point: “Since social engineering isn’t going away, the only way to secure user data is to back it up in an untouchable archive.” So is security the issue now? I thought we were primarily talking about data backups for consumers. Worrying about security for backups is another topic as Joel mentions but I fail to see how this is either a myth/misconception. Right now, I’m sure that cloud services can be exploitable like any other system so worrying about security isn’t far fetched. Joel even goes as far as giving an example of a security breach through Apple’s iCloud platform. So it would seem that Cloud Services aren’t safe – so how is this a myth or misconception? Ugh. Next point.
“Backup isn’t one-size-fits-all”. Technically speaking, yes, backup is unique to each individual and/or organization but since we’re talking about consumers, lets stick with them. If the myth/misconception here is that backup *cannot* be a “one-size-fits-all” solution, I can see that for consumers that this idea would fall under misconception however, it would be acceptable for said solution to be used by consumers. So, is Joel conceding that backups can be a one-size-fits-all for consumers? Should that be the case that most consumers can use an all-in-one type solution?

“If you primarily want to protect against fire, flood, and other acts of God, and don’t care much about redundancy or use much bandwidth, a wireless drive near a handy exit may be your best option. If you prioritize uptime or want maximum redundancy, a NAS may suit you best.”

Seriously? Wireless drive near a handy exit? Because you know, during a fire, the first thing I think of is I better get my data backup! I can’t tell if Joel is being facetious or not. Is this solution of yours for real? Joel, you’re officially pissing me off as a reader. So backing up is not a cookie cutter solution. Huzzah. But is this a myth or misconception? Which part exactly is the myth? This article needs to be rewritten.
“Resist convenience”. Again, is this a myth or misconception? I’ve personally never heard this concept from anyone but I think what Joel is trying to say is that *within the IT industry*, backups are not subject to convenience. Backups need to be done regardless of automation or simplicity. How exactly does this myth/misconception help consumers again? Is it too difficult to just say: “try to automate as much as you can”?
Joel’s final point under this mythical myth: “Unanticipated circumstances create untenable situations.” No shit. That’s why unanticipated situations are untenable. Just like the content of your article, your writing style has created an unanticipated situation to which my reading situation is now untenable. Thank you for pointing out the obvious. I was growing concerned as the rest of your article clearly shows you’re incapable of pointing out anything tenable.
After rereading the article from Joel, I’m still confused and extremely annoyed. I’m still unclear on what he was trying to say and worse, I don’t know what the hell he was trying to say to begin with. His main points don’t make sense as they are counterpoints to the point of what he’s trying to say. I thought I understood the overall objective of the article but it appears he’s trying to give myths and misconceptions as a counter-intuitive way of getting his point across but he doesn’t follow through with any real explanation. I understand this is going to be a series of articles around the topic of backups, but for fuck’s sake Joel, just explain what the hell you’re trying say. Don’t get cute with myths or misconceptions. Just tell people what they need to know and stop trying to be clever.



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