Using old flash memory as a backup medium

USB Fiddle Stickery

Article from Issue 150/2013

USB sticks and SD cards quickly lose their value, but if a script distributes the data across several such devices, flash memory is still useful as a fast and shockproof backup medium despite limited capacity.

It seems that USB sticks and SD cards also follow Moore’s Law, in that the storage capacity they offer doubles each year. A 64GB stick now costs US$ 40, and an 8GB stick, which used to be the market leader just a few years ago, has lost almost all its value and ends up in a drawer. At the other end of the product spectrum, prices rise disproportionately: Whereas a 128GB stick costs about US$ 80, one with twice the capacity, 256GB, is about four times the price.

Combining multiple storage media would achieve acceptable storage capacity at a low price, and, if you are looking for a software solution that combines multiple storage modules to create an array, something like Linux Volume Manager (LVM) springs to mind. It elegantly welds together your hardware to create software partitions, which – at application level – feel exactly like hardware solutions cast in metal and plastic (Figure 1).

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