I currently have 500GB + 80GB + (laptop) 60GB, and they're all about 90% full. And I don't backup. Planning on doing something like this when I get around to buying some more hard drives: http://jwz.livejournal.com/801607.html
I like the idea of using an online backup service, but uploading ~600GB on a 1mb ADSL line is going to take... 2 months of nonstop uploading :( (Not to mention the costs associated with purchasing that kind of space online.)
I'm generally a bit lax about backing up. This is because I'm a statistical anomaly -- I have never, repeat NEVER, experienced a hard disk failure. Weird, right?
At most, I back up important stuff (photographs, mostly) to two 500 GB external drives which are both in my house. If the house burned, I'd lose it all probably.
I do have a small amount of very, very important stuff which isn't even enough to fill a DVD. I do keep multiple copies of that in multiple locations on Earth
I think the scariest thing about harddrives is that, you won't necessarily know when they partially fail. If you have bad sectors on your harddrive, it will only give you I/O errors when you try to access the files stored on those sectors. Your files can be silently corrupted, and you won't know until much too late.
That's why I scan my harddrives regularly. Maybe that's why I have had "more" harddrives fail on me. Most people don't know when their harddrives go (partially) bad. I find SMART to be largely useless. SMART status was all green for all 3 drives that failed on me.
Hopefully SSDs (which will probably be the future) will fail more gracefully. They say SSDs are going to fail (once you have reached the rewrite limit) by becoming read-only. That's certainly better if it's true. Time will tell.
Online space for backup isn't a problem. Usually, stuff offered in the cloud offers unlimited space for a very reasonable price. Upload speeds, however, is a problem.
Yeah I take back what I said about SSD. I'm just jealous I can't afford them (and I read a misleading article a year ago). :P If they fail gracefully... life would be great. :)
I will make a bold prediction and say that in the future, prices will be so low that drives will have redundancy built in.
Each drive will come with 2 internal, indpendent storage media, like a raid/mirror, except in one disk drive.
Data is automatically mirrored onto the second storage media, so if either media dies, no data is lost, and the drive will continue to function. ;)
I'll make another prediction. One day disk drives will only be seen in computer museums and people will use SSDs (or maybe isolinear data modules). ;)
I'll make a bold prediction and say that people will be wiped out by nuclear holocaust long before that happens
With an SSD there is no such overhead, eg, adding a second drive inside would cost about the same as just doubling the capacity, which makes the option much more realistic.
If I could have gotten 2 250bb drives in one for the same price as one 500gb, I would probably prefer the former. Traditionally, that has been impossible. It is not much of a step from there to add a switch on the unit: operate as two separate drives or one "auto-raid" backup system. For small offices which do not have a full time sys admin, or for casual users, such a system could sell well because it is so simple to use: "backing up" wouldn't require any thought, time, or additional software.
My point was, if you added a RAID inside the drive, the drive's potential capacity would drop by 50%, since the two drives has to be equal in capacity in order to mirror the data.
So instead of halving the capacity, you could instead double the capacity. Why sacrifice half the capacity?
I don't see this happening anytime soon. You can always put two drives together. How could it be simpler?
If you combine that with pluggable storage (like on a card drive), which should be simple on an SSD, you'd have a great piece of equipment since at the end of the day the backup half could be physically removed from the unit and placed in a safe place, thwarting theft, fire, etc. Yes, you can already do that with regular hard drives and raid arrays, this is just taking the concept a step further and simplifying it for the "small scale" end-user/consumer.