In a previous post, I talked about online backup. Since that time, I have been trying a new method of backing up -- this one local. After researching tape based backup and realizing that it is very expensive and still not that trustworthy, I came upon external devices that allow you to plug in a standard SATA hard drive. These devices can be connected via USB, SATA and/or eSATA (maybe Firewire, too). I went with a Thermaltake BlacX eSATA USB Docking Station, a SATA to eSATA bracket with cable to extend one of the motherboard SATA connections to the rear of the computer, and a couple of 2TB drives. The docking station came with a short eSATA cable that connects it to the bracket at the rear of the computer.
Now I have an external SATA drive bay and can can alternate backing up critical data to two different external drives. Thankfully, I haven't needed the backups, but it's good to know they're there.
The docking station was around $35. The bracket was around $5. The two drives were a bit over $200. All of this was a lot less expensive than any other solution I could find.
Software for this solution is another story. I've tried a several programs and none of them feel trustworthy to me. Storing data with a non-standard software protocol leaves me at the mercy of a software vendor that may not be there tomorrow. I'll post what I decide upon here. Until then, it's once a week zip files of each directory.