If I was going to recommend a backup solution to someone else, it would vary based on their needs. A RAID-1 configuration should be more than sufficient for any consumer, plus it can speed up IO by roughly a multiple of how many drives are in the array. Someone running a server of some sort might be better served by a RAID 5 configuration, which would increase uptime in case of a failure. A developer might want to have a more traditional backup solution, in case something important gets deleted or overwritten.
For medium or large businesses, you want the best of all worlds. RAID 5 or 6 (depending on whether performance or fault tolerance is more important) as well as weekly offline backups stored offsite.
And since the average user probably won't understand this post let alone know how to set up a RAID (which I learned about in college ^ ^), I'll drop a link so the curious can read up. ^ ^ http://www.webopedia.com/TERM/R/RAID.html
I'd go with RAID 1 (Mirroring) myself. It's the easier method for a home user. Most of the RAID methods are for businesses/servers .
Like others I've never had a HDD failure since I upgrade every 4 years. I still have data from over 10 years ago as well. xD
But what about software? No one ever seems to recommend good back up software. The Windows 7 proved unreliable for me as well as Western Digital's "Smartware". Still looking for recommendations please!