Backup Strategy

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by littlefish, Nov 25, 2013.

  1. littlefish

    littlefish Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 22, 2011
    Glos., UK
    A recent review of all our family data over 3 Windows PC's got me thinking about our current back up strategy of a couple of 1TB external drives: one on site and one off. Currently I'm using Genie Backup Manager which has done sterling service for a few years now.

    I've just spent an 'interesting' week trying Windows 8's File History function to back up over the home network to a HP Proliant Microserver also running Windows 8.1 with three 1TB drives set up as one Storage Space. Long story short: it's not worth the effort.

    I'm curious as to what strategies / hardware / software others use to backup irreplaceable photos, movies, etc. Cloud services any good? Any NAS devices suited for this? good experience with a software package?
  2. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    I havent implemented my ideal storage solution yet, but I do not consider any single backup on a portable drive to be a safe backup. My main system is a Mac Pro with an internal Raid 0 on t HDDs (fast and bit at all secure) backed up to a single internal drive, in turn backed up to a NAS with mirrored drives (redundant). I'm not quite at the point where I trust cloud devices sufficiently, or the prices are low enough for me (I want terabytes of storage, not tens of gigs). Flickr is good enough for the essential jpgs but not the raw files.

    I'll probably upgrade the primary NAS to a 4 bay raid 5 system, and migrate the 2-disk NAS to a friend's place for 'bare essentials' offsite backup (most NAS have features to back up to other NAS automatically. Have a Qnap, pondering a synology)
    • Like Like x 1
  3. b_rubenstein

    b_rubenstein Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 20, 2012
    Melbourne, FL
    I use Windows Home Server, Ver 1. WHS 2011 is what you want. Yes they are no longer being developed by MS, and the server function isn't fancy. I use it primarily for automated back ups with a add in call Lights Out. With this combination the server is in sleep mode until one of the clients is active (so it can be used for a server), and the server wakes up once a day (user selected time) and wakes up and does an incremental backup of every client. Most important to me, is that "bare metal" restores on a client. If a hard disk dies, including the boot disk, put in a new hard drive, boot off the WHS restore CD, pick the drive you want restored, come back when it's done remove the CD and reboot the client. I've done this several times to switch my boot drive to an SSD by restoring to the SSD. If a client gets a virus, you can go back and restore to an earlier un-infected state. Did this on my son's PC when a virus could not be removed with software. You HP would be a perfect platform to instal WHS on.
    • Like Like x 1
  4. alex66

    alex66 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jul 23, 2010
    I have everything on 3 harddrives, 1 off site one on, the hardrives are one by one zeroed and rebuilt every 6 months or so as I read somplace that unused drives can sieze up. Along side this I have 2 sets of DVD backups again one on site one off in a different location these get replaced every 2-3 years as I have seen the disks decay. I intend to replace the DVDs with BluRays as DVD is really too small. I manually back it all up slowly over a few wks for the rebuilds so I can check off that its all there. I am now going to purchase some new drives as some of the older ones are 5+ years old so could fail at any moment, one will be a seagate and one Western Digital Red and one other drive to lower the chance of an inherant fault in one model of drive. I may end up doing set 4 and 5 with the extra drives and have hard drives in two locations off site. I had at the begining of the year 2 drives fail, one was the back up of the other, I was relieved when the 3rd was backed up and thankfull. I originally read about this scheme on some web site and adapted it for my own use, also there is a time machine disk for the current set of images and things like I tunes, settings emails etc. I think the method I use was called 321 as in three copies(at least) 2 types of media and at least one off site, I know someone who shoots jpeg on an older DSLR who fills a card and never formats it, just gets a new one and has a small draw with them all in date order.
    • Like Like x 1
  5. Promit

    Promit Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 6, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Promit Roy
    I lean heavily on Crashplan for my backups. It automatically backs up to both an unlimited cloud account (encrypted) and my HTPC/NAS box, which has a stack of hard drives running RAID 5 (technically, a dual parity Win8 Storage Space). I also maintain a manual copy of stuff on that HTPC (will change that to rsync or something), and a few things actually live on a Synology 5x NAS at work.

    I'm a big fan of reputable suitably encrypted cloud backup services, myself. The HTPC/NAS is icing to provide quicker failover/recovery in the case of non-catastrophic failure (ie drive failure, not natural disaster). And the less human involvement is required in backup systems, the better. I like that the Crashplan software handles cloud, local, and multi-site backups all in one system.
    • Like Like x 1
  6. Hagane

    Hagane Mu-43 Regular

    May 31, 2013
    Limburg, Netherlands
    I store all my important stuff on my NAS (2x2TB mirrored), thanks to a gbit-network access is fast enough.

    4 times a year I backup the stuff on the NAS to an external HD which sits in a fireproof safe.
    • Like Like x 1
  7. Joelmusicman

    Joelmusicman Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 1, 2013
    Another thing to look at is Amazon's S3 offsite storage. The "glacier" option is $.01 per GB per month (a bit slower retrieval time). True enterprise-level storage security with multiple copies of your files stored in geographically separate locations. Calculates checksums for parity & checks for bit rot too.

    Works out to pretty cheap until you start talking about HTPC movie libraries. I could back up my Lightroom folders for about $0.60/mo, but if I did a whole system backup with movie libraries, etc it would cost probably $40.00/mo.
    • Like Like x 1
  8. Joelmusicman

    Joelmusicman Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 1, 2013
    BTW, if you get fed up with the HP Microserver, I'll take it off your hands! :biggrin:
  9. arad85

    arad85 Mu-43 Veteran

    Aug 16, 2012
    My strategy is the following (this may or may not work for you!):

    • Order your data into three sets of stuff:
      • MUST backup as no ability to recreate - e.g. photos, documents, user files
      • HIGH priority as it would be a pain to re-rip - e.g. CDs (I have hundreds!)
      • LOW priority as whilst it might be a pain to recreate, the cost of backing up is relatively high - e.g. DVD and BluRay rips
    • Budget for multiple backups of MUST, two copies of HIGH and possibly use some form of data redundancy (e.g. RAID5) to guard against losing LOW
    • Have multiple local backups in separate enclosures (e.g. 2 PCs or 1 PC & 1 NAS...)
    • Have backups offsite if possible - this can be HDDs rotated offsite or uploaded via the Internet if you have a good upload speed..
    • Also, make an "image" of your system disk (with something like "drive snapshot" on a PC) so if that fails you can just restore it and not have to reinstall everything.

    So, for me, I have a datastore that holds all my media. This runs PC-BSD and has a boot drive, a RAIDZ (RAID5 like) array of 4 x 2TB disks with an additional 1 hot swappable for media and 2 x 1TB drives mirrored as a backup (yes, that's 8 disks in total!). This provides a 6TB usable media share and a 1 TB backup drive. I also have another PC with a 3TB drive as a secondary backup device.

    My backup strategy is:
    • Don't backup the media store - it is covered by data redundancy.
    • Backup all "user" files (which exist a number of PCs as we have one per family member) to the backup on the main mediastore at 20 minute intervals
    • Sync the mediastore backup -> the other PC overnight (this means I have 3 copies of everything: original, backup and mirrored backup)
    • Sync my music files (stored on the big media disk) to the other PC. These are my HIGH files and I have 2 copies (original and backup)
    • On a weekly basis snapshot the system disk so I can recreate my system if necessary (I end up with 3 copies of this)
    • Incrementally update my central 3TB backup drive to the internmet (I use - they are a front end to Iron Mountain - as I have a large amount of data). This adds a further level of data redundancy as I effectively have 4 copies of things once it is up on this server.

    As to tools, I use rsync over ssh (command line tools) exclusively for moving data around locally. Backupsolutions provide their own system tray tool which seems to work OK.
    • Like Like x 1
  10. littlefish

    littlefish Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 22, 2011
    Glos., UK
    Firstly, a huge thank you to everyone for taking the time to post such comprehensive replies.

    Secondly, apologies for not replying sooner but it took a while to digest everything.

    I now have a plan:
    1 - onsite, background, realtime (ish) backup to something either
    . RAID box attached to main PC or
    . NAS box on network
    2 - offsite hard drives
    3 - warm cloud storage - synchronised data
    4 - cold cloud storage - everything ever forever (sic)

    2 is easy as I'm doing that now

    3 & 4 are fairly straightforward as I have an account with Livedrive (3) and am looking at Zoolz (4).

    It's 1 where the fun begins. I can't set up RAID 1 on the HP Microserver without FUBARing the Win 8 installation (it's happened twice now so i'm fairly confident it's not me) and I can't find software to back up different directories on my main PC to different drives on the server if I configure each separately e.g. L: for Photos, M: for movies. Win Server 2011 is tempting but I simply don't have the time. I retired from IT a few years back and I just want an easy life now. :wink:

    Before eBaying the HP server, I'll give it one last go with Win 8 + Storage Space + Crashplan (thanks, promit!). If that fails, I'll get either a NAS box or local RAID box, preferably the latter.

    Anyone else remember negative albums and slide storage boxes? It all seemed so much simpler then.
  11. bassman

    bassman Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Apr 22, 2013
    New Jersey
    The Bassman
    Mine is straightforward.

    iMac - 1.1TB of data - photos, financial records, some business stuff
    dual Time Machine USB drives which Mac OSX alternates automatically.
    Crashplan to the cloud

    PC - 600GB of data - music recording studio (my other hobby)
    Crashplan to a local USB drive
    Crashplan to the cloud

    So four copies of the iMac, 3 of the PC.
  12. simonz

    simonz Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 20, 2010
    New England
    zipcloud online backup

    I no longer use local backups. A single lightning strike could wipe out all my computers and lose everything. So, I now use zipcloud online backup. I use their unlimited storage service, which is quite reasonable. I backup 4 different computers every night. They have client software that runs on Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux (I use all 3). The first backup takes forever, like 2 weeks, but after that, only the changes are backed up. They have options for versioning of files and for backing up network drives and adding additional computers. I think my annual cost is around $250 for this service. I love it.
  13. yakky

    yakky Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jul 1, 2013
    I think I'm going to stop doing locals as well. I've been pretty happy with Crashplan. Cloud based is just so much easier, set and forget. Emails come up if there are issues. They've done a really good job with the client.
  14. littlefish

    littlefish Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 22, 2011
    Glos., UK
    bassman - despite being a platform agnostic, I am somewhat jealous of Apple users for a few reasons one of which is Time Machine. Anyone using Windows 8's File History for any length of time will tell you it has a long way to go. And that's putting it politely.

    simonz & yakky - you're both braver than I. Having started off in IT working on mainframes, I love the model of centralised storage but there's no way I'd give up local backups at least not for the foreseeable future. The time required to restore from the cloud is enough to put me off. Plus the market is still young and I'm not sure who will survive the inevitable price war as competition increases. I want my data kept safe hence using both Livedrive, with their own server centres, and Zoolz who use Amazon.

    On a positive note, today I'll set up Crashplan or Genie Timeline to back up to the HP Proliant server using Windows 8's Space Storage.

    The 'FUBAR'd' server problem? I forget to change the BIOS setting from RAID back to AHCI. :redface:
  15. -Dan-

    -Dan- Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 22, 2013
    You may want to get that checked out. Most fireproof safes still get too hot for data to be safe afterwards, basically destroy the media in one form or another. Storing documents and such is less of an issue since fireproof just means stuff can get hot but doesn't burn up. I may be wrong, but if you seriously try to rely on that, look into it to make sure that the inside temperature of the safe does not destroy the media you have in there.
  16. ThomD

    ThomD Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 1, 2013
    SF Bay Area
    Main data is on an external drive on the laptop. Then a copy over to the NAS. Finally, an off site to an ftp site.

    And of course I have recovery images on a thumb drive.

    There are not too many off site solution companies i would trust with my only backup. Amazon and google would be about it. Godaddy has my ftp site (never had a problem with them), but I'm not sure I'd trust them with a one of a kind back up.
    • Like Like x 1
  17. littlefish

    littlefish Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 22, 2011
    Glos., UK
    Today's discoveries:
    - Genie Timeline is unstable under Win 8.1.
    - Acronis True Image won't even install.
    - Zoolz is so slow as to be unusable.

    I've therefore gone back to basics and bought a Startech dock for bare HDDs, a 5 bay HDD storage box and two single HDD storage boxes for offsite backups. I'll use a 6 year old version of Genie Manager Pro 8 for a daily manual backup first thing in the morning. A few more DVD-Rs & BD-Rs and I'm set. Crude but effective.

    Once again my thanks for everyone's comments and contributions. This is, without doubt, the nicest forum I visit. :thumbup:
  18. jziegler

    jziegler Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 15, 2012
    Salem County, New Jersey
    The easiest solution at this point really is to use a cloud-based setup. I've had Backblaze for a couple of years and am very happy with it. For the price, I'd have a hard time buying the hardware for multiple backups myself. They have multiple copies of everything on their server farms. It gets me off-site storage easily. I don't have to think about anything, it just gets bacekd up.

    I do occasionally make an onsite backup, with is partially to have a full copy of my running system with OS and applications so that a restore would be faster. But the data is all backed up on the cloud.
  19. MikeyP

    MikeyP Mu-43 Rookie

    Jul 21, 2013
    I can also recommend Backblaze. I've been using them since they launched, and found the price/value prop perfectly acceptable. I've had total drive failures in two MacBooks, and restored everything flawlessly from Backblaze. At work we use Crashplan, and it looks nice too, though macs will need to have **** installed.

    I really like not having to maintain backup drives or servers. And I love the fact that if my house burns down, or more likely, if someone breaks in and steals everything, my photos are secure offsite.

    Sent from my iPad using Mu-43
  20. bassman

    bassman Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Apr 22, 2013
    New Jersey
    The Bassman
    Echoing what was said above: relying on any of the cloud vendors (except perhaps Google and Amazon) for your only backup is, IMHO, a mistake. They can disappear overnight, taking your backups. They could be a fraud, and never really did any backups. They could be full of sloppy operational processes, and loose some of your data. One can't really know what's going on inside their operation. Combine that with verrrrry long restore times and a combined onsite/cloud strategy seems warranted.

    I too would love to avoid the expense of local drives, but it just seems like its part of the deal.
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