Comment 2AK Re: Bit of everything


My home backup/archive system involves:


Bit of everything (Score: 1)

by on 2014-07-01 10:18 (#2AA)

I'm pretty judicious about what I keep, but I've still got stuff i'd hate to lose: scanned versions of all important documents in case of fire (birth certificate, marriage license, passports, etc.), the full manuscripts to seven editions of three books I've written, offsite backups of my websites and their databases (in case of disaster on those servers), and some correspondence, plus every resume I've ever produced. But the biggest treasure is my photo collection - I went full digital in about 2005 and scanned all my old physical photos and then destroyed the originals. On the same list goes old genealogical pics I've scanned and incorporated into a family tree book, and some other basically priceless stuff. I'm at about 200G of data, I think.

I do monthly CD or DVD burns, each starting with the present and going back as far as the medium will reach, so each disk overlaps the previous by a stretch, allowing for multiple copies of that stuff in the middle. Once a year I take the disks to my folks' place for offsite storage. I know CDs and DVDs have a shelf life too, but it's better than nothing. I also religiously backup my machines to external hard drives - the Mac is the "official storage place" for all important data, so it's the device I'd grab if I had to quickly abandon the house, or something. I back up twice to two separate external USB drives, and store the two drives in different locations.

But I just got a NAS, and that's forcing me to change everything. First of all I've added a lot of ISOs and MKV video and so on - I've decided not to back any of it up. If I lose my movie collection, who cares? But now the NAS is the central, official repository for everything I have in digital form. It's FreeNAS with 4, 1TB WesternDigital Red drives in a RAID-Z formation. And I'm experimenting now with how to back up what's on the NAS. Pulling data off the NAS over my network to, say, the Mac, where I replicate it to an external USB drive is turning out to be slow given my crappy router and wireless network. I'm experimenting with mounting the external drives to the NAS itself and running a cron script that mounts the drive, rsyncs the data, and then unmounts. Then I just have to remember to attach a drive every Sunday evening at 5PM or something like that.

I'm lastly tempted to get an account with something like or something to automatically rsync to an offsite server. But I'm feeling too cheap to pay a monthly fee for the service and kind of reticent to put stuff like my passport scans on someone else's server. And the price per gig for offsite storage of my photos, for example, is a bit much.

Still experimenting here, but in the mean time I still plan on burning monthly disks. They've saved my bacon on many, many occasions!

Re: Bit of everything (Score: 1)

by on 2014-07-02 02:26 (#2AK)

I have a file server (old computer stuffed with a few HDs), the important parts of it are backed up on the backup system with is just a Cubieboard with a 2,5" 2To HD attached to it. Also /etc and /home/.Mail of other computers are backed up there.
For the things I "work" on, they are version controlled (there is a subversion server too on the Cubieboard), so that makes a kind of backup (one with history on the svn server, several others without history on each computer where I do svn updates from time to time.

There are many weak points in this system. I do not do any offline backup/archive because I am too lazy and for the reasons below. So almost everything is online all the time and could be destroyed by a major trouble on the electrical network. Well, I hope that as they are in different parts of the house, on different electrical cables, on different UPS, there is a chance that at least one survives.

I do not feel very confident with offline backups either.
I have seen too many HDs which fail at the moment you power them on after a long time without being used.
CDs/DVDs degrade too quickly.
I may like tapes but althought tapes are cheap, tape drives are unbelievably expensive (and if it breaks, you need to find another drive compatible with your tapes, and that drive should be compatible with your new computer; it reminds me I still have ZIP disks somewhere around, but even if I could find the drive, there is no more // port on current computers; you see the kind of mess it can become in the future).
I considered Glacier and such, but the awfully complex pricing seems designed to screw you (and with automated scripts, it is easy to make huge mistakes), and depending on your internet connection, it can be very long to perform your backups (especially if you encounter transfer errors) and very long to recover data when you need it.

Junk Status

Not marked as junk