Backup is a pain, even when you’re doing it there are plenty of risks that could/should be addressed. Lately I’ve been re-thinking my strategy because of the potential of crypto-locker like virus’. While I main use Mac at home I do have a few Windows VM’s and I do have a Surface which syncs my main documents folder between the two.
I do wonder what the device list for “normal” people looks like. Maybe something to discuss in another thread… In our house we have a bunch of Macs, some Windows VM’s a Surface which visits as well as a bunch of iOS devices, gaming consoles and media players.
Backup is limited to the active Mac’s with none of the VM’s or the Surface being directly backed up (although there are snapshots of the VM’s, but these are more appliances than actual machines so it isn’t relevant).
The Mac’s use a 2TB TimeMachine, although this has recently hit capacity. I know it’s designed to auto prune, but it keeps popping up a warning and I keep considering deleting all the history and starting fresh for each machine. Sadly there is no built in function to prune a single backup archive to a certain date (that I know of) so it’s all or nothing.
Behind this I have an 8 Bay QNAP with 8 x 4TB running RAID 6 which provides mass storage for:
- Our DVD collection all lovingly ripped and stored for access via Kodi (I keep trying Plex and it is installed but I just can’t get into it) which is running on a Mac Mini on both my TV’s.
- Our personal photo/video library.
- Documents backups (although this is an ad-hoc manual process currently)
- VM Snapshots.
Plugged into this there is a 4TB USB HDD which replicates the photos and documents, everything else I consider replaceable (and as they are backups of physical media or running VM’s I consider them replaceable and not worth backup up again). This is currently about 1.5TB worth of stuff I want to keep, mostly the family photos/videos.
I used to have a second USB HDD that I’d swap out when I remembered and leave at mums house, but I dropped it and destroyed it one day and never got around to replacing it… then I moved states making it harder again.
This is all sitting in a rack with filtered, UPS protected power.
At this point I feel pretty confident that I’m protected from physical failure. Power spike/flood/fire/theft are still a concern.
So recently I added in some offsite stuff that I’ve automated:
- My photo’s are all automatically uploaded to Google Photos. (being on the free tier they are compressed, but it’s probably more than enough).
- My documents are automatically synced into OneDrive.
Even though I moved to a cable area, the shitty upload rates meant that this took a few months to get the initial upload done (Bring on FTTP and decent upload speeds I say).
Now I feel OK about major physical issues of the equipment.
BUT, recently I’ve read a few articles about crypto locker and that worries me since my backups are automated and have the potential to sync busted files across everything and kill my whole setup. For that you need multiple offline copies or backups with versioning.
I’ve considered tape, but the setup costs can get high and it becomes a manual process.
USB HDD’s are cheap, but it’s still a manual process to swap them over.
I’d love to setup a backup with versioning, I still have an older NAS sitting under the bed and I’m looking into using it at the other end of the house or in the garage or something. I can automate this and I could set it to auto power up and down to save on power too.
Ideally I would put this NAS at someone else’s house (or access their NAS) for my backups which gives me the best of all options with automated offsite backup with versioning… the limiting factor being upstream bandwidth.
Versioning isn’t a major bandwidth problem since we are talking photo’s that will (or should) never change anyway. Only new photo’s would need syncing unless cryptolocker were to come along and then hopefully you would notice pretty quickly anyway.
Amazon glacier storage is an alternative option, besides the initial upload time it’s about $12 or so per TB / month for storage but almost $150 per TB to retrieve should you ever need a bulk retrieval. Not alot of money in the grand scheme of things (for the storage side of things), but something which will only grow and will add up over time. And that’s before you consider the tin foil hat question about putting your stuff on to the internet (if you’re that way inclined).
Sharing with a friend (where all you need is FTP/SFTP access to a folder (which could be a NAS or a dedicated USB HDD) seems to make more sense to me, although it requires a high degree of trust in that friend (or family member) since you are giving them all your files (encryption aside).