Author Topic: Back that HDD up  (Read 9582 times)

theSchmett

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Back that HDD up
« on: November 11, 2014, 05:06:32 AM »
So I've come to the conclusion I need (yes, need) a comprehensive backup plan to go with my 1,000 ripped CDs, photos of kids, and digital file cabinet.

The in house is easy enough, an external HD I already have.

I've also got Dropbox, box, icloud, amazon, Google Drive...

I don't want to shell out $120/year for backblaze. What is everyone's strategy for off site backups?

Phil_Moore

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Re: Back that HDD up
« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2014, 06:21:22 AM »
A friend and I just swap an external every couple of months so we each have a copy of the others storage drive.

This has the added advantage that I keep my stuff organised as I know someone else will see it. I can just imagine it now: “Crumbs! He keeps all his photos in one big unsorted folder, what a messy chap”.

The horror.

hubcity

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Re: Back that HDD up
« Reply #2 on: November 11, 2014, 06:38:11 AM »
I use crashplan.  While it offers a paid "backup to the cloud" plan, you can also use it to backup to a friend's computer for free.  That's what I do.  I bought an external hard drive and gave it to my brother to connect to his computer.  I use crashplan to backup my machine to a local external harddrive and to the external harddrive at my brother's house.

MountainBeard

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Re: Back that HDD up
« Reply #3 on: November 11, 2014, 07:06:46 AM »
Synology NAS.  Has an iTunes server, DLNA streaming to the TV or phones, and a bunch more.
Incremental backup is scheduled to run automatically every night.

stash4cash

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Re: Back that HDD up
« Reply #4 on: November 11, 2014, 08:02:43 AM »
Amazon Glacier.

GuitarStv

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Re: Back that HDD up
« Reply #5 on: November 11, 2014, 08:08:05 AM »
Realize that your data isn't actually all that important, print out the few pictures you care about, stick 'em in a photobook and call it a day.

hybrid

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Re: Back that HDD up
« Reply #6 on: November 11, 2014, 08:14:42 AM »
A simple Seagate USB hard drive for $60 or so with automated backup software works great for me.

ketchup

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Re: Back that HDD up
« Reply #7 on: November 11, 2014, 09:40:35 AM »
This is something I've been thinking of recently for my girlfriend's photography business.

The current "system" is that she dumps her cards to the desktop computer.  The desktop computer nightly syncs everything to an external drive.  When I remember, I manually back everything up to our file server downstairs.  I think at some point we will get an additional external drive to store off-site.

We do need a better system for on the road though.  We had a pretty scary realization on our way home from an out-of-state trip last week.  She had about 170GB of photos on her laptop in the car, which was about $2000 in client work, that was not backed up anywhere else at all.  Kind of frightening.  Immediately backed it all up as soon as we got home, but we need to figure something out to close that gap.  Hotel wifi is borderline useless for uploading that kind of data, so what I'm thinking the best option might be to back everything up to an external hard drive and snail-mail it home before we leave.

senecando

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Re: Back that HDD up
« Reply #8 on: November 11, 2014, 09:43:15 AM »
I use backblaze. It's 50/year. Where are you seeing 120?

BlueMR2

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Re: Back that HDD up
« Reply #9 on: November 11, 2014, 10:07:23 AM »
Realize that your data isn't actually all that important, print out the few pictures you care about, stick 'em in a photobook and call it a day.

This.

theSchmett

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Re: Back that HDD up
« Reply #10 on: November 11, 2014, 12:46:35 PM »
Senecando, I thought it was $10 a month, but maybe that is for 2 compys?

Also, thanks for all the insights. As I said, the in-house backups are easy. Time Machine -> External FW/USB drive. I need to start putting that drive into my fire/flood proof box, but then it isn't plugged in and backing up... anywho...

Its the OFFSITE that I want to stress to people is important, and what I am really looking for. Something drastic could happen to/at my house. Fire, flood, killer bees... Not so out of the question, I live in Monmouth Co. NJ, one of the counties with the highest disaster incidence in the US.

I was thinking of doing a NAS to host my music streaming, and I still may, but it makes the physical backup that much harder to toss in a go bag and evacuate. The external HD gets tossed in a bag. I hope I don't sound paranoid, I'm not, but I did luck out twice since I've moved out here - Hurricane Sandy was a high wind and low electricity event with thankfully very little rain with all the flooding near large bodies of water, and Hurricane Irene didn't flood my basement because the electricity miraculously stayed on and the pump kept running.

With regards to "who cares", well... I like the pix of my kids, but I also really like all my scanned and shredded documents related to taxes, employment, etc... so those definitely need an offsite and secure backup.

I definitely encourage everyone to think about some kind of offsite backup. Even an encrypted USB stick at a friends house, or in a safe deposit box. I'll post back when I make a final decision.

GuitarStv

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Re: Back that HDD up
« Reply #11 on: November 11, 2014, 01:00:15 PM »
With regards to "who cares", well... I like the pix of my kids, but I also really like all my scanned and shredded documents related to taxes, employment, etc... so those definitely need an offsite and secure backup.

I wasn't trying to be a dick . . . in this day and age though, it's not uncommon for someone to be harboring around 20 - 30 thousand random pictures on their computer.  Most will never look at these pictures again, but they feel an emotional attachment to them and they become a needless burden.  Better to sort through, find a couple dozen that are the best of the bunch and physically reproduce them if you really feel the need to keep them around.

Typically tax records/business records/employment records are relatively small, and can be backed up on a few times a year on a ten dollar thumb drive.

senecando

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Re: Back that HDD up
« Reply #12 on: November 11, 2014, 01:08:00 PM »
Senecando, I thought it was $10 a month, but maybe that is for 2 compys?

That's probably true. It's 5/mo, 50/yr for one computer. I wonder if there is a way to functionally store all the stuff that needs backups on one computer.

Fuzz

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Re: Back that HDD up
« Reply #13 on: November 11, 2014, 01:36:02 PM »
Crashplan is $4/month. Has nice encryption, which sounds like it matters to you. The Synology NAS looks nice too.

frugalnacho

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Re: Back that HDD up
« Reply #14 on: November 11, 2014, 01:36:25 PM »
I use crashplan.  While it offers a paid "backup to the cloud" plan, you can also use it to backup to a friend's computer for free.  That's what I do.  I bought an external hard drive and gave it to my brother to connect to his computer.  I use crashplan to backup my machine to a local external harddrive and to the external harddrive at my brother's house.

This.  I backup my works server onto an external drive at my house (Did the initial 60GB backup by directly attaching the drive to the work server, and I do subsequent back ups via the internet and leave it attached to my house computer 24/7).  I do the same with my desktop at home and back it up to an external drive connected to my work computer.  All the computers go to sleep so I have a script that runs every night around midnight to wake them all up right before crashplan is scheduled to perform the back ups.

I also use goodsync to backup files from my laptop to my desktop and vice versa, but that's just so I have access to all my stuff from both my desktop and my laptop at home.  And if both go down simultaneously (like a house fire) I have them backed up via crash plan.

I also use dropbox because it's convenient to sync files between multiple computers and have access to them no matter where I am, but the amount of space given for a free account is only like 2GB, so it's not nearly enough to work as an actual backup of everything.

gimp

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Re: Back that HDD up
« Reply #15 on: November 11, 2014, 10:47:58 PM »
Backups are a way more complicated subject than you'd expect. For example, you have the difference between data duplication and a backup, you have to ask how much work you want to do on restoring the backup, you have to decide whether you want to test your backup procedure, you have to decide how long to keep backups for, you have to decide on the types of backups (complete vs incremental), you have to decide how often to do them, you have to decide how often to overwrite previous data / states, you have to decide how off-site you want a backup, etc etc etc... I'm sure Daily can answer better than I can, but for the home user, I see the following scenarios (roughly):

How much data?
- All of it
- All the data, no system state (ie, documents and programs etc but no operating system details)
- All the data, no system state or programs
- Only things that are hard/impossible to restore (large collection of movies and photos, work stuff, etc, no misc stuff)
- Only things that are impossible to restore (or impossible to restore when needed - photos yes, movies no)
- Only important work data

How off-system?
- Copy from one part of the hard drive to another
- Set up a RAID array to mirror (two identical copies) or to stripe-parity (so a single disc can be rebuilt)
- Set up an external device, hard drive or thumb drive or etc
- Set up an external device and store them away from the computer between updates
- Set up an external device and store them off-site, eg, in a storage locker
- Set up external devices and have a real storage company maintain them
- Store using 'cloud' providers, on their servers and hard drives

How fast do you need the data if it needs to be recovered?
- Seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months

How incremental do you need things?
- Overwrite everything, "all my documents today overwrites all my documents from a week ago"
- Just overwrite previous data, eg, your work document replaces the older version of  your work document
- Just save entire blobs, eg, "all my documents today in this folder, all my documents from a week ago in this one"
- Incremental backup with versioning, so you can see what changed between backups, eg, you can see your previous versions of your work document

Do you need it encrypted? Are you storing important financial / health data?

How much do you want to pay?

What kind of media? Code backups are different from word documents are different from photos are different from movies etc.

With all that said. I recommend all of the following:

- Back up all important work documents remotely, with versioning, so you can always restore previous versions
- Back up all important photos on free cloud providers and on an external hard drive, they're irreplaceable; periodically make sure the external hard drive can be read
- Don't bother backing up movies and audio you've downloaded, unless you can never find it to download again - or if you really have to, just clone the hard drive to an external one once in a while
- If you can, run a raid array (either mirrored or RAID 5) inside your computer, so you have either two identical drives at all times, or three where one can fail
- Don't worry about things like restore procedures, since you never back up system state; just periodically make sure you can access all the files you've backed up and that they open and display properly
- Don't use things like flash drives or SD cards as long-term backups. External hard drives are okay but make sure they spin up every month or so.

GuitarStv

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Re: Back that HDD up
« Reply #16 on: November 12, 2014, 05:41:18 AM »
^ You forgot to mention that anything you store up on a cloud is (by it's nature) not secure.

dragoncar

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Re: Back that HDD up
« Reply #17 on: November 12, 2014, 10:44:10 AM »
With regards to "who cares", well... I like the pix of my kids, but I also really like all my scanned and shredded documents related to taxes, employment, etc... so those definitely need an offsite and secure backup.

I wasn't trying to be a dick . . . in this day and age though, it's not uncommon for someone to be harboring around 20 - 30 thousand random pictures on their computer.  Most will never look at these pictures again, but they feel an emotional attachment to them and they become a needless burden.  Better to sort through, find a couple dozen that are the best of the bunch and physically reproduce them if you really feel the need to keep them around.

Typically tax records/business records/employment records are relatively small, and can be backed up on a few times a year on a ten dollar thumb drive.

Yeah, I scan every important document, back it up to multiple offsite hard drives, and then shred them.  Really keeps the clutter down, but the upshot is I need a lot of storage space.  The really important stuff isn't TOO big, but if I'm already backing up some things I might as well do it all -- and disc drives are a lot cheaper than flash memory.  I also checkpoint each backup, just in case I do something dumb and delete or edit something important, so the total grows. 

Even so, I have three external 2TB drives so it's not very pricey.

I wouldn't touch the cloud with a 10 foot pole.  Besides security issues, why pay monthly service charges for something you can do yourself much cheaper?

gimp

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Re: Back that HDD up
« Reply #18 on: November 12, 2014, 11:24:45 AM »
Right, "cloud" providers can drop off at the drop of a hat, leaving you with your dick in your hand.

So I would only use them for data duplication, and only for things they're good at (eg, amazon has free photo hosting that doesn't compress/alter your photo), and only for things that either are not secure and you don't care (photos) or you've encrypted yourself (AES, not "add password to zip file".)

RWD

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Re: Back that HDD up
« Reply #19 on: November 12, 2014, 11:43:52 AM »
Synology NAS.

This is what I'm using. I have a Synology NAS with two 3 TB hard drives for a total of 6 TB. I think we're using about 4 TB of that right now. It stays in standby when not in use so the power cost is negligible.


Realize that your data isn't actually all that important, print out the few pictures you care about, stick 'em in a photobook and call it a day.

It would easily cost more to print everything that's important than my backup solution is costing me. And then I would have to have physical storage space for printed stuff. Also, you can't print videos or music. A lot of my tax-related and other financial documents are digital. Kind of defeats opting for "paperless" if I print it all out.

Then there's my wife's stuff. Her data is way more important and irreplaceable than mine. Not everyone has so little to lose in the event of a hard drive failure.
« Last Edit: August 17, 2017, 08:09:20 AM by RWD »

GuitarStv

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Re: Back that HDD up
« Reply #20 on: November 12, 2014, 12:04:44 PM »
Realize that your data isn't actually all that important, print out the few pictures you care about, stick 'em in a photobook and call it a day.

It would easily cost more to print everything that's important than my backup solution is costing me. And then I would have to have physical storage space for printed stuff. Also, you can't print videos or music. A lot of my tax-related and other financial documents are digital. Kind of defeats opting for "paperless" if I print it all out.

Then there's my wife's stuff. Her data (scientific research) is way more important and irreplaceable than mine. Not everyone has so little to lose in the event of a hard drive failure.

I think you might have missed the point of my comment.  Most people store data that isn't terribly important out of habit . . . and then out of habit want to protect all of that data.  People amass millions of pictures and then never, or rarely look at them again since everything electronic that you buy has a camera these days.  It's the IT version of hoarding.  Music and videos are typical examples of hoarded stuff that's generally pretty easy to replace with a trip to the library or by spending some time on songza or similar.

Tax related documents and important financial info certainly should be backed up . . . but they also take up incredibly tiny amounts of space.  A gig of storage is way more space than is needed for all of my and my wife's financial/banking stuff.  Your wife's work is (I suspect) a rather unique special case.

senecando

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Re: Back that HDD up
« Reply #21 on: November 12, 2014, 12:24:24 PM »

Icecreamarsenal

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Back that HDD up
« Reply #22 on: November 12, 2014, 09:15:15 PM »
Nihilistic chaff is all the rage. If it's important to you, I'd back up on ssd hd and keep in a separate location: parents house, best friends house, etc.

Social interaction isn't all that important, the sun will explode relatively soon. But if it is to you, then it'd be a good excuse to see the aforementioned parents or best friends.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2014, 09:17:45 PM by Icecreamarsenal »

niknak

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Re: Back that HDD up
« Reply #23 on: November 12, 2014, 10:01:30 PM »
As a Mac user I used to use Time Machine, which is dead simple to use. But after going through a couple of failed external drives, I got tired of buying new ones. Now my stuff is duplicated in different, free cloud services:

photos - Flickr (1 TB of storage space. I used an app called Uppr to upload the photos and sync certain folders on my computer with Flickr.)
documents - box.com / Evernote / iCloud (I have a free 50GB Box account, which is not the norm)
music - haven't decided yet but probably in my Box account
videos - meh, I don't really care if they're lost

I have also been backing up to Backblaze. I pay $95 for two years. But I think I'll drop this service now that Flickr is hosting a duplicate of my photos. I've also adopted the attitude that if all of my files were lost I wouldn't be upset. My shit doesn't own me!




Sid Hoffman

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Re: Back that HDD up
« Reply #24 on: November 12, 2014, 10:25:32 PM »
I use the free edition of Acronis True Image that you can use if you have a Western Digital hard drive.  You can download it off their website.  I used to have locked cabinets at my office at work where I'd take my offsite copy.  Now I take it to a family member's house.  As others have mentioned, my main goal is to protect against some sort of theft/disaster that could wipe out my house and all copies of the backups located within the house.

Super-important stuff I also have in Dropbox, so that is essentially offsite minutes after being saved, covering the gaps between offline backups.  I do a lot in the way of paperless record-keeping as well, so losing my data is kind of a big deal if it were to happen.

GordonCopestake

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Re: Back that HDD up
« Reply #25 on: November 13, 2014, 01:25:01 PM »
I used to back up all my stuff, every MP3, every file that ever cross my path, every program installation file that I had ever used and every driver I have ever installed, all "just in case". But to be honest pretty much every file can be easily replaced with the "advent" of the internet. The only exceptions are my photos of my kids and my scanned documents, although to be honest, most of those can be reproduced by simply requesting copies from the companies involved. I now just keep a portable hard drive in my car and update it every few months or when I remember. My photos have slowly moved from being taken with my dslr to my iphone and so are all on icloud and backed up to flickr and all my scanned documents are on evernote for quick reference as well as on paper. If either goes tits up, it's not a disaster just a delay in getting copies.

After 10 years of obsessively backing stuff up that in reality doesn't need to be, i kind of agree with GuitarStv, the amount of irreplaceable stuff you really do need to backup is probably less than you think.

mjs111

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Re: Back that HDD up
« Reply #26 on: November 13, 2014, 02:38:39 PM »
I'm a Mac user.  I have a local backup done continuously in the background to a 2 TB Time Machine and then an offsite backup done through Carbonite, also updated continuously in the background.

That said, it's always good to spot check your backups to make sure they're still working. :) Backups these days can be so effortless that a failure possibly may go unnoticed.

Mike

ketchup

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Re: Back that HDD up
« Reply #27 on: November 14, 2014, 07:52:02 AM »
That said, it's always good to spot check your backups to make sure they're still working. :) Backups these days can be so effortless that a failure possibly may go unnoticed.
Proof that an untested backup is not a backup.  It's any IT guy's nightmare.  And this wasn't exactly a low-budget small company.

FarmerPete

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Re: Back that HDD up
« Reply #28 on: November 14, 2014, 11:40:01 AM »
I installed Server 2012 Essentials on an energy efficient PC I created. It uses about 30 watts idle and 50 when writing to the drives.  I installed 4x2TB hard drives using Microsoft Storage Spaces for parity.  That gives me 6TB of useable space.  If any one drive goes dead, my data will still be safe.  After having a mishap a few months ago where one of the drives died buy Windows reported them all as healthy, I decided that while 99% of the space I'm using is garbage, the other 1% was too big to backup for free and too important to lose.  I've got ~50 GB of pictures.  Sure, I could purge some of that, but we're talking about a crap ton of time to do that, and a lot of my pictures are there because I scanned old pictures to consolidate my stuff down.  I've got 100 GB of music which is replaceable, but would take a few days of time to do.  I've got ~100 GB of home videos that I feel are irreplaceable and important.  Then I have a few hundred GB of full system backups for our home theater PC, my desktop that I hardly use, and my wife's laptop.  I view these as very helpful, as if any computer has a hard drive crash, I can completely recover the data with a new HD and 30 minutes or so of time.  If my wife "accidentally" installs spyware on her laptop, I can just restore it to yesterdays backup.  Such a time saver!  The rest of my storage is +350 full length movies.  Basically it's my own personal "Netflix".  In total, I'm at around 3TB in use right now. 

I decided that I wanted to back up the pictures and home videos.  I used Crashplan.  Partially because it is one of the few that you can run on a server OS with a home license.  Total cost was $150 for 4 years.  I've been slowly adding more to the backup and have about 1 TB backed up so far.  Even though the pictures and home videos are the important bit, getting the rest backed up was important to me as well.

I thought about doing just the free crashplan by putting a hard disk at my parents house.  I decided that even a cheap external drive was $50 and would probably not last much beyond 4 years if it made it there at all.  The extra $100 I paid is worth it to me to get the extra storage space and not having to deal with my technological impaired parents.

FLBiker

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Re: Back that HDD up
« Reply #29 on: November 14, 2014, 11:46:52 AM »
Realize that your data isn't actually all that important, print out the few pictures you care about, stick 'em in a photobook and call it a day.

This.
+1

(Although I do use the free versions of dropbox and Mozy.)