Author Topic: How many/what kinds of computer backup?  (Read 5666 times)

LinLin

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How many/what kinds of computer backup?
« on: March 31, 2021, 09:31:46 AM »
I'm on a cost-cutting mission since I closed my business due to stress-related illness...and I'd love if we could live on just DH's salary and sock away the final distributions from my own business as an emergency fund and not have to use it.

So: Right now I pay for:

  • Carbonite (yearly fee) as a regular file back-up.
    iCloud (monthly) because I was tired of getting a message that my iCloud was almost full, and then trying to purge files. I stupidly thought this worked as a security & storage option, but it ends up that if you delete a file from a device, it deletes it from iCloud as well...so no good for if your  files accidentally/maliciously get deleted. I'm afraid to turn it off because then it won't sync files, photos, etc. from my devices, but do I really care if it's not really a safeguard against deletion?
    Google (yearly) for more storage for the family...every so often I upload files from my laptop that I want to keep but don't need on a regular basis (old client work, etc.).

Do I need all of these? I'd love to know what you use to handle file storage + security.

Thanks!
« Last Edit: March 31, 2021, 10:07:12 AM by LinLin »

bloodaxe

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Re: How many/what kinds of computer backup?
« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2021, 10:03:28 AM »
I don't need much storage, so I use a 16 GB usb drive that's encrypted with VeraCrypt.

I can't give advice for the cloud storage platforms, since I haven't used them.

bacchi

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Re: How many/what kinds of computer backup?
« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2021, 10:13:50 AM »
I use synced USB hard drives with a rotation to a safe deposit box. If it's important, I back it up further to a DVD. In between safe deposit box access, I use the free limits in dropbox and google.

Total cost is about $50/year if I amortize the hard drives.

FINate

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Re: How many/what kinds of computer backup?
« Reply #3 on: March 31, 2021, 10:40:14 AM »
We bought a Synology NAS a little over a year ago and really like it. All our photos/videos/music/etc. are on it, which minimizes storage requirements for our computers. We're using 2/4 drive bays in a RAID 1 configuration, which provides redundancy in the event of a drive failure (the most common way people lose data). It's also setup to periodically scrub data to detect and correct bit corruption. Nightly backup snapshots are saved to an external USB drive. Finally, it is backed up weekly to AWS S3 for offsite redundancy (e.g. theft or fire), which is costing about $2/month for ~300GB of data. Setup and administration is somewhat involved, requires a certain amount of tech know-how.

Blackeagle

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Re: How many/what kinds of computer backup?
« Reply #4 on: March 31, 2021, 10:56:00 AM »
  • Hourly backup to an external hard drive using Time Machine
  • Daily clone to an external drive using Carbon Copy Cloner
  • Hourly online backup to Backblaze
  • Hourly backup to my home server using Arq
  • Weekly backup of the home server to a pair of external hard drives.  Alternate between the two drives every other week and they live in a drawer between backups so Iíve always got a copy thatís not connected to the computer
  • Back up to a disk image on the home server before installing a major OS update

ctuser1

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Re: How many/what kinds of computer backup?
« Reply #5 on: March 31, 2021, 11:10:50 AM »
I have a synology NAS that is mounted on all computers we use (way too many), that itself gets backed up periodically to another NAS.

Be aware, however, that when the NAS HDDs go bad, your NASí recovery softwares may not work in consumer grade products. I had this experience with a WD nas as well as a QNAP one (Iíve been using NASíes forever, since when they were >$1000 for <1TB total storage). In both these cases, I had to spend many hours recovering data.

My current setup is with the hope that two NASíes wonít both go bad together.

I used a DIY NAS many years ago with all open source softwares. That was the only one that worked as promised all the time, till it died.

chemistk

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Re: How many/what kinds of computer backup?
« Reply #6 on: March 31, 2021, 11:15:55 AM »
Ok, color me curious -

What, exactly, are folks doing that requires so much backup? The only data my wife and I generate that we want to keep long term is pictures (mostly from phones) and scanned docs of kids' art/schoolwork.

I have redundant USB drives for long-term physical storage (nearly all of it is just family pictures), and then we just use Google/Amazon Photos to backup any pics between when I backup other files.

We do have a couple important docs that we keep stored on physical media too, but no more than maybe 10MB worth...

bloodaxe

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Re: How many/what kinds of computer backup?
« Reply #7 on: March 31, 2021, 11:17:58 AM »
Ok, color me curious -

What, exactly, are folks doing that requires so much backup? The only data my wife and I generate that we want to keep long term is pictures (mostly from phones) and scanned docs of kids' art/schoolwork.

I have redundant USB drives for long-term physical storage (nearly all of it is just family pictures), and then we just use Google/Amazon Photos to backup any pics between when I backup other files.

We do have a couple important docs that we keep stored on physical media too, but no more than maybe 10MB worth...

It's a hobby for some people. Check out https://www.reddit.com/r/homelab/

Sibley

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Re: How many/what kinds of computer backup?
« Reply #8 on: March 31, 2021, 11:20:56 AM »
Maybe you already did this, but the first step is to figure out what needs to be backed up.

Important financial/legal info? Yes.
your kids random school papers from 3 years ago? Pictures? Music? Depends. You certainly don't need to keep every single thing.

Spend some time decluttering your files, and then see what needs to be backed up, then decide what makes the most sense. An external hard drive might be just fine.

Daley

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Re: How many/what kinds of computer backup?
« Reply #9 on: March 31, 2021, 11:26:45 AM »
Backblaze B2 for online encrypted storage coupled with Duplicati for doing the backup part will eliminate the need for Carbonite.

Nextcloud to replace iCloud/Google. You can either build your own NAS running it out of a Raspberry Pi (using either NextCloudPi or Ubuntu Appliance), or use a host like CloudAmo (will give you a full managed server instance with an admin account) or Spry Servers (managed Nextcloud accounts with no admin rights).

If the Synology idea appeals to you with a pre-build hardware RAID box but you don't want to go the Pi NAS route, you'll get more machine for cheaper with longer warranties and less hardware and software lockdown if you go ASUSTOR.

And definitely de-duplicate files to thin stuff out a bit.
« Last Edit: March 31, 2021, 11:34:26 AM by Daley »

FINate

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Re: How many/what kinds of computer backup?
« Reply #10 on: March 31, 2021, 11:42:45 AM »
Ok, color me curious -

What, exactly, are folks doing that requires so much backup? The only data my wife and I generate that we want to keep long term is pictures (mostly from phones) and scanned docs of kids' art/schoolwork.

I have redundant USB drives for long-term physical storage (nearly all of it is just family pictures), and then we just use Google/Amazon Photos to backup any pics between when I backup other files.

We do have a couple important docs that we keep stored on physical media too, but no more than maybe 10MB worth...

Mostly photos and videos. The NAS moniker is dated as the newer ones are a lot more, basically a private cloud on your network. And I can access it remotely and from apps on my phone.

For example, the Synology Moments software is very similar to Google photos in how it automatically organizes photos by time and place, and the face recognition feature works pretty well to group people. So I can organize my photos/videos on disk however I choose, but then the software digests the metadata to organize it and make it searchable. New photos automatically upload from our phones. I can do things like put a bunch of stuff into an album and share a link with my in-laws, which they can access from another state without having to upload a bunch of stuff to the cloud or send in emails. All of this and I don't have to share all my personal info with Google.

It also provides a DLNA/UPnP media service for files on the device, which means I can access our music and videos and whatnot from our TV and from the media apps on my phone.

I also run their Surveillance Station software for IP security cameras (free for first 2 cameras, one time license fee for additional), which means no sending of video to Ring (or whatever) and no monthly subscription fees.

Of course, it also provides network file systems for syncing files between devices, which is nice to have.

Consolidating all this stuff on a device designed to safely store, organize, and backup data means all our other devices need very little storage and we generally don't need to worry about backups elsewhere. And it's also more focused on open standards and interoperability and privacy than the big tech clouds.
« Last Edit: March 31, 2021, 11:46:05 AM by FINate »

chemistk

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Re: How many/what kinds of computer backup?
« Reply #11 on: March 31, 2021, 01:31:20 PM »
Ok, color me curious -

What, exactly, are folks doing that requires so much backup? The only data my wife and I generate that we want to keep long term is pictures (mostly from phones) and scanned docs of kids' art/schoolwork.

I have redundant USB drives for long-term physical storage (nearly all of it is just family pictures), and then we just use Google/Amazon Photos to backup any pics between when I backup other files.

We do have a couple important docs that we keep stored on physical media too, but no more than maybe 10MB worth...

Mostly photos and videos. The NAS moniker is dated as the newer ones are a lot more, basically a private cloud on your network. And I can access it remotely and from apps on my phone.

For example, the Synology Moments software is very similar to Google photos in how it automatically organizes photos by time and place, and the face recognition feature works pretty well to group people. So I can organize my photos/videos on disk however I choose, but then the software digests the metadata to organize it and make it searchable. New photos automatically upload from our phones. I can do things like put a bunch of stuff into an album and share a link with my in-laws, which they can access from another state without having to upload a bunch of stuff to the cloud or send in emails. All of this and I don't have to share all my personal info with Google.

It also provides a DLNA/UPnP media service for files on the device, which means I can access our music and videos and whatnot from our TV and from the media apps on my phone.

I also run their Surveillance Station software for IP security cameras (free for first 2 cameras, one time license fee for additional), which means no sending of video to Ring (or whatever) and no monthly subscription fees.

Of course, it also provides network file systems for syncing files between devices, which is nice to have.

Consolidating all this stuff on a device designed to safely store, organize, and backup data means all our other devices need very little storage and we generally don't need to worry about backups elsewhere. And it's also more focused on open standards and interoperability and privacy than the big tech clouds.

Gotcha!

I know plenty of people who are interested in and build self-hosted/"off-grid" type stuff, but I've always wondered what folks are keeping. Thanks for sharing!

Ok, color me curious -

What, exactly, are folks doing that requires so much backup? The only data my wife and I generate that we want to keep long term is pictures (mostly from phones) and scanned docs of kids' art/schoolwork.

I have redundant USB drives for long-term physical storage (nearly all of it is just family pictures), and then we just use Google/Amazon Photos to backup any pics between when I backup other files.

We do have a couple important docs that we keep stored on physical media too, but no more than maybe 10MB worth...

It's a hobby for some people. Check out https://www.reddit.com/r/homelab/

I think if I had taken a different path in life & interests (as opposed to lab science), I could see myself getting into this - definitely cool.

LinLin

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Re: How many/what kinds of computer backup?
« Reply #12 on: March 31, 2021, 05:10:51 PM »
Thanks for all the experiences/advice! I have to say that a lot of this is way over my head. :) I thought I was doing a lot, but some of you are doing  (what  seems like) way more!

As for what I'm storing, I want to keep pretty much all the files from 24 years of self employment, plus a lot of photos and some random documents/files.

I already went through my laptop at the beginning of the year and did a thorough clean-out; for example, I got rid of all the huge sound files of interviews I conducted. Everything I wanted to keep but didn't need on my laptop, I uploaded to Google Drive.

But I do have some BIG files. My son is an actor and I like to keep all his self-tape audition files on my laptop.

I guess part of the issue is that I have my iPhone, where I don't want to lose photos/videos (hence the iCloud subscription, where it will all sync to the cloud) and a laptop (hence the Carbonite for what's there, and Google Drive for what's not). So maybe this is not too much I'm paying for?


Daley

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Re: How many/what kinds of computer backup?
« Reply #13 on: March 31, 2021, 06:59:20 PM »
I guess part of the issue is that I have my iPhone, where I don't want to lose photos/videos (hence the iCloud subscription, where it will all sync to the cloud) and a laptop (hence the Carbonite for what's there, and Google Drive for what's not). So maybe this is not too much I'm paying for?

First, it's important to understand that cloud drives like Google Drive or iCloud or OneDrive or Nextcloud aren't data backups in the traditional sense, since they're designed to asynchronously update with any and all file changes, so if it's deleted or corrupted or changed in one location, it's gone or corrupted or changed everywhere. They're more like network drives in that regard. This isn't to say they don't usually have file revision history and a temporary recycle bin to recover from, but they aren't backups in the traditional sense.

Actual backups, like what Carbonite or Backblaze or CrashPlan do aren't asynchronously updated. They take snapshots of directories and files at specific times for archival and catastrophic data recovery purposes. This also isn't to say that you can't potentially use cloud drives for actual backup storage, but that's besides the point and a bit beyond scope.

The iCloud prices aren't terrible for async live cloud storage, honestly, but unless you're regularly storing more than 1.2TB of data in backup archives, the Carbonite prices are... and of course there's always the privacy concerns with Google.

Here, have a friendly overview of how to set up Duplicati to back up to Backblaze B2 to give you an idea of how easy it would be to ditch Carbonite. The instructions are platform agnostic, because Duplicati is a tiny little server that runs on any OS that you can change settings on through your web browser, and free software.

https://www.backblaze.com/blog/duplicati-backups-cloud-storage/

The nice thing about Backblaze B2 is you only pay for what you actually use instead of being charged a hefty fee for a huge promise of storage space you'll likely never fill up.



It does sound like you're running multiple platforms, though, given the divide between Google Drive and iCloud. Nextcloud has clients for all platforms, and does auto-syncing of stuff like photos on your iPhone.

CloudAmo has hosted, managed Nextcloud servers with admin access starting at $3/month for 100GB, which is half the storage for the same price as iCloud, but you gain the benefit of having a client for Mac, Windows, Linux, iOS, Android, weird stuff like Windows Phone... and you can set up accounts for family to use it, too, and directly share and sync all that with each other as well.

However, learning a little bit about Nextcloud before romping around in an administrator account would be advised... otherwise, stand alone Nextcloud accounts if you want to pay might be more your speed, as you have all the advantages of cross-platform support like with Dropbox and Box, but cheaper because it isn't proprietary. SpryServers aren't as cheap for this, but their shared accounts are a bit less oversold than CloudAmo's stand alone accounts, but CloudAmo's prices on those stand-alone shared accounts are free for the first 3GB, and ~3Ę/GB/month above that, with a ~10% discount on annual payments.

Not saying Nextcloud might be a perfect fit for you, or even the cheapest option, just that it is an option that's frequently cheaper than most other async cross-platform network storage services with a lot less datamining.

ender

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Re: How many/what kinds of computer backup?
« Reply #14 on: March 31, 2021, 07:05:25 PM »
Time Machine --> Synology NAS.

Backblaze as well.


Grif

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Re: How many/what kinds of computer backup?
« Reply #15 on: April 01, 2021, 02:34:42 PM »
If you're not a creator with massive amounts of files, and you also don't want to get too technical and deal with it all the time, but you still want to be safe with the 3-2-1 rule (3 copies, 2 separate local copies and 1 offsite) then you can do some really simple stuff.

I literally just have 3 2TB hard drives, and clone them every once in a while. One is already in my computer, and the other two I keep in a drawer, one at my house and one at my parent's house. Total cost $180.

I also have a SATA-to-USB cable so I can plug the hard drive directly into my computer's USB port to back up. (They make USB portable hard drives like another poster suggested, and this is easier although a bit more expensive.)
 
There are a couple different software that clone your existing drive onto another hard drive.

Whenever I start that youtube channel I might switch over to a NAS and a long-term-storage cloud solution.

I have the $2/mo 100GB Google Drive and the $1/mo 50 GB Icloud for similar reasons that you do. My 30 GB of actively used and actively rotating files are on Google Drive and I use it every single day. And I could trim that 30 GB down to even less if I really needed to. 5GB is a bit too low though.

As for security of files is concerned, I liked the previous poster who recommended safety deposit boxes. In that case you don't even need to worry about encrypting the hard drive. Encrypting it isn't too hard with VeraCrypt but even I being a tech nerd was a bit too annoyed with how many hoops I had to jump through to encrypt my drives so I didn't do it. I'm mostly banking on no one caring about my pictures, and for my financial files, I encrypt them with 7-zip (It's pretty easy to encrypt a folder with 7-zip.)

And then for data integrity, every couple years you may want to check up on the drives for any problems, and without getting too technical, if you start to notice it behaving strangely or your computer detects it has data integrity problems, then that's the time to immediately replace it. (A subreddit like r/datahoarder goes into WAY more detail about testing and caring for hard drives)
« Last Edit: April 01, 2021, 02:49:32 PM by Grif »

LinLin

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Re: How many/what kinds of computer backup?
« Reply #16 on: April 01, 2021, 04:02:05 PM »
This is all so interesting, thank you! My Carbonite won't renew for a while, and after that I'll try the Backblaze/Duplicati solution...it seems the easiest. And I didn't know about the 3-2-1 rule...I definitely need a couple of external hard drives!

Now that I think of it, though, I guess I need more storage than backup. I pretty much ran my business in Google Drive (since my employee worked remotely). When I closed it down last week, I transferred all the files to my personal Drive (which I pay for extra storage). My photos are also all in there, as well as other files I deemed important. But now that I'm not running my business, I probably won't be creating many important files...mostly home management stuff. So maybe ditch Carbonite altogether and go with the 3-2-1 rule, iCloud for my iPhone and Mac, and Google Drive?

NextTime

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Re: How many/what kinds of computer backup?
« Reply #17 on: April 01, 2021, 10:53:28 PM »
Ptf