Survivalism & Self Sufficiency Topics > Home And Business Security

Data Backup Strategies

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My primary residence is 18 miles from my work.  I have a VPN and 20 Meg internet service at home and 15 meg internet service at work.  I picked up 2 QNAP NAS devices a couple of years ago on the cheap.  Spent the next year finding cheap hard drives and putting in about 8TB on each unit (Usuable) in a Raid 5 with hot spare on each device.  I run a Secure SSL VPN connection between home and work and the QNAP's have a built in "Sync to other Qnap" option.  So my local stuff is backed up locally and then synced to my work device.  The first time I set this up, I synced them at home on the same Gigabit network.  (about 2.8 TB of data).  They have been running for 2 years and the sync is block level so when I drop a new multi Gig movie from the camcorder or camera on the local side that is the only thing that takes time and generaly over night it has a full copy synced up again.

This was an expensive option.  The Qnaps run about $500 to $900 each.  (I got mine discounted for about half).  And then it took me a year to find and buy 10 x 2TB hard drives to fill them with.   But now it's out of site, out of mind.  Only takes a minute to access data and verify it's backing up correctly. 

Which brings us to the other elephant in the room when discussing backups.  How often do you test your backups?   

I used to do computer work on the side and for a local chiropractor in town, when I first started, they asked me to set up their new server and move their backup drive to the new server.  I went down and they had 2 tapes that they had swapped for several years.  Both tapes were worn so thin you could see through them.  The backups somehow could still be read, but with lots of errors.   I immediately made a full image copy of the system on an external hard drive and then burnt it to a DVD.  Set up the new system and set up a 6 tape (5 daily and 1 monthly archive) backup system for them. 

It's not backed up if you can't get the data out of your backups.  So they MUST be tested periodically.   

In case anybody else is thinking about using Synology's Cloud Station, be extremely careful with what, and how, you sync.  I've learned the hard way that iTunes gets seriously screwed up when Cloud Station accesses the iTunes folder, which cascaded into foul-ups with my entire podcast library and iPhone.  Being able to roll back 3 days, thanks to multiple incremental Time Machine backups (one was broken!) saved me.

This is a great thread.  Something that most people completely overlook in their preps.

I have actually set up a small network of QNAP NAS stations in 3 geographically diverse locations.  I have "cloud" access to my main device and it keeps all of my files synced with two other NASs that I have squirreled away in my parent's, and my sibling's houses.  I also use Amazon Glacier for the family photos and digital videos that obviously never change, they just get added to.

This solution is not the least expensive, but in my experience the reason why people loose data is because they either never do a backup or don't keep up with doing backups... The most likely piece of your computer (or NAS) to fail is the hard drive. I love this solution because you set it once and forget it until you notice that you're not receiving the emailed log reports.  Granted that's not necessarily perfect because things do happen and you could find that you need to go to the backup and it hasn't been synced in 6 months, but it's better than never having had a backup done in the first place.




--- Quote from: FreeLancer on August 05, 2015, 01:29:48 PM ---I've got the DS1515+ online now (only took me three tries before I finally figured out how to do the Synology Hybrid RAID equivalent of RAID 6) and using it as a target for my iMac's Time Machine, as well as Synology's Cloud Station app syncing my data and media folders (started last night and still grinding away).  I thought I was going to get rid of my 5 year old DS211j, but now I'm thinking of up-sizing and mirroring the drives and continuing to use it as a secondary Time Machine target, and also backup the new NAS's data to it periodically, at least until it runs out of capacity. 

--- End quote ---

Woke up this morning and noticed my DS1515+ had powered off and won't turn back on.  An online search showed that apparently there was a fatal flaw in the Intel chipset used in several Synology NAS models that would brick a certain number of machines without warning, just as mine did, and it's not fixable.  Synology extended their replacement warranty period on these machines into 2018 and my machine decided to hang on a year past the limit, so I'm out of luck until I can get another Synology box to put these drives into to pull the data off those drives.  And I'd literally just finished upgrading from 4TB to 6GB drives before it crapped out, a long process that took several days to get through, one new drive at a time. 

It just goes to show that having multiple drive redundancy doesn't mean squat if the box that controls them all gives up the ghost.  Meanwhile the ancient DS211j keeps chugging along and refuses to die.


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