Home networks, Redundancy and Backups.

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  • Home networks, Redundancy and Backups.
  • Premier Icon vinnyeh
    Subscriber

    How do people handle this?
    Looking at moving all our media(photos, music etc) off the laptops due to space constraints, and running them off either our existing nas, or a new setup.
    Trouble is that at the moment it holds our Time Machine backups, as well as streaming video, and if it becomes our primary data source as well we’re pretty vulnerable to problems.
    What’s a sensible solution? Do I need multiple disks and raid of some flavour to provide redundancy, or is it going to be enough to backup the nas to portable drives, rotated weekly or so, to always keep one away from home?

    Premier Icon geoffj
    Subscriber

    Depends on your attitude to risk, but off site storage of some sort makes sense for many reasons.
    I use a combination of icloud, Dropbox & Flickr rather than piss around with disks.
    YMMV

    UrbanHiker
    Member

    Off the top of my head there as a few things to worry about…

    software/user error, ie accidental deletion, corruption, virus etc.
    hardware failure, ie disk dies, stolen, fire etc.

    To cover most of these, a “copy” held off site, rotated every week should be enough. Online/cloud could tick this box if your not talking too much data.

    If you really don’t want to lose stuff, you should “archive” copies off site (multiple sites).

    Its not that a comprehensive a reply, but should give you a starting point to think about what your trying to guard against, how much effort/cost your willing to put in.

    Premier Icon Cougar
    Subscriber

    Depends how current your backups need to be an how valuable they are.

    I just dump the lot onto a disk and take it to my mum’s. I retrieve it monthly / when I can be bothered in order to update it, but then for me rate of change is quite low.

    RAID isn’t backup. RAID can and does fail catastrophically, especially home fakeRAID type solutions. What you gain is primarily availability – it’ll keep ticking if a disk fails. It’s arguably better performance too, though what difference that makes in practical terms depends on the kit you’ve got and how you’re using it. I’d wager that in most home setups it makes no difference.

    There’s always the ‘cloud’ option too, ofc.

    Premier Icon ffej
    Subscriber

    I have a small NAS box with RAID.. then a removable disk to back that up.. which covers me for hardware failure… or accidental deletion.
    I’d still be susceptible to fire / theft. I suppose although most important stuff is backed up to dropbox and the like too.

    Jeff

    greeble
    Member

    get a dropbox account and pay a small fee for the peace of mind that they are safe

    Premier Icon vinnyeh
    Subscriber

    Thanks.
    Cloud’s probably not suitable for a full backup due to various reasons, not least of which is the ongoing cost for the data volume (there’s around 250gb of personal photos and video alone, between us) and speed. Wouldn’t the oneoff costs of the hardware be less in the long term?

    I’m looking at some synology boxes at the moment, which seem to have software capable of automating the backup to a usb drive attached to them, but am unsure what the relationship in size between the nas disk and backup needs to be- is it pretty much a 1:1 ratio, or does it need to be significantly larger than the expected volume of data?

    aidso
    Member

    How often is your data changing? What about a Blu-ray burner and burn your photos and videos off and store somewhere.
    I do this for all my holiday snaps as well as saving them to Flickr.
    For the websites I administer, I have a Dropbox account and run a nightly Cron Job to zip and move the sites to Dropbox and then I can access this anywhere.

    zokes
    Member

    What about a Blu-ray burner and burn your photos and videos off and store somewhere.

    I’d be pretty concerned about being able to find something to read a blue ray disk in a few years time

    Premier Icon zilog6128
    Subscriber

    There are online backup solutions available that offer unlimited storage for under a tenner a month. They work by uploading files as they’re changed (like Time Machine) but I’m sure you could set them to only upload at night to avoid killing your download speed during the day! It is the least convenient option in terms of recovering the data but IMO the most reliable plus it’s automated.

    The problem with on-site backups is they are susceptible to fire/theft and the problem with manual off-site backups is that you have to bother to do them. Also they are more susceptible to hardware failure IMO.

    Personally I do all 3 which I like to think covers all the bases!

    I’d be pretty concerned about being able to find something to read a blue ray disk in a few years time

    I don’t think this would be an issue, after all you can still get data off of 3.5″ or even 5.25″ disks if you really want to. The main problem with burned blu-ray/DVDs is that they apparently degrade over time and become unreadable. Having said that I’ve got CDRs which are 10 years old that still work!

    carloz
    Member

    I’ve got a Synology diskstation on my network that’s a RAID media server. I then run a Raspberry Pi with XBMC attached to my telly to play all the media through.

    MrSmith
    Member

    if you use a nas back-up box and rotate the disks with a copy off-site dont you need to track down the same NAS model if it goes wrong? i.e. the disks can only be read by the same model controller in the box?

    this is why i stick with jbod as i’m not tied to either hardware of software raid or a particular model of NAS. i can see why people or big businesses use them but felt it wasn’t for me.
    unless i have the NAS thing wrong? i’m happy to be enlightened on what happens if the hardware fails or if you can read the disks just by putting them in an ordinary dock and plugging in to your computer (mac in this instance)

    zokes
    Member

    Whilst I think there are various hackeryish ways around this, I’ve an ex-NAS HD-cum-paperweight sat on my desk that I’ve yet to convince either my PC or Mac to get data off. Spins up fine, it’s just got some odd file system. Next task is a crash course in UNIX and booting in Linux – that might get the data back.

    So no, not impossible, but a right pain, and that’s just a single NAS disk the controller went in. I would be very worried about the same happening in a RAID configuration, even set up as mirrored. If it can’t be read easily by a computer then if the controller dies, your HD might as well have died.

    Premier Icon vinnyeh
    Subscriber

    I understand the point about a hardware failure rendering the box useless but I would expect a manufacturer to provide a path to restore from a backup to a replacement of the same brand. Certainly synology seem to use the same o/s across all their products so there doesn’t seem to be any problem reading from a disk previously used by one of their products.

    Premier Icon zilog6128
    Subscriber

    Yes if you’re using something from a company who specialise in this like Synology or QNAP I can’t see it being a problem. Actual failure of the NAS hardware is pretty rare compared to disk failure anyhow.

    grahamb
    Member

    If you have the ability to do so, run daily checks against the drive’s smart status. You should be able to predict ahead of time when they’re going to fail.

    You can also get the drive’s temperature from smart. If the drives are getting hot they’re more likely to silently corrupt your data & cook the spindle bearings.

    I run nightly smart checks against the drives in my server & have any change emailed to me. If a drives looks like it’s going to fail i’ll swap it out, run Seagates seatool against it & assuming it fails get it rma’d.

    thebunk
    Member

    When I installed the disks on my new Synology it formatted them, so don’t be so confident of getting your data back from the disks easily if the controller fails. NAS is for network access, not for file back up.

    I leave a 500GB USB drive attached to my NAS that backs up the important files. I should have an offsite or cloud backup as well, but I live on the edge.

    If you want disk redundancy then multi-drive NAS boxes allow this, but I think it is a bit unnecessary for home use.

    Premier Icon Cougar
    Subscriber

    Sure.

    You know, I’m fast coming to the conclusion that home NAS is a big old barrel of “why?” It sounds appealing (after all, it’s essential in the enterprise) but it’s an added layer of often unnecessary complexity and expense. There are home / SOHO situations where it makes a lot of sense, but a lot where it doesn’t.

    And then of course, there’s RAID and there’s RAID. Entry level consumer units are a very different product to an enterprise grade stack. It might walk like a duck and quack like a duck, but it’s actually a pigeon and a tin of Dulux.

    Premier Icon amedias
    Subscriber

    Depends on your needs and what your primary goals are in terms of data retrieval, speed, security, volume of data, data delta etc.

    FWIW we run the following setup at home.

    > in-house NAS (using RAID for availability NOT security)

    For machines with local storage or that aren’t always on the LAN:

    > Hourly rsync snapshot on important data dirs. (The rsync scripts create 7day snapshots so we can deal with version retrieval or accidental deletions that aren’t immediately noticed) if the machine is on the LAN this is also replicated to NAS, if not it just continues with local snapshotting until it is on the LAN…

    For machines on LAN:

    > Storage mounted from NAS via NFS or iSCSI so very little data held locally, written straight to NAS.

    > NAS is Replicated to offsite archive overnight again using Rsync so only changed data transferred.

    > Offsite archive is replicated to alternative offsite archive just because I’m anal about it.

    This covers us for most situations including fire/theft/accidental deletion/hardware failure/Disk failure and remote access.

    It also has the added benefit of being fairly portable, the backups are made to (encrypted) containers which are mounted on the NAS/Remote sites so are file system independent in terms of moving backups around/mounting on alternate machines.

    Took a little while to setup but not too much hassle and has been running for the past 5 or 6 years without problems, just add more storage when required, cost not much more than the the cost of Disks and ~100 quid on the hardware for the local NAS, remote locations are either another NAS or Servers that I already have in use for other things.

    If you don’t want to put something together yourself then see if you can find a decent NAS that either supports remote replication or allows you to backup to an external drive as well and be organised with rotating an offsite backup, or use an online storage provider, they are relatively cheap now.

    ericemel
    Member

    Have a look at Bitcasa infinite drive – I am about to test it out as a total backup for my 5tb Windows home server (currently running raid)

    Premier Icon vinnyeh
    Subscriber

    Cougar, it didn’t take much hunting round for me to begin to agree with you on both issues- I’m looking at the nas box as not much more than a file server/streamer, and have downgraded my expectations accordingly.

    Amedias, where do you archive your data to offsite- my concerns are the ongoing cost, and access speeds of putting too much stuff on the cloud, against the one time purchase of a couple of USB drives.

    Bitcasa seems to have mixed reviews…

    nicko74
    Member

    How about…
    – NAS at home, RAID 5 if you can be bothered, or not if you don’t want to
    – many of them now come with cloud backup type things (eg Netgear), but as you say, that’s quite a lot of internets to upload it all.
    – but back it up to a 500GB USB drive every so often, and take that drive to work.

    Tada!

    Premier Icon amedias
    Subscriber

    Amedias, where do you archive your data to offsite- my concerns are the ongoing cost, and access speeds of putting too much stuff on the cloud, against the one time purchase of a couple of USB drives.

    A combination… I have a couple of offsite servers that are used for other things as well but cheap VPS’s work just as well ~£5 a month can get you a low spec box with plenty of storage, depends on how much data you actually have.

    Often the key bit in keeping costs down is recognising what data you actually *need* to backup (photos/files etc, basically irreplaceable stuff) versus stuff you don’t need (downloaded videos/films etc)

    I only backup stuff offsite that I need, other stuff I keep on the NAS and accept the risk on, decent RAID normally gives you the chance to backup to a local USB disk in the event of disk failure as well.

    bensales
    Member

    My setup is two MacBooks that both…

    1) Cloud backup using Crashplan
    2) Time Machine backup to Time Capsule
    3) Dropbox for cloud access to data rather than full backup but it’s pretty much complete
    4) Email is all Gmail-based so irrelevant in backup terms.

    The Crashplan is both backing up about 200GB from each laptop. I have a 120mb connection, so it’s not a problem. Plus Crashplan can provide and accept physical discs if needed.

    Reasoning behind all, is if one ‘backup’ fails out of Crashplan, Time Machine, Dropbox, or the laptop itself, then three other copies exist from which to restore.

    Media is centralised on a 4-drive Netgear NAS. This is setup so that there are two pairs of drives in RAID, and one pair just duplicates the other pair. As media is ‘backed up’ on physical media (ie what I bought it on), this is mostly just convenience. If a drive or pair of drives fail, it’ll rebuild. If the NAS fails, I can put the drives into another NAS. If the house burns down and takes out the lot, physical media included, well then, it’s just a bunch of films and songs and not that important. All the important stuff is cloud-based backup.

    Premier Icon amedias
    Subscriber

    – but back it up to a 500GB USB drive every so often, and take that drive to work.

    This is the bit most people fail on… they start with good intentions, do it a few times, then forget…

    Automation for offsite really does make sense

    zokes
    Member

    Actual failure of the NAS hardware is pretty rare compared to disk failure anyhow.

    Well, in the past five years, I’ve had:

    1x 40 GB internal HDD die
    1x Icybox USB caddy die, killing its disk and nearly start a fire 😯
    3x Seagate 1TB USB caddies die, the HHDs from all but one of these are still going
    1x LaCie 1TB NAS caddy die, leaving me an intact HDD, but one with a very weird FS that I’m yet to properly get into with either Mac or PC

    So, that’s only one true HDD failure out of six data loss episodes, five of which were due to caddies or enclosures dying, rather than HDD failure.

    HDDs are pretty robust things. Consumer-grade home electronics less so…

Viewing 26 posts - 1 through 26 (of 26 total)

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