Home backup solutions

I’ve been a CrashPlan user for over 5 years now. I’ve even sold friends and family on it, either the paid tier or free, between their own computers.

I’m backing up the Mac to the CrashPlan service. And to an attached hard drive. And to a hard drive attached to my wife’s PC. Then her PC backs up to her attached drive and mine.

And now…poof. CrashPlan is ditching the home market. When April rolls around, my account won’t be renewed and I’ll no longer have all those backups.

I looked briefly at Backblaze and Carbonite. Carbonite has a 250GB cap on “home” accounts, and I’m pushing 300. Backblaze doesn’t support external drives very well due to their 30 day retention policy. And neither have the “free between your own computers” option which will basically double my costs.

Arq looks promising, with the option to back up to a number of cloud services or even a local server/NAS (which I don’t have yet). I even thought about doing that all local (to a NAS), and then have a pair of external drives that I rotate to my safe deposit box monthly for offsite safety.

What are folks using?

Crap, I’d be stuffed if I tried to use that then. My photos alone are over 600Gb. In total I’ve got just over 2Tb stored offsite.

I’m actually using the MSDN subscription I’ve got through work. With the subscription I get US$230 per month worth of Azure stuff. My personal backup data takes up around US$95 per month, and I’ve never gone over the cap yet.
My NAS has Azure storage as a built-in option for the backup utility so it was pretty easy to set up.

I’m getting mixed messages about the 250GB cap on Carbonite. They say they’re unlimited, but there are reports that once you hit a certain size, they limit how much you can upload each day.

Time Machine to a volume hosted on a Synology NAS. The Synology gets backed up monthly to Amazon for off-site.

My only concern is I have no real way to thoroughly test recovery of the backups to AWS. If there’s an issue, I would expect it to take a while to recover them both for the transfer time and figuring out how.

I keep considering putting Mac OS X Server on a device for some other benefits, which might change the backup strategy a tiny bit, but I don’t think it will do much.

From what I’ve briefly read, they also have limits on music and video. You need a special subscription for music and video and anything over 4 GB in size has to be specifically selected to back up (no folder level selection). I haven’t looked too deep into it.

Backblaze B2

It’s not unlimited for a fixed cost, but it supports versioning, and given my data volumes, still cheap. I’ve used their web interface to do test restores, as well as from the command line.

If I wasn’t running on BSD and Linux, I’d be using their unlimited solution.

Hmmm…Synology can back up directly to B2. And Synology has software to back up from client computer to the NAS. Could I back up computers to Synology, then that section of the Synology to B2? Or maybe use Arq to back up computers to the NAS, then back that up to B2.

For the 300GB I back up today, B2 is only $1.50/month. Amazon Cloud Drive is $60/year for 1TB, which is the same as what B2 costs for the same capacity (ignoring download cost).

Yeah, I’m considering moving my backups to Backblaze after recent articles and discussions.

My concern with Amazon Cloud Drive, is they pulled access to the open source solutions, which made it pointless to me. If you’re not running one of their approved options, you’re SOL, and when will they change their mind again and revoke other clients?

As for cost, I’m also only backing up a few hundred GB of critical data, and the cost is down in the “drink one less coffee shop coffee a month” level. I’m quite happy to pay that kind of money for a reliable, accessible, backup service.

Oh, and Backblaze just posted a guide to migrating your data. It’s a manual process, unsurprisingly, but it focuses on how to get all the data out.

You can do all of the above.

Personally I’d go for the Arq to Synology, then Synology to B2 option.

I’m assuming you mean the cloud station server utility here - which is basically a real-time replication tool. This works mostly pretty well, but it has wigged out a couple of times for me and I’ve ended up with multiple copies of everything.

On the other hand, the hyper-backup utility (Synology to B2) is fantastic. Really easy to set up & use. I actually did a disaster recovery test* and that worked as well. I only did a partial restore because I didn’t want to blow out my Azure budget, but I’m pretty confident based on that test.

* yep, I know I’m not supposed to do that until everything has turned to custard, but I’m funny like that.

How does restore work in that case, @MikeP? Arq -> Synology -> B2 I mean. If I need a restore, can I pull it straight from B2 into Arq or do I have to pull it to the Synology? What about stuff I back up from Synology direct to B2, I assume I could pull that down to a computer directly.

There are several different ways to get it set up, but I’ll just go through the way I’ve done it.
I have everyone set up so they have a home drive on the NAS. I also have several shared document folders, photos, music, pretty much everything I have is stored on the NAS so there isn’t that much I need to back up from the PCs.
I’d strongly recommend putting as many of your files as possible directly on to the NAS for reasons I’ll explain in a minute.
I do still have all my PCs using Cobian backup though, as there will always be some stuff that needs to be backed up. Cobian backup just creates a zip file, so I can easily restore anything I need to directly from the NAS.
In your case, Arq would replace Cobian backup and you would back up (and restore if necessary) directly to(/from) the NAS.
There is a utility that Synology provides for Windows called backup explorer. It allows you to browse offsite backups from your PC and retrieve any file(s) you like. However, this will never be as fast as retrieving a file on your local network, which is why I recommend the backup to NAS option.

Hyper Backup on the Synology is actually pretty good and provides all the functionality (and more) that a home user could need.
It keeps track of your files, compares them to the backed up version, and only updates the backup if the file has changed. It also keeps a number of versions of the backed up files (I think it’s up to 30 versions or something like that).
This means that the initial offsite backup will take ages, but subsequent backups will be very quick. I have about 2.5Tb offsite, and if I recall correctly, it took about 3 days to complete initially. It now usually takes about 10 minutes per night, with some nights taking a bit longer.
I have 5 different backups scheduled each night, for different things (documents, photos, videos, etc)

The reason I recommend keeping as many of your files as you can on the NAS is this: If you do a backup from your PC, you will be combining all your individual files into a single backup file. If any one of those files changes, then the entire backup changes and will need to be re-sent offsite, taking a lot of time and bandwidth.
Another obvious reason for keeping your files on the NAS is that the NAS is usually a lot more fault tolerant than the PC.

A bit late to the party, but :

Do NOT use RAID-0 just because “big disk space”. Just not worth it.

At the least use RAID-1, or RAID-5, but strongly suggested is RAID-6. Or any other fault-tolerant RAID system will do nicely.

RAID zero is an indicator that you don’t care about your data (I have sometimes joked that it’s a measure of how many f*cks you give about the data). There are valid use cases, but darn few.

As for RAID-5, I know it gets a lot of bashing from certain circles, but it’s still valid IMO. I tend to run with RAID-1 or RAID10 (for various reasons, including those in this blog).

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Ahhh, thanks. Will definitely take a look at that setup. It do make sense.

I’ve been with RAID-6 for too long now, need to rethink it.

Thanks! :slight_smile:

I’m setting myself up for a huge fail here. Cursing myself, actually.

I have a couple of tb sitting in a box in Raid0 with movies and music. I did this because it is somewhat faster? I’m sure it was at the time.

I’ve never really worried about it. The drives shut down if they haven’t been used for 30 minutes, so they’re off most of the time.

Now, I’m looking into getting a new NAS with 4 bays and each drive would probably be 2+ tb. I haven’t really started to look at it yet, but know this won’t be cheap.

This is really only for storage. I haven’t done any kind of backup for about 20 years and haven’t had any problems.

Maybe once I get stuff moved to the new box I can reconfigure the old one as a 1 tb backup with redundancy.

I need to do something, I don’t do anything at this point. And now I have a bunch of old hard drives laying around that are the only location old pictures and stuff exist.

I need to go through everything and hook it up and get everything worth it off and do something about storage. I have old video tapes I need to rip too… which means I need to find the original video camera. hah.

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I moved a bunch of stuff to my Synology last weekend. I’ve also been converting media to a format I can store on it, which has the advantage of maybe I’ll actually watch the pile of DVDs I accumulated in my office over the last year or so. Ash vs. the Evil Dead, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, The IT Crowd (including a second, unopened copy of The Internet is Coming) and Spaced among others. (I’ve seen IT Crowd and Spaced… In both cases, I picked up the box set for the add-on bit that was produced after the main series and apparently licensed separately.)

I’m going to have to buy bigger HDs for my Synology. It should be an easy replacement, but I need to make sure I have a good backup before I do so. And buy a couple 4 TB drives (or larger). Which is not in the budget right now…

Still, need to do some more cleanup. Putting iTunes movies on the Synology is kinda pointless (as they can’t play properly). The Synology DS Video app is kinda-sorta useless, and I don’t think I can run Plex on my older Synology. Still considering solutions…

Maybe we should re-title the thread ‘Storage Woes’ or something similar.

I’m currently at a cross roads. I have a decent chunk of data that is mostly movies and TV shows for the media box. It consists of just a couple physical drives in a case which equals my Plex system. The media box needs an upgrade. I have a new 1070 card to go into it and it’s wheezing a bit so most of the cooling will be pulled and replaced. Basically, it’s getting a new case built around the old motherboard (it’s still pretty decent). The problem is storage. Right now I have about 4 drives and they are filling up so I need to add more and or replace existing drives. The original idea was to use the bigger case to just add some more drives but I’m back and forth now. I could add more drives (I’d be getting a couple 6 or 8 TB’s and replacing some of the existing drives as I have cash) but I could also look into a Synology. I don’t need redundancy since very little of this data can’t be gotten again and I’m hesitant to use the Windows Disk Spaces to do a JABOD. And I can use multiple drives in my setup, it’s not an issue. I’m just not sure which way to go, the NAS/DAS route with a physical box or just add to an existing case.