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Thread started 24 Dec 2012 (Monday) 09:38
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Help proof my backup system

 
ShutteringFocus
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Dec 24, 2012 09:38 |  #1

Here is my goal:

-Backup all my devices securely
-Fast recovery if needed
-Have access to my stuff from anywhere on all my devices
-Not have to think about it
-Not spend a ton of $$

I have two options I'm looking at (graphics attached).

Option One uses my desktop as a personal server and backs up everything to that. Then sends everything from there to the cloud via CrashPlan. I don't know a lot about CrashPlan, so any input is appreciated. The way I understand it I can use CP's free app to sync up all my devices with my desktop from anywhere they are connected to the internet. Then I can use the $49.99/year plan to back-up one computer (the desktop) to CP's cloud.

A disadvantage would be that if the desktop goes to sleep or shuts down, I cant access it. So if I'm out of town and the power goes out, I can't backup my laptop.

Questions about this plan:

When CrashPlan says you can Sync files across computers, does that mean that the computer with the smallest HD is the limiting factor? I.E. if I sync a 16gb iPad, a 120gb Laptop, and a 1TB desktop, does that mean my maximum amount of synced data can only be 16gb?

I want to be able to use the Desktop to hold everything from every device, but still be able to access something from that desktop using any of the other devices.

Any example would be if I create a file on location on my laptop, I want it to sync to my Desktop when the laptop finds WiFi. Then, 4 days later I want to be able to bring that file up on my iPad when I need to reference it by remotely going to the desktop or cloud and pulling it down even if I'm not at home.

The second plan uses a remote hard drive (like a Time Machine) which is then sent to the cloud. All devices sync to the remote drive and then go to the cloud.

Disadvantage here is that I still have the same power-outage problem. If power goes out on the remote hard drive, it breaks the backup workflow.

Questions about this system:

Is it possible for devices to sync to a hard drive even when they are not connected to the same network? For example, I go out of town and do something on the laptop. Can it sync to the HD connected to my router at home via the internet?

I'd appreciate any suggestions on how I can accomplish my goals.

Thanks!
Zach


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RDKirk
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Dec 24, 2012 10:19 |  #2

A disadvantage would be that if the desktop goes to sleep or shuts down, I cant access it. So if I'm out of town and the power goes out, I can't backup my laptop.

Set Windows to restart without needing a log-in. Obviously not very secure in itself, but it works for such a purpose.


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EL_PIC
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Dec 24, 2012 10:26 |  #3
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Use two HDs and windows BU


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ocabj
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Dec 24, 2012 10:27 |  #4

Wake On LAN


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ShutteringFocus
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Dec 24, 2012 10:43 |  #5

ocabj wrote in post #15403013 (external link)
Wake On LAN

What is that? I can wake the computer up remotely?

Will that work if the desktop is Windows and the laptop is Mac?




  
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tkbslc
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Dec 24, 2012 11:08 |  #6

This isn't really a viable solution unless you have very fast internet connections everywhere you go and you have smaller amounts of data. Large data will never sync across cell phone internet or wi-fi and then there is thw whole issue of security. Companies with huge datacenters and 8 figure IT budgets even struggle with this problem.


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RDKirk
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Dec 24, 2012 11:15 |  #7

This is mostly do-able, but not as you envision it.

First, if you've a lot of data to back up (and restore), the cloud is not yet an effective mechanism. Data transfer is too slow. If, like many photographers, you already have have a terabyte or more of image data, it can take literally days to weeks to upload initially. If you have to restore, it may take days or weeks to restore. So plan on using local storage to back up image data.

Using cloud storage for working data is quite feasible. There are also various ways to directly connect to your home server through the Internet (such as "Log Me In") that don't require a cloud storage server.


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tkbslc
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Dec 24, 2012 11:25 |  #8

Just backing up to your one main server over the web is no biggie. Having files sync to every device is asking a lot.


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ShutteringFocus
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Dec 24, 2012 11:43 |  #9

OK, so a much easier solution is to sync image files to something like Zenfolio which can be accessed on mobile devices, use portable hard drives for location stuff moving back to the server when I get home, and using a cloud option for data files?




  
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Jethr0
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Dec 24, 2012 12:09 |  #10

Is it possible for devices to sync to a hard drive even when they are not connected to the same network? For example, I go out of town and do something on the laptop. Can it sync to the HD connected to my router at home via the internet?

Yes. Easiest way is via a VPN connection. Many routers support VPN tunnels. I do this whenever I travel. Connect to the net at hotel, initiate a VPN connection, back up files. In my case my MacBook backs up to a time machine at home.

You will run into problems with the initial backup of what is likely a giant blob of data. All of the cloud stuff works ok if you trickle files to them. TBs of data will take "forever".

My solution involves all apple products backing up to a time machine which I mirror/archive to one of 2 USB enclosures. Every Friday I bring one enclosure to work, and bring another home from work at the end of the day, connect this enclosure to the time machine and run the archive again. Repeat infinitely. A catastrophic loss at worst would mean a loss of a week of data max. Recovery time is quick relative to cloud recovery....(which you should actually test one day if you use it...snails....). I upsized the two enclosures a year ago, and leave one of the old ones at the office for offsite storage, and one at home.

I previously had a solution where I had a laptop at my mom's place connected over VPN and it synced every day but that ended up being unreliable ... The backups would die silently.

I use iCloud for documents (contracts etc..all the small stuff).


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mike_d
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Dec 24, 2012 12:59 |  #11

I am a CrashPlan user. CP is not a data synchronization system. It is a backup system. Here's how it works:

Say you have a desktop PC and two laptops and don't want to pay for anything. You download and install the program on each PC, create a CP account, and log in to each computer's CP client with your account.

Lets say each PC has a Documents folder you wish to backup. You configure the CP client to backup your Documents and then choose the backup destination. You can point it to either (or both) of the other PCs in your account. The backup is stored in an encrypted state on the target computer. This encrypted archive can only be accessed by the CP client.

Since you are providing your own storage for the backups, CP is free. The CP client is intelligent and will take advantage of whatever bandwidth is available, or you can limit it. This means that you can do your initial backup at LAN speed when they're all in the same room, then backups will happen at Internet speed when the machines are elsewhere. You can also limit the bandwidth used or limit the time of day when it can backup. CP backs up only changes to files which enables it to keep a DEEP version history.

So say you've backed up Laptop1's Documents to the desktop PC. As I said before, the archive on Desktop containing Laptop1's data is encrypted and only accessible by the CP client software. But the cool thing is that you can be at the desktop PC and restore Laptop1's data to a folder on the desktop PC. Since the data is all local, this will happen very quickly. But, and this is a big BUT, you must be able to authenticate your CP client with CP's servers first. This means that if you are offline or CP's servers are down, or CP has gone out of business, you will be unable to restore that encrypted data sitting on your desktop PC.

So hosting your own backups gets you two things: No charge for data storage, and fast restores when you have physical access to the PC hosting the backup data. But it does depend on access to CP's servers to restore the data.

Here's how I'd do it:

Install Crashplan on each device that's a real computer with a real file system containing data to be backed up. I use the CrashPlan family share plan which costs $120/yr for up to 10 computers. Back them all up to Crashplan's servers. If the only data on the laptops is in the Dropbox folder, then just skip Crashplan on them and only backup the desktop to Crashplan. This fulfills the off-site backup need for disaster survival.

Put the data that actually needs to be accessible everywhere (which is probably a relatively small subset of your total data) on Dropbox. The Dropbox folder gets synced between all computers and can be accessed by dumber devices like ipads and phones through the Dropbox app.

The dropbox folder on the desktop PC then gets backed up to Crashplan's servers with your regular backup. This is an important step because I don't really trust synchronization as a backup. What if everything in your Dropbox folder on one machine got deleted? Those deletes would get synchronized to all of your devices. Not good.

I still recommend doing a full system image of each PC to a USB hard drive. This protects you in case of a hard drive failure or major file system corruption. A full image can be restored very quickly.




  
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drvnbysound
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Dec 24, 2012 13:05 |  #12

tkbslc wrote in post #15403113 (external link)
This isn't really a viable solution unless you have very fast internet connections everywhere you go and you have smaller amounts of data. Large data will never sync across cell phone internet or wi-fi and then there is thw whole issue of security. Companies with huge datacenters and 8 figure IT budgets even struggle with this problem.

Metro Ethernet... but, yes, it's EXPENSIVE!


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takai
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Dec 25, 2012 00:10 |  #13

I use a staggered 2 stage backup sync.
Firstly my desktop and laptop are backed up nightly (and manually) to an Onsite server using rsync.
My server then is backed up to another server 700km away at my parents house (and the offsite nature is reciprocated so I have a copy of their data).
Finally I sometimes rsync all of the data up to a server I have in the US. But this is only occasional as I don't have unlimited uploads here.

All critical files are also stored on another server in the UK (tax files etc) and all non media files are encrypted RSA2048. Photos are unencrypted but the servers are locked up tightly.

When I'm traveling I use a portable hdd w the laptop and if its a longer trip I try to post back USB sticks.




  
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ShutteringFocus
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Dec 25, 2012 00:11 |  #14

OK. Here's a new solution.

Laptops, iPad & phones backup over LAN to Desktop when connected to LAN. Desktop has RAID 1 full mirror inside the case. Desktop is backed up to cloud (only for recovery in disastrous situation like fire). When mobile devices are away from LAN, they backup to desktop somehow.

How can I make my mobile devices backup to the desktop regardless of where they are (i.e. over the internet)?

My working drive for live work is on a RAID 1 drive casing that will also be backed up to the cloud regularly. When I'm on the go, I eject this casing and take it with me to work on the laptop. It, of course, continues to backup to the cloud while on the go.




  
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RDKirk
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Dec 25, 2012 09:09 as a reply to  @ ShutteringFocus's post |  #15

Unless your data storage is small (which should not be true for an active photographer), forget backing up to the cloud. It's simply too slow; even after you have spent weeks backing up the initial bulk of your work, restoring would still take days.

There are different solutions for different purposes.

Your primary backup solution should be attached storage of some sort, redundant to two or three stages or more, ideally at least one stored offsite. Your redundancy methodology should have enough time built into the cycle that you would discover a data corruption (such as a worm or virus) before it has reached all the copies.

And a RAID mirror is not a backup solution, it's a high-availability solution. Having a real separate (and redundant) back up solution, a RAID mirror can be handy if your business cannot stand even a moment of downtime to restore a backup. That's not the case for most of us, even busy professional photographers.

The cloud is primarily a universal-availability tool, but you can also use the cloud as a combined high/universal-availability tool.


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