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Thread: storage and backup

  1. #1
    Ausphotography Regular
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    storage and backup

    Hi all

    I am revamping the way I do things and I need to put in place a decent and EASY ( as in for idiots) to use back up and storage system for my editing PC. My current system is labour intensive, time consuming and a general pain in the ass. I currently have a variety of external hard drives which I plug in when I remember or can be bothered and back up photos and various other items deemed worthy of saving.

    What I would like to set up is some kind of system that automatically backs up the entire system and then automatically backs up the changes I have made each night and automatically mirrors the hard drive onto another so I have two copies.

    I think I am after a raid kind of setup but having had a look online the cost is faaaaar out of my affordability eg $1500 ++

    Can anyone suggest a good affordable, reliable option that does what I want ......up to a max of $300-$400

    My computer is pretty old and coming to the end of its life and I want to get this in place before the inevitable happens.......... Then I can carry it on with the new computer when I can afford to get one

    Ps all the techno talk about raids etc that I have read online is doing my head in and I still don't understand and can't work out what exactly I need to buy.......so dumb it down please

    cheers Karen
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  2. #2
    Lightbender Grant S's Avatar
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    Western Digital have a good solid solution called MyCloud for a lot less than $1,000 for up to around 6-8TB depending on the model you go for. If you need a lot more you can get their 16TB version for around $1200m. I have an older 4TB one which has been reliably backing up and where needed, restoring files for me. I personally prefer not to use the WD backup software and use a free utulity called Syncback Free which lets me choose how and what I backup, synchronise and where to. I've got a few other USB drives for specific backup.

    Because the MyCloud is LAN connected other devices can both be backed up to it and allow access as well as being able to access via the internet from anywhere. Care needs to be taken around how you secure the device if you are doing that though as the standard PASSWORD123 is not really going to cut it if thats what you use (I Can't believe that in this day and age that is still one of the most popular passwords used by people).

    There are also Belkin and Netgear versions of similar NAS (Network Attached Storage) devices which are all around the same price point. Like when buying cameras and computers, think about what your needs are; how much storage do you need?, Do you want to attach via USB direct to the device or via a network? Do you need to access it from anywhere or not?

    When it comes to RAID, the question is usually one of how reliable are the disks you are storing to likely to be? In most cases RAID 0 (No redundancy), is all you need because by making a backup you are already storing the data in 2 places. (Your PC and the backup). RAID 1 duplicates the data on both disks in the backup, meaning you now have the data in 3 places, in case one of the hard disks in the backup also fails. This also means that the overall storage you are buying is halved as instead of using all the disk space for one backup, you are backing it up twice within the same space. So if you buy a 4TB NAS which will have 2x2TB disks in it, and enable RAID 1, you will have ~2TB for each hard disk installed. (Its only about as there is a management layer overhead that takes up a small amount of space when you enable RAID 1 and up.

    Most of the low end NAS devices provide RAID 1. Each RAID type upwards of 1 gives increased protection by increasing the number of disks used to split the data and changing the way the data is spread across the disks, but the cost goes up exponentially as the number of disks increase and the complexity of data arrays goes up and for most home users RAID 1 is perfectly adequate. This article gives a reasonably good explanation for the different RAID solutions and how they work and how they differ from one another.

    If you are really paranoid about losing something you could either have a cloud backup service like Carbonite (costs vary based on who you go with and how much storage you are using), or just buy two NAS devices and after you make your initial backup have one located in someone you trust's home (as long as they agree to letting you use small amounts of their bandwidth each month), and set up your computer to back up/sync with both the NAS at your place and the remote NAS. Its probably cheaper than a real cloud service in the long run, but just as effective as long as everyone's networks are set up correctly.

    Hope this helps.
    Last edited by Grant S; 14-08-2016 at 3:29pm.

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    Thank you Grant that does help

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    First up: I'm a big believer in the notion that if something is important to you, you work hard(er) to do it right.

    And with that in mind, I'm now a bigger believer in the concept of MANUALLY backing up stuff that is important.
    Reasoning: I had a semi automated system of backing up my photos. It was semi in the sense that I still had to effect a few clicks of the mouse to get the system up and running, and really only took a few seconds to start the process.

    So, one click was to open the program. second click to start the first backup(from one drive to the first backup drive). Optionally, I then had to click the mouse button two more times, once to find the next backup disk, and then again to start the backup to the second backup disk.
    Really, 2 or 4 mouse clicks is easy peasy to do .. BUT!! .. being so easy it made one complacent. I'd just backup, just like anyone else would backup not really caring about what was being backed up, as long as the backup was taking place.
    Somewhere along the line, I (unknowingly) had backed up about 20 or so corrupted images to my secondary backup drive.

    The two purposes of having that secondary drive to back up too was 1/. as a form of insurance against files lost due to faulty hardware, and 2/.(the important part) to guard against data loss due to ineptitude on my part!

    I had a system of removable drives, using a docking station. When I first started backing up, the stupid docking station device had a major issue running over USB3.
    USB3 is seriously so much faster than USB2 .. but, anyhow. I think what happened was that as I started the backup process, the stupid device that the HDD was plugged into stalled, and corrupted some of the images.
    For about 5 years those now corrupted images were fine, until this docking station thingy came along. I noticed it all a few years back now, but I got complacent during the backup process.

    Summary: I'm a big convert to the process of manually backing or at least taking more care about what is being backed up ... at least sometimes.
    I have multiple backup devices.

    Using cloud services can be impractical for some of us.
    I cant ever imagine trying to upload and or sync 1.6Tb to the cloud. If you have a few hundred megabytes .. sure, easy .. but just back them up to a mobile device or whatever anyhow!

    NAS. best way to go.
    I started my NAS path with a very simple two bay device. D-Link DNS-327L if you want to look at some type of device that's useful and practical.
    More bays are better! Two would be the minimum you want.
    I'd recommend against ready made NAS devices with HDD already installed. Just get the device, and the HDD's separately. Separate HDDs because you want better HDDs than what come in ready made NAS devices.
    In my reading up on all this stuff, I've fond that everyone recommends the WD Red series HDDs as the best to use for this process. Durable and reliable(and fast).
    Ready made NAS boxes, or any ready made backup box will almost certainly use cheaper crappier internal hardware. The idea is you can't see it so it doesn't matter .. they maximise their profits!

    After a short while tho, I retired the D-Link NAS, but only because it lacked some features I also wanted to use.
    Nothing wrong with the D-Link NAS. I just upgraded to a 4 bay box, that has way more features.

    The D-Link cost me about $150-ish .. can't remember exactly, but something close to that.
    I purchased two 4Tb WD Red HDDs(about 200-ish each) .. so for just under $600 I had what I wanted back then.
    So if one HDD is enough for you to start with, obviously the price adjustment needs to be factored. But having a multi bay device makes it easy to increase capacity later on!

    Great system, always on(and barely any perceptible power usage), but the only issue is that it can take time to transfer data over the network, even on a Gigabit ethernet.
    It's not slowwwww slow, just not USB3 fast!

    Overall it's worth it tho.
    Not hard to setup.
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