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Ask Slashdot: Best On-Site Backup Plan? 326

An anonymous reader writes "I know most people use backup services in the cloud now, off-site, but does anyone have good ideas on how to best protect data without it leaving the site? I'm a photographer and, I shoot 32GB to 64GB in a couple of hours. I've accumulated about 8TB of images over the past decade and just can't imagine paying to host them somewhere off-site. I don't make enough money as it is. Currently I just redundantly back them up to hard drives in different rooms of my house, but that's a total crapshoot — if there's a fire, I'd be out of luck. Does anyone keep a hard disk or NAS inside a fireproof safe? In a bunker in the cellar? In the detached garage? It's so much data that even doing routine backups bogs the system down for days. I'd love suggestions, especially from gamers or videographers who have TBs of data they need to back up, on what options there are with a limited budget to maximize protection."
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Ask Slashdot: Best On-Site Backup Plan?

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  • Offsite != cloud (Score:5, Informative)

    by flaming error ( 1041742 ) on Friday August 10, 2012 @04:41PM (#40951063) Journal

    There are offsite options besides the cloud. I shuffle hard drives between work and home. If you work from home, you could do the same at a friend's house or something.

  • CrashPlan Software (Score:4, Informative)

    by FunOne ( 45947 ) on Friday August 10, 2012 @04:53PM (#40951255)

    Unlimited backup for $5/mo to the cloud. FREE backup to other computers using their software which is cross platform on Windows, Mac, and Linux. I'd purchase an external HD(s), backup to it then get a friend to put it at their house. You can adopt the backup on their computer and then backup to their computer (FREE) and to your external HD(s) with their software automatically from your own computer.

    Or you can just sync it to the cloud, but 8TB might take a while to get everything up there.

  • by sirwoogie ( 979566 ) on Friday August 10, 2012 @04:55PM (#40951293) Homepage
    Uhh, he did say 8TB worth of data. Not knowing his internet connection, this is still pretty much out of reach for most residential services except extreme FIOS connections. If you factor in caps it could take a long time. For example, lets be generous and figure he has a 350G/mo cap. Even at this rate for 8 terabyes it would take nearly 2 full years to get it to the cloud without exceeding the cap. That's just for the upload. Same amount of time for the download. Now let's also say he didn't have a cap, and also had a great connection at about 50Mbps (which most of us don't in the US). That would take over 16 days full line rate accounting for overhead just to get it up there, same amount back down. If you had an unmetered Gigabit line, that might be one thing. Sounds like he's a starving artist with low budget. Gotta work with the requirements. I think sneakernet an array to a friend that you trust that lives far enough away from you or take them to work (if you don't work at home) are the best options.
  • Re:raid 0 swap (Score:4, Informative)

    by hawkinspeter ( 831501 ) on Friday August 10, 2012 @04:57PM (#40951315)
    Repeat after me:

    Raid is not a backup

    And RAID 0 is never used for reliability as it has no redundancy - the more disks, the higher chance of failure. You must have meant RAID 1.
  • Re:Offsite != cloud (Score:5, Informative)

    by networkBoy ( 774728 ) on Friday August 10, 2012 @05:00PM (#40951361) Journal

    I do this.
    Whenever I finish a project I make two copies onto notebook sata drives. One in my media vault (a mechanics tool chest with drawers that happen to be the right size) for reference, and the other to the bank deposit box. A deposit box that holds ~30 2.5" sata drives is $25/year.

    If there is even an event that takes both the bank and my house out at the same time, then I have vastly bigger problems.

    For active work I do snapshots onto a drive and my working set is on a mirrored volume.

  • Crashplan (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anubis IV ( 1279820 ) on Friday August 10, 2012 @05:01PM (#40951373)

    Not to sound like a shill (I'm a fanboy, which, while different, will sound somewhat similar in practice), Crashplan [] has a free option available where you and a friend can both run it and can use it to back up to each other. If you have a photographer friend (ideally in a place far enough away that you won't be hit by the same natural disaster), this can be a pretty good option. It'll likely take awhile to do the backups, however, and you'll also need to have adequate hard drives on hand to store not only your own work, but also your friend's, which may get in the way of going cheap.

    That said, for $140 (the price of a hard drive or two) you can get a 4-year subscription for their cloud hosting with an unlimited backup size. The company I work at uses their business-level product, and I recently started using Crashplan+ at home for my own computers. While it does take awhile to back up, it's painless to do so. At least so far, I prefer it quite a bit over Carbonite, which is what I was previously using at home.

  • by whoever57 ( 658626 ) on Friday August 10, 2012 @05:04PM (#40951415) Journal

    Why not get a firesafe? Some of them are rated for higher temperatures than house fires usually attain

    Because they are rated to prevent paper from catching on fire. And what temperature does this happen (hand in your geek card if you don't know the answer!): 451 Farenheit.

    Think your hard drive will survive 451 degrees?

    Yes, you can get a special fire safe to protect media, but it is more money.

  • by bingbong ( 115802 ) on Friday August 10, 2012 @05:06PM (#40951449)

    If you're going to put things in a fire rated container, there are a few things to consider. Those containers are not "fire proof" by any means. Get one whose rating is reasonably high as they will buy you some time.

    Most house fires are either a basic 'room and contents' or a much more involved fire where whole floors are exposed (and largely consumed) by flame.

    When you put your fire rated container somewhere, consider that fire burns upwards, and the thermal difference from floor to ceiling is around 400 degrees F on average. Before you put the container in the basement corner, remember that firefighters use water to put out fires. Lots of water. 150-200GPM per handline and 1000-2000GPM for the big pipes on the ladder trucks. Most of the damage in a house fire is from water. You'll get us much as 6-12 inches of flooding per floor (until the firefighters cut holes in the floor to drain it so the floors don't collapse.

    Also should the roof or ceiling collapse, the best places to have things are near the corners of the load bearing walls.

    This is my long way of saying store your fire rated container on a solid hardwood (not particle board) or metal shelf, about knee height on a low floor near the corner by load bearing walls. This way in the event the whole house is a write off, you still have a reasonable chance of saving some of your data and personal effects.

  • by Robbat2 ( 148889 ) <> on Friday August 10, 2012 @05:08PM (#40951473) Homepage Journal

    Look for a used LTO3/LTO4 tape drive, then bulk-buy tapes.
    Write each set of content to two tapes, ideally of different brands, and store in different places if you're really concerned.

    I've been backing up to LTO3 tapes for ~3 years now, i've got 50+ tapes, mostly in my safety deposit box at the bank (cost $75/year)

    LTO4 based on eBay prices right now would be an initial expenditure of ~$1k for the drive, and $25-30 per 800GB of storage.

    The cloud options aren't really feasible for me, as the upload time & bandwidth cost is horrendous.

  • by dgatwood ( 11270 ) on Friday August 10, 2012 @05:08PM (#40951475) Homepage Journal

    It works []. It really works [].

  • Re:Gluster (Score:3, Informative)

    by Errtu76 ( 776778 ) on Friday August 10, 2012 @05:11PM (#40951509) Journal

    Gluster can't be told where to store something. So even in a gigantic cluster you still run into the problem that 2 duplicates of a file can be located on two storage nodes that are physically near to eachother. Let's say right where your fire begins ..

  • Re:Offsite != cloud (Score:4, Informative)

    by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Friday August 10, 2012 @05:22PM (#40951629) Journal

    Which underscores the other necessity of backups, you must regularly test your media to make sure you actually have a backup. That's something I learned the hard way (and it didn't take any big-ass magnets sitting next to the archive tapes).

  • Re:A couple options (Score:5, Informative)

    by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Friday August 10, 2012 @05:32PM (#40951763) Homepage

    First, going strictly by your requirements, I would suggest either a fireproof safe or fireproof drive enclosure. I don't have experience with the enclosures, but the safe itself should be able to handle your normal everyday fire and protect your data.

    Most "fireproof" safes are only designed to keep paper from catching fire, which is higher than a lot of computer media can stand. You need to get a media rated safe, which has more insulation and is more expensive.

    However, I'd suggest that you don't store your safe at your location at all. Surely you have a friend or someone you know that would let you borrow a few square feet of their basement for the safe. This would create a physcial barrier that would enhance your securiy if not always convenient

    I'd go with a deposit box at a bank, so you don't have to bother your friend all the time. If you want to make regular backups then it better not feel like you're hassling somebody. For the money you save on the fireproof safe you can probably rent one for years.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 10, 2012 @05:46PM (#40951915)

    The spec states that it is only rated 1/2 hour for 1550F. This is enough for a small fire, but is not enough for a fully involved house fire. (Firefighter for 20 years :-)

    Store your backup offsite at a friend's/relative's house.

  • Re:Gluster (Score:4, Informative)

    by DragonTHC ( 208439 ) <Dragon.gamerslastwill@com> on Friday August 10, 2012 @06:11PM (#40952173) Homepage Journal

    there are better options than that.

    for starters, 100GB archival gold Bluray XL discs

    digistor makes them and guarantees them for life.

    If you buy a 25pk spindle, they include a free drive.

Machines that have broken down will work perfectly when the repairman arrives.