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Ask Slashdot: Simple Backups To a Neighbor? 285

First time accepted submitter renzema writes "I'm looking for a way to do near-site backups — backups that are not on my physical property, but with a hard drive still accessible should I need to do a restore (let's face it — this is where cloud backup services are really weak — 1 TB at 3-4mb downloads just doesn't cut it). I've tried crashplan, but that requires that someone has a computer on all the time and they don't ship hard drives to Sweden. What I want is to be able to back up my Windows and Mac to both a local disk and to a disk that I own that is not on site. I don't want a computer running 24x7 to support this — just a router or NAS. I would even be happy with a local disk that is somehow mirrored to a remote location. I haven't found anything out there that makes this simple. Any ideas?" What, besides "walk over a disk once in a while," would you advise?
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Ask Slashdot: Simple Backups To a Neighbor?

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  • A colocation center? Do the initial backup locally then use something to replicate changes in the future?
    • I would use carbon copy cloner for the mac. as long as the remote drive appears mounted on your computer every once and a while, it will do the backup. You can configure it to automatically fire when the drive is mounted (also after the designated time period), so the not-always-on thing isn't an issue.

      Also not sure about the low-bandwidth restore. maybe you walk over for that one instance. Hopefully it's rare!

    • Agreed, since the original comment specifies "a site I own" then colo is really the only one that meets that requirement.

      If he were to relax the requirements a bit, there are many good cloud backup services out there that probably meet everything except the ownership requirement.

      Most cloud backup companies will be happy to dump a copy to disk and send the package through overnight shipping, or 2nd day, or whatever shipment method you are willing to pay for. You will need to pay for the disk and the shippi

      • by icebike ( 68054 )

        Agreed, since the original comment specifies "a site I own" then colo is really the only one that meets that requirement.

        Most people don't consider a COLO as something they own. You need someone else's permission to get in, yank your box, and it is also there for someone else to yank.

        For simple local fire protection, sometimes a guy you trust may allow you to park a machine on his network, (better if its outside his firewall, that way you don't become a target for blame). Running my own business, I just sync from the office to a machine in my home. But because sync is not backup for user errors such as deleting entire dire

    • Re:Colo? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Crazy Taco ( 1083423 ) on Sunday November 03, 2013 @10:44PM (#45321895)

      A colocation center? Do the initial backup locally then use something to replicate changes in the future?

      Too painful and expensive. This can be made much simpler. I have two sets of backups I keep: an internal 2 TB hard drive for local backups, and a pair of 1 TB external drives for off site backups. Every Monday, I unplug the external drive at my house as I head out the door for work. At work, I put it into my locker and retrieve the other drive, which I bring home with me when I leave for the day. When I get home, I plug it into the vacant USB and power cord, and presto: it's online and ready for backup! My software (I use ShadowProtect Desktop) does a full backup of the machine every Sunday night, so Monday mornings it is always ready for the swap again. It's a very quick and painless way to have offsite backups without spending a fortune on comparatively slow Internet bandwidth.

      • Re:Colo? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Crazy Taco ( 1083423 ) on Sunday November 03, 2013 @10:49PM (#45321915)

        One other note: this works as long as you have any semi-private place at work where you can put the drive. It could be a desk drawer or something else. I don't see any reason why there is a requirement that it be stored at a site you "own and control". Just put heavy AES encryption on the backups as I do, just in case the drive falls into other hands. Then your only real risk is financial loss of the disk itself. I know other people at my workplace that all do the same thing. And if you want heavier security and don't mind paying for it and taking extra time, a safe deposit box at a local bank is a good fallback, and certainly much cheaper then a colo. You'd have to have pretty deep pockets for colo space and the bandwidth to back up to and from that location, making it impractical for most people.

    • Re:Colo? (Score:4, Informative)

      by Nyh ( 55741 ) on Monday November 04, 2013 @04:19AM (#45323203)

      I am using a ReadyNAS Duo running Free BSD. The NAS is in a cupboard a a friend a few houses away.

      For syncing I use Unison. The initial backup was created onsite. Every night I run an incremental backup. When local drives are destroyed it is only a short walk to get my data back.

      It all works like a charm.

  • by toygeek ( 473120 ) on Sunday November 03, 2013 @06:22PM (#45320343) Homepage Journal

    If so, any remotely accessible computer (*nix box) with a wifi card will work.

    • if its within wifi range should his house burns down, so will his backup box, and multi-terrabyte backup over wifi won't be fun.

      realistically an esata enclosure stored a bit further away than a neighbour is the best way to go (maybe at work?) kept up to date with rsync (locally not over t'internet).

      this question has been asked countless times before. search box is top left.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by rwa2 ( 4391 ) *

        Yeah, better to just have a friend across the country, buy them a hard disk for their server, and swap rsync cron jobs.

        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) * <mojo@world3.nBLUEet minus berry> on Sunday November 03, 2013 @06:56PM (#45320597) Homepage Journal

          Network speed was identified as a problem by the questioner. With a neighbour, perhaps on the opposite site of the street where a fire is unlikely to spread, a fast wifi link could be used.

          On "pro" versions of Windows you can back up automatically to any network drive, including a low end low cost NAS. Doesn't Crashplan support backup to your own NAS as well as their cloud?

          • by rwa2 ( 4391 ) *

            I've sync'd a couple GB per night. Used bandwidth limiting option to avoid maxing out their DSL pipe. Can get caught up on most of my critical stuff over the course of a week or so. Enough for most important documents... and maybe my mp3 collection to boot. I don't bother mirroring my pr0n. Maybe it won't keep up with RAW camera files and video of my crotchfruit, but I generally don't care about those until I spend time to post-process the good ones and upload them to Google+ or GooTube anyway..

          • ok, when someone invents fast wifi we'll look at this again. personally i'll stick with 300mbps esata and walk across the street.

          • Network speed was identified as a problem by the questioner. With a neighbour, perhaps on the opposite site of the street where a fire is unlikely to spread, a fast wifi link could be used.

            If you use the right backup software -- something that is rsync-friendly (rdiff-backup is a good candidate), you only need to do a bulk-copy at the start, then the nightly changes are likely to only be 1-3 GB in size (if even that much). For a home office user who isn't do media (images/videos), they might only need t
      • by gl4ss ( 559668 )

        there's only few places on earth where wildfires are the major cause of burning down of houses..

        near site implies not going through the internet and for that wifi is obvious choice, really.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        Personally, I've started syncing my files to a USB hard drive running off a Beagle Bone, via wifi, that sits in my vehicle. It syncs at night after I pull in. Now there is the possibility that the house will burn down, take my vehicle in the garage with it, but I figure I'm covered for a large part of the time when I'm at work (since my car is with me then).

    • I've personally set up 17 mile wifi links - and I know guys who've setup 20+ mile links. Distance is an issue - but not much of an issue. You'll spend more on antennas and masts to reach those distances.

  • by SirSmiley ( 845591 ) <[siraraya] [at] []> on Sunday November 03, 2013 @06:24PM (#45320355)
    A neighbour? Why not hook up an external panel antenna to the side of your place aimed at their place and have a NAS with wifi on it (may need external antenna for your NAS as well but maybe not). Then you dont even have any wires to worry about and its still on your network...encrypt the NAS in case of possible break and enters..
  • rsync? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Giant Electronic Bra ( 1229876 ) on Sunday November 03, 2013 @06:25PM (#45320361)

    I mean that would fit the bill in terms of being a fairly easy automatic setup. Just rsync your machine to the remote backup at midnight every day, or you can even do it ever hour or ever 5 minutes if you want. Obviously any scheme can run into "you have too much data to deal with RIGHT NOW" but there's no cure for that. I guess the other option is sneakernet. You might swing something with a neighbor that involves using wireless. If the guy next door can pick up the signal from your router you could locate a NAS box in his place, etc. This of course presumes you really trust your neighbor...

    • We did something similar we got to portable drives that can connect to internet. They have a minimal Linux that we could term into, we then setup a rsync to pull the files from the servers. So no matter where the drives were plugged in if they could get to the internet they could get to our server and rsync files. So three of the company exec's took a drive home so we had multiple backups of key files.

    • by ls671 ( 1122017 )

      Definitely rsync. I backup 500 GB of data over slow links to remote locations. Granted, it might take you a couple weeks to set the first remote images but after that, it only takes a few minutes to update the images.

      Don't forget to use the backup dir options to keep a copy of deleted files or files that have changed. You can deleted them after a while. I delete them after 14 weeks.

      Use cigwin and rsync under Windows, for Mac, look at: []

      • I prefer to rdiff-backup to a local directory, snapshot (LVM), mount it as read-only, then rsync the rdiff-backup to the remote host. The read-only snapshot ensures that things don't change while rsync is working.

        This gives me a few advantages over just plain rsync:

        - The diffs are stored in compressed format. If a 100MB file changes, the diff is often only 1-5MB.
        - rdiff-backup has built-in command for aging out old backups, so its easy to backup nighty and keep 27 weeks or so.
        - Checksums of all file
    • by raymorris ( 2726007 ) on Sunday November 03, 2013 @07:04PM (#45320633) Journal

      "rsync at midnight". At 8:00 AM, discover that your filesystem got hosed at 10:00 PM, so you now have two copies of garbage.

      Do not just sync periodically. Approximately everyone I've seen try that method got screwed in the end. They'd discover that they got rooted two weeks before, they'd overwritten an important file two days before, etc. You must ROTATE and then sync to be doing anything more than pretending that you have a backup.

      The attributes of a good backup system:

      Backups must be fully automatic, otherwise you'll stop doing them regularly.

      Backups should be rotated. A midnight backup is useless if you are hacked at 11:55 PM, or discover a problem 2 days later. You must have access to older backups.

      Backups must be offsite. Fires and burglars will take your backup if it is on site.

      Backups must be accessible. As OP said, spending two weeks downloading your data isn't acceptable.

      Backups must be tested. Our experience with web servers indicates that approximately 60% of backups provided by hosting providers don't actually work when you try to restore them

      To meet all of the above requirements, we use an enterprise grade system called Clonebox. Other systems may be more applicable for home use.

      • by Giant Electronic Bra ( 1229876 ) on Sunday November 03, 2013 @08:23PM (#45321071)

        While I'm not arguing with your analysis, rsync is still a perfectly valid way to create offsite recovery copies of your filesystem, which is what the OP appears to desire. As ls671 noted, you can also use the backup dir option. You can also backup the remote server in whatever way you wish, which adds another layer. Along with backup dirs you can get a perfectly fine father, grandfather, son recovery set using something as simply as tar (though star will work better). Still rsync by itself will protect you from physical loss of your drive (theft, fire, etc).

        The point being, rsync isn't 'useless' at all, even just used on its own, and we really don't know all the other components of the OP's data protection strategy. Obviously we could devise some elaborate plan for him using various tools that would provide for every eventuality. Go ahead and do so. Frankly I assumed he was sophisticated enough based on his question to supply himself with those answers.

        • That's a higher quality response than often found here on /. when someone refutes a post, thank you.

        • More than that - using "--link-dest" you can have rsync create time-stamped backups with hard-links to files which haven't changed. I wrote a simple rsync backup script that does just this. Keep X days of backups each with hardlinks so as not to waste space. Initial backup is large, then just diffs every night since that one. Much better for my needs than normal backup utilities (bacula) which occasionally need to run full backups.

      • by module0000 ( 882745 ) on Sunday November 03, 2013 @08:43PM (#45321215)

        Clonebox is fine for home's not enterprise grade though, please don't represent that it is to the droves of slashdot readers.

        This is why Clonebox and similar solutions are not "enterprise grade":
        1) no deduplication
        2) no media lifecycle management
        3) no encryption keys that you control
        4) you do not control *where* the data lives

        You said "enterprise grade" - reason #4 alone clobbers that assertion.

        If you want to get "enterprise grade", please consider backup systems aimed at, well, *enterprises*.

        Some examples for you:
        1) Bacula (open source, requires an IQ above a demented bee to admin)
        2) Symantec Netbackup (expensive, IQ required)
        3) Commvault (expensive, minimal IQ required)

        Clonebox may work *great* for you and your business - by all means keep using it! Nothing wrong with plugging it either, but please don't plug it as "enterprise grade". Somewhere some new-hire slashdotter may take that as gospel and cost him or herself their job in the future - or at the very least look like foolish in front of their peers when they parrot it.

        • You've brought up some interesting topics. I bet you could ask some really good questions regarding the topics you mentioned. Instead, you chose to make ludicrous assumptions, assuming answers to the questions you could have asked.

          Do you have any reason to make any of those assumptions? What makes you think some companies, such as a certain insurance company, don't run Clonebox on-site, mirroring between their facilities? Are you familiar with the datacenter choices available with Clonebox, including t

        • If some new-hire slashdotter mays that advice as gospel, they deserve to lose their job.

      • One of the nicest things about btrfs (or any copy-on-write filesystem, really) is the ease of snapshotting. Just add a step in your cron job where after the rsync is done, a snapshot is taken. Then if you never send corrupted data over rsync, great! You can just ignore those snapshots and it isn't any more hassle to manage. But if you do have issues, you can walk back through the snapshots and pull out uncorrupted data from before whatever wiped out your source did so.

        You could adjust this for rotation, but

        • Now that's some interesting thinking. BTRFS/ZFS snapshotting capabilities certainly do open up a lot of interesting options. You could do similar things before but at the FS level it is damned convenient and much more efficient. I hope BTRFS hits production quality soon...

        • Snapshots can certainly be part of a backup system, and the btrfs variety can be a convenient local "undo" step, similar to the undo in your editor. The way they function is not appropriate for offsite backups, though, not without a solid validation regime anyway.

          The problem with btrfs snapshots is that if data is corrupted at any point, that data silently remains corrupted in future snapshots because they are copy-on-write. Suppose, for example, that your backup of your httpd.conf file gets corrupted at

          • I would think you could easily discover corruption in BTRFS since it has checksums [].

            And if you're going to complain about that, then you should use rdiff-backup over just rsync w/ links because rdiff-backup stores a checksum (SHA1, I think) along with the file data.

            There's also switches to force rsync / rdiff-backup to examine the entire file instead of just the size and mtime.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 03, 2013 @06:25PM (#45320365)

    parkour disk over once in a while.

  • by j-beda ( 85386 ) on Sunday November 03, 2013 @06:29PM (#45320397) Homepage

    Crashplan certainly does the "neighbour backup" quite well, and I think it is smart enough to wait around until both machines are online at the same time to do its magic, if you don't want to have the "destination machine" having to be running 24/7. You can use it to do the initial backup to an external drive and then walk that drive over to the neighbour's place for the subsequent incremental backups. One used to be able to buy a "Crashplan+" license which had a few more features like multiple backup sets for different destinations, but I don't see any way to get that type of license without signing up for a cloud backup subscription. Perhaps if you sign up for a few months and then cancel the cloud backup subscription part, your software might retain the "+" features.

    • by Enry ( 630 )

      Crashplan is really nice on both ends. The client doesn't get in the way of trying to back up, and the server on my linux box barely notices.

      I'm backing my wife's laptop and my mother's desktop to the Crashplan cloud along with my basement server as a 'just in case'. It's been working really well so far.

      • I'm also using Crashplan to backup to my own servers (one here and one at a remote site)... I'm quite happy with it..

        Unfortunately, if Crashplan goes out of business, all of my backups are toast... You can't restore without contacting This is something I understand and acknowledge but it's important to note for people who may not already know.

        My backup actually saved my ass this morning in fact... I inadvertantly deleted some code I hadn't checked in yet...

  • Make sure you can trust your neighbor.

  • by lesincompetent ( 2836253 ) on Sunday November 03, 2013 @06:31PM (#45320411)
    1) Convince your neighbour to be a part of this;
    2) Dig a small trench stretching from your garden to your neighbour's;
    3) Lay a properly protected CAT6 ethernet cable;
    4) profit?
    Should 1) fail, do it surreptitiously.
    • by TWX ( 665546 )
      If you're crossing utilities rights-of-way with your trench then you could be in trouble without getting a permit from the municipality. You also need to know the actual depth that low-voltage needs to reach (which may be in 2' increments per utility, so you may have to go six or eight feet down to avoid the high-voltage electrical, telephone/cable, and natural gas elevations) and have to spend considerable amounts of money with both properties requiring building permits.

      Don't get me wrong, pulling in a
  • I used to be obsessive about having mirrored backups to an external drive. Over the years, I realized that my personal computer is not a business server and doesn't need to be treated like one. So my backup plan keeps only the most critical files in Drop Box, and the less critical stuff (things that can be re-downloaded, re-installed, or remade) gets packed up once a week in Windows backup.

    So my suggestion is have two external hard drives for large format media and keep one in a safe deposit box at the
  • by Zero__Kelvin ( 151819 ) on Sunday November 03, 2013 @06:35PM (#45320445) Homepage

    " I don't want a computer running 24x7 to support this — just a router or NAS"

    Routers and NAS Devices are computers that you leave on all the time.

  • by Marrow ( 195242 ) on Sunday November 03, 2013 @06:37PM (#45320471)

    If you can convince a friend to swap out his/her wifi router for a new one with the port you need, then all you need is to hook up a hard drive to the usb port on the back. Put a replacement OS on the router for additional features and you can use rsync over ssh. Since the wifi router will be an always on device, it would make a good backup target. Use dynamic dns or some homegrown ping system to find the router if it changes IP address.
    Of course, your friend better stay that way if he has all your data.

  • Amazon has AWS Import where you can send them your hard drive and they upload it to Amazon S3. They also operate in Europe. It's pretty pricey, though.
  • Btsync (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SB9876 ( 723368 ) on Sunday November 03, 2013 @06:42PM (#45320491)

    Bitorrent sync is a very simple way to go if you don't want to be too worried about backup administration. Just set up a read-only share for directories on the remote machine and put password protected encryption on the remote share.

    That will give you at least some measure of protection from the remote server owner reading your files and they won't be able to nuke your local copies. Btsync is the most no-fuss, transparent backup solution I've used so far. I've got 4 personal machines that it's syncing right now and aside from a couple minor issues in earlier releases, it's been reliable, fast and has a minimal amount of administration you have to deal with.

    • I have been considering using BTSync for backup. Maybe setting up a drive at my Mom's house, and backup critical data. Its good to hear that has worked for you.
      • I've been using it without issue for a few months to sync 2TB of media across a couple of computers. Transfers don't start immediately, but they go quickly once they do.

        They're apparently developing a feature where the folder on the other computer will be encrypted, allowing you to swap space with your neighbor and have off-site storage without him poking into your business. I'm eagerly awaiting this...

    • Relying on a propietary tool for backups is an awful idea - you can't be sure you can trust it, or that you will be able to restore this backups.

      • by SB9876 ( 723368 )

        That's an overly narrow view. Yeah, if you're dealing with sensitive data then btsync probably isn't for you. But for making sure that you've got backups of your music, photos, etc it's by far and away the simplest and most headache-free backup system I've ever used. But frankly, if your data is that sensitive, you shouldn't be storing it on a 3rd party server anyway.

        As for losing access to your data, there is no centralized server - it's all P2P. BtSync could get hit by an asteroid tomorrow and I'll st

  • What's the problem? (Score:4, Informative)

    by evilviper ( 135110 ) on Sunday November 03, 2013 @06:43PM (#45320501) Journal

    Where's the challenge? What's the piece you can't figure out?

    A DD-WRT compatible WiFi router with USB port goes for $30, and draws all of 2W of power. []

    Connect a USB hard drive, enable mass storage, and SSH access. Use sdparm to set it to spin-down after 30 minutes of inactivity. Install rsync. Give it a free dyndns address (or some other service that screws free customers less).

    Stick this contraption in a datacenter, under your desk in your office, in a friends/neighbor's house, etc. If you can't get them to open a port on their firewall, then you'll need to do "reverse SSH" tunneling, but it'll still work just a bit slower.

    Hell, if you can find a location to put it that's under a KM from your home, you could even skip the internet requirement, and use WiFi for connectivity. You could even do without the power grid, setting up a modest solar panel to charge a 12V battery... My USB HDD enclosure runs on 12V directly, and a $5 car cell phone charger can provide the 5V@2A the listed router needs: []

    In any case, you'd just need to figure out the rsync command-line options to run on your home computers to copy the differences over the wire with the minimal overhead.

  • by Skapare ( 16644 ) on Sunday November 03, 2013 @06:43PM (#45320503) Homepage

    What I do is make incremental backups to a set of 3 hard drives (which I just recently upgraded to USB 3.0 and 2TB each). I rotate them to/from my work location (but you could do this with a friend's or family member's house). I take one to work, and bring the other one that was at work back with me at the end of the day, and run the backup to it that night or the next day or two. I rotate about twice a week since usually a few days of lost data due to, say, my house burning down and destroying the backup drive, too, would be the least of my worries. So there is always at least one at home and at least one at work. If you are more paranoid, get 5 drives and do it more often. Or maybe use 2 sites away from home. If you work for the NSA ... uh ... nevermind.

    I use a black [] one, a red [] one, and a blue [] one. I did not get the titanium [] one.

  • by CohibaVancouver ( 864662 ) on Sunday November 03, 2013 @06:49PM (#45320547)
    "Walk over a disk once in a while." Seriously, just once a week trade a drive with your neighbour. I know this is /. where complexity wins, but jebus.
  • by DiSKiLLeR ( 17651 ) on Sunday November 03, 2013 @06:50PM (#45320559) Homepage Journal

    Wifi and BitTorrent Sync?

    I personally love BitTorrent Sync...

    • "I personally love BitTorrent Sync..."

      This is what I suggested. Then somebody bitched because it was "proprietary". Well... it is, but the proprietary part is no big deal. The protocol is robust and secure. As for any concern that the program might "call home" with its own secret key... well, that's what network monitors are for. The first time that happened, somebody would scream to high heaven, and its cover would be blown. So the there's about a snowball's chance in hell of a company like BitTorrent doing that.

      You know, I kind of like the

      • There are other issues with it being propietary. It might not call home and be INTENTIONALLY insecure, but it may be UNINTENTIONALLY insecure. There's no room for peer review, since it's completely closed.

  • Get a fire safe. Put your backups inside. Probably safer than having them in your neighbour's house as anything that could happen to yours could also engulf theirs. Get two drives so you can have one attached and the other in the safe. That's what we do at work as well as having drives go off site. Can't have too many backups. Of course, it does require some work but you can't really get away without some effort. Heck, if you have a basement you could locate your drives down there. Anything short of

    • Re:Fire safe (Score:4, Informative)

      by PPH ( 736903 ) on Sunday November 03, 2013 @07:02PM (#45320613)

      many larger fire resistant safes (gun safes, etc.) have fire stopped power and network feedthroughs. Put a NAS in one* and plug it into your LAN.

      *Assuming you have the justification to purchase such a safe for other valuables.

    • by xaxa ( 988988 )

      In Europe, most houses are built of brick (concrete, stone, ...) and a fire is unlikely to spread. (Do fires spread with wooden American houses? I wouldn't know, I assume the wood is usually treated.)

      Typical news articles with

  • by raymorris ( 2726007 ) on Sunday November 03, 2013 @06:51PM (#45320565) Journal

    I have three options I'll present for you. One matches your headline, one is cheap, and one is really, really solid.

    The option that most matches your headline would be to use a WIFI NAS at the next door neighbor's house. Use any of the many good backup software packages. More on what a "good" backup system is in a moment.

    Something I used to do was have two external drives. On Mondays, I'd switch out the drive in the house for the one in the car, which would go to work with me. The drawback to that is it's not fully automatic, so sometimes I'd forget or be in a rush. That leads us to the attributes of a good backup system:

    Backups must be fully automatic, otherwise you'll stop doing them regularly.

    Backups should be rotated. A midnight backup is useless if you are hacked at 11:55 PM, or discover a problem 2 days later. You must have access to older backups.

    Backups must be offsite. Fires and burglars will take your backup if it is on site.

    Backups must be accessible. As you said, spending two weeks downloading your data isn't acceptable.

    Backups must be tested. Our experience with web servers indicates that approximately 60% of backups provided by hosting providers don't actually work when you try to restore them

    To meet all of the above requirements, we use an enterprise grade system. It may be overkill for your needs, but then again the $8 / month version may be just what you want. It provides several offsite backups from different points in time and they are BOOTABLE. You can pull down a file or two, run a program or service remotely, or restore a full system.

    3-4 Mbps to transfer 1TB is no good, as you said, but you actually have 200 Mbps available if you use the system we use. If you need the entire 1 TB, not just a small part of it, the whole 1TB bootable drive will be delivered to your front door within 12 hours. You may know the old saying "never underestimate the bandwidth of a station wagon full if tapes.". With a 1TB drive, the bandwidth of FedEX is over 200 Mbps.

    What we use is called Clonebox. It's designed more for business, but it may either work for you, or give you some ideas.

    • I like the way you build up the solution from a base, adding robustness.

      I'd start with a different base - RAID 1 (mirror). He can keep a RAID 1 drive set going attached to his NAS. Backup everything to the NAS. Every so often, pull one of the drives and bring it to the friend's. Take the other drive back home and plug it in and let the RAID mirror heal.

      The next step, but one which would require slightly better hardware, would be to use zfs mirroring instead of RAID. This gives you more of a warm fuzzy feeli

  • You can use the free version, which only backs up once every 24 hours (but you can trigger manual backups). It'll tell you via several methods if it's failed to back up for more than a day or two, but I don't believe it'll keep trying until the destination happens to be online - if it can't back up at its 24-hour window, it'll fail.

    What you probably want is their Crashplan+ 10GB plan (~33/year in the US), even if you never use the 10GB of online storage. By getting the paid plan you also get the features of
  • As a hosting provider that went broke found out, it's not really a backup if a delete on one leads to a delete on another. Forget mirrors - go for something like amanda or many of the others and put the output on USB disk or whatever.
    • You can mirror today's files while not altering yesterdays. You can also use hardlinks to keep the directory tree for each day intact. rsync has an argument for this.

    • If he uses a plain old mirror, he can rely on Time Machine / Windows 7 Backup to do the versioning. Given his constraint of not backing up over the WAN, I'd gravitate toward hooking 2 or 3 USB disks up to a NAS, mirroring the drives, and periodically swapping one out to a friend's house.

  • by Tom ( 822 ) on Sunday November 03, 2013 @07:03PM (#45320625) Homepage Journal

    I backup my iMac to a Time Capsule over WiFi. It happens to be located in my home, but it could just as well be next door, wouldn't make a difference. So if your neighbour is what we city dwellers think "neighbour" means and not "the next ranch ten miles down the river", that might work.

    So basically, get a WiFi-enabled harddrive. Or a WiFi router with a USB port. Initial backup via USB or whatever, and incremental updates are usually small enough that they can happen in the background. On the Mac that's built-in, I'm sure there's software for Linux and maybe that hobby OS from Redmond a few people here use.

  • Why bother? The National Security Agency already backs everything up for you.
  • Even though the OP made a cryptic comment about Crashplan not shipping drives to Sweden, the free version works perfectly for just this task. I created the initial backup volume on a portable hard drive to avoid sending the initial backup over a relatively slow ADSL line. After that, I sneakernetted it to a remote machine, copied the backup set onto it and it does the incremental backups once every 24 hours. If the remote machine isn't on, the software is smart enough to wait until it appears on the network
  • Freedom of Information Act, they have everything on backup
  • How and what are you backing up? Continual structural disk images? Virtual RAID? Autonomous files with periodic synchronization?

    If it's the first two, how close is your neighbor? Close enough for a good 300mpbs 802.11n signal? Maybe with a WDS/client bridge or two? Would you be able to bury some conduit piping and feed through a CAT6 Ethernet?

    If it's the latter, a good software client with speed limit enforcement and pause/resume support should be adequate to run it over your Internet connection
  • Probably a only suitable for a pure Linux solution, but I have this setup using a raspberry pie, a usb harddrive (that has it's own AC adaptor), and rsnapshot. I mount a scp share that uses a truecrypt file volume. This way I get point in time snap shots, using all free software, and the remote computer doesn't need to know the encryption keys.

  • You might look into retrospect ( The have clients for macs and PC (and some flavors of Linux) and it's pretty easy to use. You can back up remotely (on schedule or on demand) and could restore locally of the hard drive. You & your neighbor can also back up locally onto a 2nd hard drive. The program has been around for 20+ years, it's reasonably price and the support is slightly above average. They have a free trial.

  • Beg/borrow/steal an old laptop that isn't be used anymore. Those only draw about 10-15 Watts under normal use, so are about the same as a router or NAS if you leave it on all the time. Plug an external USB drive into it if its internal HDD isn't big enough for your purposes. You can use Windows, Linux, or even OS X; but the common network sharing system everyone uses seems to be SMB and CIFS which is Windows native. That's not to diss the Samba guys - I think they've done a great job reverse engineering
  • What about keeping a drive/Time Capsule in a locking mailbox at the curb? Of course, power might be an issue, but maybe slip a 12V line up into the box from the yard lighting to power it, or even some solar cell set up although you don't want to attract too much attention that something electronic is happening in there. If nothing else, it could be a convenient place to swap or grab backups as needed that is relatively 'off site'.

  • I'll store it in climate controlled, above ground storage. I'll return it to you by fedex overnight or 2 day shipping if you need it back to restore a borked computer. I'll charge $100 per year which includes up to 2 shipping cycles sending the drive back to you.

  • There are several major reasons for backup:
    1) computer/drive/house is destroyed
    2) files were accidently deleted
    3) historic archive

    For #1 you have to find a way to restore onto new hardware which might have problems if you don't have the crypto keys off site too.

    For #2 a local drive is the best and most automatic but it has to be able to store several versions of files (why didn't Linux get the VMS file preservation option?)

    For #3 the best option is clone the hard drive every few months/years. Or better yet

  • OP: I don't want to use Crashplan because (incorrect assumption)
    Commenters: use Crashplan fool.

  • There's a lot of talk about wifi. That's just dumb. It's your neighbour. Run one nice ethernet cable. Put it into a proper conduit. Bury it in a small trench 18" deep. We're talking about 50' of ethernet cable.

    As for your neighbour's house burning down, it's crazy unlikely for two houses to burn at the same time. Assuming you have a fire department, they focus on keeping the fire from spreading. It's often way too late for them to save the first house, but very easy for them to save the second. Wh

  • Get two synology nas boxes. They support nas to nas backups. []

  • You have everything you need in your description...just dont use his computer!

    Buy a simple single disk NAS box. Then simply ask your neighbor, best friend, etc. (or relative across town) to plug it into their router (and tweak the port forwarding) so you can access it. Then use Crashplan (and something like to make sure you can always resolve to that share.

    I'd also suggest buying your data host a "thank you" gift of a brand new router that supports VPN (and remote admin so you can tweak) so you

  • Ok, the way I do it is via sneakernet (or truck-net if you will). I have one 'a' those hard drive plug-in devices, and every once in awhile, I plug in a terabyte drive, do a backup of my stuff, and drive it over to a friend five miles away, who has a fire safe. Swap the drive with the one already in there, and bring it back.

    ...but that's before I discovered Dropbox. Phase two will require a dropbox folder on an external drive that's mirrored with a similar dropbox folder on a drive at friend's location.

  • If you don't have an intermediary server, you'll only be able to backup when the receptacle is running. This isn't unique to crashplan, but rather is the nature of direct computer to computer communications. Honestly, Crashplan is the easiest I've worked with.

    Alternatively, you can setup an FTP server on their network reasonably easily, and backup to it regularly. This could be a special piece of hardware, like a $200 Synology Diskstation, or a Raspberry Pi with an attached USB drive. Or it could just b

  • by geekoid ( 135745 ) <dadinportland&yahoo,com> on Monday November 04, 2013 @12:48PM (#45326747) Homepage Journal

    Write to HD locally, mail it to yourself.
    If you always have one in transit, you're safe.

  • by AcquaCow ( 56720 ) <> on Monday November 04, 2013 @01:08PM (#45327017) Homepage

    Now that you can easily fit 3-6TB in an external enclosure, you can do some pretty flexible things with backups.

    Here's my system.

    Local 3TB drive in system, mirrored to 2nd internal 3TB drive
    Nightly, I rsync that data to a 3TB mirrored NAS
    Weekly I rsync that data to a 2nd 3TB mirrored NAS
    Monthly, I rsync to an external 3TB enclosure via USB

    When I go to the bank to deposit checks every month or two, I swap the 3TB external USB enclosure with an identical one in my safe deposit box.

    Only costs me $50 a year for the safe deposit box, and I don't have to worry about my neighbors breaking anything.

    Also, I have a 2nd manual version of my backup scripts featuring --delete for when storage starts to fill.

    -- Dave

  • LAS just had this (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Urza9814 ( 883915 ) on Monday November 04, 2013 @01:41PM (#45327469)

    Oddly enough I just caught an episode of The Linux Action Show last night that included a product that seems to have exactly what you'd want -- although it sure ain't cheap. Look for: DiskStation vs FreeNAS | LAS s29e03.

    I'm at work so I can't get the details for you right now, but they did a brief review of a 4-bay NAS running Linux, which has some "app-store" style functionality...and it's a full linux system. There's an app that'll mirror the entire NAS to Amazon Glacier, although then you've got your network speed bottleneck (though having a one-button restore may help there) but there's no reason you couldn't set one of these up with your neighbor or wherever and access it via whatever network. It's very high speed, very low power, but it runs an Atom processor and a Linux distro so you could probably just toss your favorite PC backup solution on there. Could probably also grab that Glacier or a similar app, set it up to constantly *restore* nightly, and push the backups out from your you're only pushing incremental changes which shouldn't be bad, and the drive syncs those up to a local copy every night.

All laws are simulations of reality. -- John C. Lilly