Celebrate World Backup Day by checking your backup storage and strategy

Humza

Posts: 1,007   +170
Staff member
World Backup Day: Today is the day to gather strength for dusting off that portable backup drive, examining the health of all your storage devices and re-evaluating your data backup strategy. After all, data loss is not a matter of if, but when. Spend some time on March 31, celebrated as World Backup Day, to ensure your important data is properly backed up.

The tech community thrives on the difference of opinion, where some passionate individuals usually bring out the pitchforks, keenly typing away their responses in debates around pros and cons of a particular operating system, CPU/GPU brand, or any other piece of computer hardware/software and associated IT practices.

However, one practice that's universally accepted and encouraged in tech is keeping a backup of all your important data, and doing it regularly. This data may be digitized albums of your old paper photos, GBs (or TBs) of games and media that you frequently access, or any other files and documents that you can't afford to lose. Don't have a list of currently installed programs? Why not make one today for some added peace of mind.

It's also highly recommended to keep a backup of your backup. Simply having one in the first place is a step in the right direction, but having redundant backups can be a life-saver in case your sole backup source gets lost, damaged or becomes permanently inaccessible.

Local storage options like HDDs or SSDs do fail eventually (or instantly on a bad day) but they offer speed, capacity, portability (if an external drive), and are cheaper to replace if you're proactive with backups.

Cloud storage, meanwhile, does have the convenience of being remotely accessible, quickly synchronizable and is stored off-site. However, your data is ultimately backed up on another company's server, which raises privacy/trust issues of its own, and it isn't a suitable option if you're handling very large files.

Regardless of where you decide to keep your backup, there are lots of free tools available to help you get going. Although it requires a good (and continuous) investment of time and money, you can also follow the 3-2-1 backup rule, which is a widely recommended strategy for safeguarding against data loss. It implies:

  • Creating 3 x copies of your data
  • Storing 2 of these copies on at least 2 types of storage media (e.g. USB flash or external drive)
  • Keeping 1 of these copies off-site

Following this plan will ensure you're not putting all your eggs in one basket. If you find your backups are ballooning in size, then it may be time to invest in network attached storage (NAS). Having lots of disk space on your network is not only good for backups but also opens up other possibilities like creating a media server or an easily accessible data repository.

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QuantumPhysics

Posts: 6,308   +7,247
Because games are DLC now, my games in STEAM and those other services: Origin, Bethesda, etc - are cloud storage.

My entire library of old pictures and "home made videos" and "vacation videos" exists on a HDD and a 2TB Western Digital My Cloud.

I believe my personal files make up less than 2TB - including all my pics, videos and music downloads while my games make up less than 4TB.

I bought a 8TB Samsung as my main PC drive and loaded EVERYTHING to that drive - with space to spare, but I kept my pron collection on a single MX500 Crucial 2TB drive seperated from everything else - but backed up to the NAS.

What I am ultimately waiting for is a price drop on the 16TB SSD from Sabrent or Samsung. I will gladly blow $1000- $1500 on it in my next build. Then I can back up everything-Everything.
 

yRaz

Posts: 4,400   +5,123
To anyone wanting to build a NAS on a budget, There are lots of used enterprise drives for sale on ebay at stupid low prices. Many of them are fine and are swapped out after so many hours as a preventative measure. Reliability might be a concern but just I put them in raid 1.

I bought a "lot of 10" 2TB HGST drives for $100. I have 8 of them in raid 1 and 2 extras as a replacement incase any of the others die. If you consider a good 8TB drive is $200 and you want to put them in raid you'd have to spend $400. $100 for 8TB of raid 1 storage is a pretty good deal, especially since I have backup drives to replace any drives that might fail.

It's a good option for people on a budget. Or if you have some disposable income and are just looking for a fun project, it's a cheap way to get up and running.

I do have a bit of a buying used hardware on ebay problem.... I believe it's called "hardware acquisition syndrome"
 

Squid Surprise

Posts: 5,335   +4,980
I used to run my NAS using FreeNAS (I think they changed it to TrueNAS) on a spare PC with about 40tb of storage... I enjoyed playing with it - but it was fairly time-intensive.

While much pricier, I have to admit that my Synology 6-Bay NAS is almost maintenance free... and there's an app for almost any functionality you can dream of...

While you obviously have to pay for the HDDs to put inside them, their cheapest units start at just a couple hundred - and go into the thousands if you need a 6-core Xeon with 12 (or more) drive bays... I've been looking at a $4000 12-bay one and keep trying to find an excuse to buy it... so far, I've resisted temptation...
 

Geralt

Posts: 1,125   +1,738
I am captain Backup. I have backups in 5 different drives and in two clouds (just in case). Today I am celebrating!
 

Just Some Dude

Posts: 9   +1
So what backup software do people use. I use a combination of free file sync, OneDrive, a NAS, and iCloud (iCloud isn’t reliable though).,I think I need “version” capability to go back x days in case of malware
 

Geralt

Posts: 1,125   +1,738
To anyone wanting to build a NAS on a budget, There are lots of used enterprise drives for sale on ebay at stupid low prices. Many of them are fine and are swapped out after so many hours as a preventative measure. Reliability might be a concern but just I put them in raid 1.

I bought a "lot of 10" 2TB HGST drives for $100. I have 8 of them in raid 1 and 2 extras as a replacement incase any of the others die. If you consider a good 8TB drive is $200 and you want to put them in raid you'd have to spend $400. $100 for 8TB of raid 1 storage is a pretty good deal, especially since I have backup drives to replace any drives that might fail.

It's a good option for people on a budget. Or if you have some disposable income and are just looking for a fun project, it's a cheap way to get up and running.

I do have a bit of a buying used hardware on ebay problem.... I believe it's called "hardware acquisition syndrome"
And what is the advantage of having two drives in a NAS setup, for example, over having them through a USB connection (like external drives)? I never understood that topic completely.
 

yRaz

Posts: 4,400   +5,123
And what is the advantage of having two drives in a NAS setup, for example, over having them through a USB connection (like external drives)? I never understood that topic completely.
Room for expansion in the future because you don't have all the money for the drives at the time of purchase. Get 2 20tb drives now and 2 more later when you need them. But I don't really see the point in buying a NAS specific case unless you want to do 6+ drives. I have 8 drives in a standard computer case and a spare motherboard I had with 8sata ports and 2 non NVMe m.2 ports
 

Geralt

Posts: 1,125   +1,738
So what backup software do people use. I use a combination of free file sync, OneDrive, a NAS, and iCloud (iCloud isn’t reliable though) I think I need “version” capability to go back x days in case of malware.
I use Google Drive and Yandex Disk for the cloud storage. My favorite is Google Drive, but if they continue to sanction Russia, Google Drive could disappear here. Hence, my Yandex Disk choice.
 

Geralt

Posts: 1,125   +1,738
Room for expansion in the future because you don't have all the money for the drives at the time of purchase. Get 2 20tb drives now and 2 more later when you need them. But I don't really see the point in buying a NAS specific case unless you want to do 6+ drives. I have 8 drives in a standard computer case and a spare motherboard I had with 8sata ports and 2 non NVMe m.2 ports.
Thanks, friend! Oh well, more than 6 drives in NAS is very tempting. I will think about it.
 

Squid Surprise

Posts: 5,335   +4,980
I need a 4TB NAS SSD.
I want lightning fast access times.
Well, you can actually build one (or buy one) fairly cheaply... I suppose the best (and most expensive) way would be to purchase 4 1TB SSDs and put them in a 4-Bay NAS (or 4 x 2TB and have redundancy)... the thing with SSDs is that they aren't super reliable for storage - not sure it makes sense to populate your NAS that way... but as you are a 3090 owner, I'm assuming money isn't a problem.

Most Synology NAS boxes allow for an SSD to be placed for faster cache - so you could throw a 1TB SSD into a 6-bay NAS with 7200RPM HDDs inside... you'd still get pretty good speed - and it would be far cheaper.
 

Guybrush3epwood

Posts: 8   +5
Backup all our laptops in the house to a 6TB RAID1 Synology NAS.
That gets backed up every month to two separate 6TB USB drives (as had 1 fail before). Before work from home with covid I kept one USB drive at home and 1 in my office (off-site).
Since Covid, I use iDrive (not apple iCloud) to replicate all my NAS data to iDrive every night which is my off-site.
 

toooooot

Posts: 1,509   +753
I just bought my first synology box, hoping Seagate exos drives will give me many years of trouble free backup.
 

QuantumPhysics

Posts: 6,308   +7,247
Well, you can actually build one (or buy one) fairly cheaply... I suppose the best (and most expensive) way would be to purchase 4 1TB SSDs and put them in a 4-Bay NAS (or 4 x 2TB and have redundancy)... the thing with SSDs is that they aren't super reliable for storage - not sure it makes sense to populate your NAS that way... but as you are a 3090 owner, I'm assuming money isn't a problem.

Most Synology NAS boxes allow for an SSD to be placed for faster cache - so you could throw a 1TB SSD into a 6-bay NAS with 7200RPM HDDs inside... you'd still get pretty good speed - and it would be far cheaper.


Well that's just it: I could build one, or retask my old computer to be one when I do a rebuild a year or two from now - but I prefer the reliability of a "built -not-bought" tested and warrantied product.

I'm not into DIY.
 

DZillaXx

Posts: 527   +676
I'm not into "DIY" for Home Storage either.

That's why I use enterprise grade hardware. My Dell T330 does a great job and super stable, like it should be. I run Truenas on top of ESXI, with my HBA Controller passed directly to the VM. It is the recommended method on running Truenas while retaining the ability for portability. Meaning I can upgrade hardware and move my VM's without any change,

There is no replacement for ZFS. Bitrot does happen over time, this is factual. You will probably not notice some flipped bits in a photo, but don't think your NTFS formatted HDD's are what you should be using for long term storage. Some NAS Boxes are starting to support btrfs, use it. I highly recommend a Raid 5/6 type of setup. And a Backup of your main storage pool is always recomended.

My Main Array is 2x vdevs (4x 5TB Toshiba X300 Drives in Raid Z1/each). That ends up with about 27TB RAW, but with compression and deduplication it can actually do more. This is where all my Plex Media Lives, along with a bunch of iSCSI disks, and my primary data drive for pictures/etc. I then have a SSD Fast array, with 12x 400GB SAS SSDs. These were all bought used, and is super fast. Maxes out my 10GB connection, while my main array easily does upwards of 600MB/s(its only two vdevs..). I have a disk shelf connected to my dell packing 8x 2TB HGST SAS drives as the backup to the SSD drives, as well as 3x 16TB Drives as a backup to my Main array. These drives go to sleep most of the day and only wake up at night.

My Pictures are also connected to my Onedrive, for super cheap storage for over 1TB. This is my cloud backup.

My Idle power usage from my APC UPS everything is plugged into, network and servers with all the POE cameras and AP units. Comes out to 240watts.

The system doesn't require any user intervention once setup, and stable as a rock. I've done plenty of Synology installs, we use them all the time for Cameras. Those are not too much easier to use, but their lack of ZFS really hurts their usage. Sure btrfs is comparable, but its no ZFS. ZFS is what the people really want. The Synology units do have software features built in that are really handy though. They are good units.


You shouldn't trust your data running on old PC's, with non ECC RAM and sketchy OS. At least nothing important you wouldn't want to risk losing. Raid is not a backup, but it is still better than a single drive. ZFS is what you'd want, btrfs is what you can settle for. Stay away from NTFS, EXT4, HFS+, etc for long term data storage.