Home Backup Project - Part 2: Plan!

Previous Posts:

The next step in this project was to visualize the future case - where should my data reside in working form and in archive form. Then, I had to figure out what's feasible now and what's feasible down the line. I can't just go out and buy a 4 TB NAS, though that thought has crossed my mind several times, and really, that still leaves something I have to go grab in the case of a fire.1

Another thought is that I might want a hard backup available at a secure, physical location - A bank's safety deposit box, or a family member's house, perhaps. If I had a blu-ray or HD-DVD burner, and could afford to have a stack of said media lying around, or if I felt like dropping money on a REV drive and its media, then perhaps that would be an easy solution. As it stands, my only option would be to burn 2-3 Dual-Layer DVDs (or one Blu-Ray) every 3-4 months and mail it to someone's house. Maybe there's another one out there, but that will require some investigation. I do not want to buy a set of external drives and ship them around. On the other hand, I do have two 60 Gb IDE drives sitting in the basement doing absolutely nothing, so maybe that's not a bad option.

This is what I came up with:

Data Now Initial Result Someday
Documents (10g) HDD, External HDD (manual) HDD, Online Backup, External HDD (automatic) Add Offsite HDD, NAS |
Digital Photos (16g) HDD, External HDD (manual) HDD, Online Backup, External HDD (automatic) Add Offsite HDD, NAS |
Music (200g) External HDD, Limited DVD backup External HDD, rsync'd HDD at work Add NAS |
Digital Video (2Tb+) DVD DVD Add NAS |
Application Installers (8g) Local SVN Repository Local SVN Repository, Offsite SVN Mirror Add NAS svn export |
Installation Media (??g) DVD and CD media DVD/CD -> DMG/ISO -> Local SVN Repository, Offsite SVN Mirror Add NAS svn export |

To get to Initial Result, the following should be accomplished:

  1. Evaluate online backup options, which seem to be:
  2. Install a large SATA drive (>= 300gb) for my workstation (at work) for my music and possible offsite SVN mirror.
  3. Investigate other offsite SVN mirror locations (family? cheap web hosting?)
  4. Get my local SVN repository in order. It's in pretty good shape but it can't hurt to re-think the structure a tad. Add a tree for installation media disk images.
  5. Convert all DVD and CD media to their respective disk image formats and checked into the SVN repository.
  6. Set up the HDD at work and rsync my data over.2
  7. Set up the offsite SVN repository and mirror my repository at home. Create a cron job to do it automatically every night.3
  8. Scan all of my really important, hard-copy files into PDFs and add them to the Documents tree in my backups.

To get there, I needed to purchase:

  1. A subscription to the online service of my choice:
    • mozy.com is about $54 per year, though if I sign up for 2 years, I get 3 months free.
    • The JungleDisk client is $20, and Amazon's S3 service is use-based, which also should translate to about $5/month.
  2. A large SATA drive. (TigerDirect FTW!)

Overall, what I came up with is not too bad. Some of the tasks, as they are planned now, looked to take a lot of time, but in the end, what they will save me in stress, anguish, annoyance and time spend re-building everything is invaluable.

After even more thinking about this, that last task of scanning important documents seemed a bit out of scope for this project, and I'll pick it up some other time. Suffice it to say that would take a LOT more time than anything else, and I also have a job and a wife.

  1. Still, it’s not a bad idea for the future.

  2. It might be smart to do this locally first since that’s a LOT of data.

  3. This shouldn’t take too much bandwidth after the initial load since I shouldn’t be messing with it too much.

Oct 16th, 2007