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Is my multi-computer backup plan realistic or even possible?

Jabbit 11,042 1,387 February 8, 2016 at 11:18 AM More Amazon Deals
I am trying to backup a few PCs that are on the same network.

Desktop running Win 8.1 (10 in near future)
Laptop running 10
Laptop running 8.1 (10 in near future)
*Eventually a 4th laptop running 10*

My initial thought was to pay for either Backblaze or Crashplan. It is a non-profit so I'm not sure if we would be a "home" or a "business" as far as price.

But then I thought about a couple of these 4TB NAS drives - LINK [amazon.com] - 1 on site, 1 off site. The local backup would be faster, but then I would either have to A) Switch the drives in and out manually, once a week or so (which I don't really want to do), or B) figure out if I can have one of the NAS drives on a different network in a different physical location, still connect to it, and do a backup (incremental would be OK as a full backup this way would likely take forever).

Edit to add: So as an example, near real-time incremental backup to the local NAS from 8am-8pm, then a one-time incremental end of day backup to the off-site NAS backup. Does that make sense?

Network speed is 50/50. Looking to back up probably no more than 500GB right now.


Any thoughts? Rep for help. Thanks!
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#2
Can you run Crashplan on the system you'd be connecting the remote nas drive to? If so, you can use crashplan completely free by using crashplan to backup to a "friend." This would be my recommendation of its feasible and is how I currently back up my data.

If you can only access the disk as a nas, incremental backup will likely work fine. You just need to make sure that the software doesn't rewrite the base archive to merge versions. I don't have a great recommendation here though.

I used to recommend duplicati, which is designed specifically to do incremental remote backup with minimal bandwidth. Unfortunately they've been in the middle of a rewrite for far too long and I can't really recommend the old stable version or the new alpha.

Acronis true image has all the features you need, but the 2015 version is a buggy mess, or at least it was when I gave up on it a year ago. Maybe they've finally stabilized by now.

Curious if others have recommendations.
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#3
Quote from Jabbit View Post :
I am trying to backup a few PCs that are on the same network.

Desktop running Win 8.1 (10 in near future)
Laptop running 10
Laptop running 8.1 (10 in near future)

My initial thought was to pay for either Backblaze or Crashplan. It is a non-profit so I'm not sure if we would be a "home" or a "business" as far as price.

But then I thought about a couple of these 4TB NAS drives - LINK [amazon.com] - 1 on site, 1 off site. The local backup would be faster, but then I would either have to A) Switch the drives in and out manually, once a week or so (which I don't really want to do), or B) figure out if I can have one of the NAS drives on a different network in a different physical location, still connect to it, and do a backup (incremental would be OK as a full backup this way would likely take forever).

I believe the network the PCs are on has 25Mb upload speed, but I will verify.


Any thoughts? Rep for help. Thanks!
What kind of backup are you wanting to do (just specific data folders, entire image, etc) and how much data are you talking about? How often will you be backing up?
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#4
Quote from quotidian View Post :
Can you run Crashplan on the system you'd be connecting the remote nas drive to? If so, you can use crashplan completely free by using crashplan to backup to a "friend." This would be my recommendation of its feasible and is how I currently back up my data.
I can do that, but I wanted to use the drive as a NAS at the other site, not have to use it connected to a PC all the time. I did some digging and while "headless" configuration isn't supported, Crashplan does offer details on how to do it.
Quote from mmathis View Post :
What kind of backup are you wanting to do (just specific data folders, entire image, etc) and how much data are you talking about? How often will you be backing up?
I suppose specific folders would be good enough. Probably 500GB across 3 computers. Would love to have real-time backup which is what Crashplan offers. Pictures, documents, etc. Normal files.

So as an example, real-time incremental backup to the local NAS from 8am-8pm, then a one-time incremental end of day backup to the off-site NAS backup. Does that make sense?
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#5
I would check to see if Crashplan has a non profit pricing. I know lots of companies offer special non profit pricing. How much data are you talking?
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#6
Quote from LiquidRetro View Post :
I would check to see if Crashplan has a non profit pricing. I know lots of companies offer special non profit pricing. How much data are you talking?
Good point, I'll ask them to see what they say. Updated the OP, probably no more than 500GB right now across 3 machines, maybe going up a bit when a 4th machine is added. That is why I figured a 4TB would do a decent job at incremental backup.
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#7
CrashPlan allows you to sync between computers you own without paying any fees (for home use at least). Another option is BitTorrent Sync: https://www.getsync.com/

There are also several rsync implementations for windows.
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#8
Any other tips/advice?
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#9
Security is important. Some scheduled backups to media that isn't connected all the time can be a good idea. Avoid mounting network shares by drive letter.

There have been a number of incidents that got some press where a cryptolocker type virus encrypted all network drives at a company or non-profit.
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#10
You just need to create an image for your PCs and you can use clonezilla for that then you just need to backup the working files. If a computer dies then you use clonezilla to reinstall windows and all your apps update your license keys then restore the user files treat them as 2 separate backups.

You can use the NAS do a differential backup every day then a full on Sundays. You could get something like the 5TB seagate personal cloud drive to have at your home to do offsite backups.
http://www.seagate.com/products/n...nal-cloud/


You can use Comodo free backup

https://www.comodo.com/home/backu...backup.php.

like I said use Clonezilla for your desktops then something else for the users folder.
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#11
Quote from komondor View Post :
then something else for the users folder.
And make sure users can't write to other locations on the c drive.
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#12
Quote from Jabbit View Post :
Any other tips/advice?
Many of the newer routers available today include a USB3 connector that allows you to create shared folders. You could install such a router, attach a USB drive and then share a folder on the drive to the internet where you or your backup choice of programs can access the shared folder.

This router should be installed in a remote location & you should consider configuring an encrypted VPN between the endpoints.

Question, would this router be installed in a "server room" ie: A secure climate controlled room with fire abatement equipment?
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#13
Quote from dale_101798 View Post :
Many of the newer routers available today include a USB3 connector that allows you to create shared folders. You could install such a router, attach a USB drive and then share a folder on the drive to the internet where you or your backup choice of programs can access the shared folder.
The performance of dedicated NAS hardware is always much better. Even an old PC re-purposed as a backup server yields better performance and security.
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#14
Quote from Jabbit View Post :
I can do that, but I wanted to use the drive as a NAS at the other site, not have to use it connected to a PC all the time. I did some digging and while "headless" configuration isn't supported, Crashplan does offer details on how to do it.
Yeah, without a dedicated PC Crashplan can be a bit of a pain to setup. Being written in Java, it generally likes a lot of RAM, which makes it difficult to get running well on underpowered hosts like those WD NAS boxes. Out of curiosity, I looked to see if anyone was running it, and surprisingly people are: http://mbmccormick.com/2014/06/in...-my-cloud/

That said, best I can tell these boxes only have 256MB of RAM. I can't imagine it works very well.

Quote from komondor View Post :
You can use Comodo free backup

https://www.comodo.com/home/backu...backup.php.
Secure backup from the same people that brought you Chromodo [google.com] Smilie

Quote from jkee View Post :
The performance of dedicated NAS hardware is always much better. Even an old PC re-purposed as a backup server yields better performance and security.
I'm definitely with you on the security angle. Unless you're going to put an alternative firmware that gets regular updates on the router, stock router firmware has had some pretty embarrassing security lapses. I think though that a mid to high end router is going to do at least as well as these WD boxes given their specs.
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Last edited by quotidian February 9, 2016 at 10:10 PM
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#15
Rep'd everyone, thanks. Basically I've decided I should buy 1 drive first and try to figure out how best to configure it for off-site usage. After that is setup, an in-house drive setup should be a breeze.

Quote from jkee View Post :
Security is important. Some scheduled backups to media that isn't connected all the time can be a good idea. Avoid mounting network shares by drive letter.

There have been a number of incidents that got some press where a cryptolocker type virus encrypted all network drives at a company or non-profit.
Good to know, I'll keep that in mind.
Quote from komondor View Post :
You just need to create an image for your PCs and you can use clonezilla for that then you just need to backup the working files. If a computer dies then you use clonezilla to reinstall windows and all your apps update your license keys then restore the user files treat them as 2 separate backups.

You can use the NAS do a differential backup every day then a full on Sundays. You could get something like the 5TB seagate personal cloud drive to have at your home to do offsite backups.
http://www.seagate.com/products/n...nal-cloud/


You can use Comodo free backup

https://www.comodo.com/home/backu...backup.php.

like I said use Clonezilla for your desktops then something else for the users folder.
Would you recommend those Seagate drives over a WD drive? I'll check out Clonezilla and Comodo. Thanks.
Quote from dale_101798 View Post :
Many of the newer routers available today include a USB3 connector that allows you to create shared folders. You could install such a router, attach a USB drive and then share a folder on the drive to the internet where you or your backup choice of programs can access the shared folder.

This router should be installed in a remote location & you should consider configuring an encrypted VPN between the endpoints.

Question, would this router be installed in a "server room" ie: A secure climate controlled room with fire abatement equipment?
I'm probably going to stick with network connections on both drives - on-site and off-site. I'd rather not use a USB drive connected to a router.
Quote from quotidian View Post :
Yeah, without a dedicated PC Crashplan can be a bit of a pain to setup. Being written in Java, it generally likes a lot of RAM, which makes it difficult to get running well on underpowered hosts like those WD NAS boxes. Out of curiosity, I looked to see if anyone was running it, and surprisingly people are: http://mbmccormick.com/2014/06/in...-my-cloud/

That said, best I can tell these boxes only have 256MB of RAM. I can't imagine it works very well.



Secure backup from the same people that brought you Chromodo [google.com] Smilie



I'm definitely with you on the security angle. Unless you're going to put an alternative firmware that gets regular updates on the router, stock router firmware has had some pretty embarrassing security lapses. I think though that a mid to high end router is going to do at least as well as these WD boxes given their specs.
Thanks for the links, that helps.
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