Best home-based solution for backup of multiple terabytes


I will soon be building a new computer from Newegg and plan on having either 6 or 8TB of usable space in a RAID5. As I have recently gotten into photography, I am starting to need more storage and envision that a good bit of the space will be taken up in the future.

With that said, I am wondering what is the best way to store nightly, incremental backups of the photo and other data on the RAID.

My first though was simply to build another computer with a similar raid setup, and rsync nightly, but that seemed kind of overkill. I don't know what a good solution would be using external drives since it would have to span many of them and they would have to stay powered on every night for the backups. I have also looked at the 10TB personal use DROBO, but its nearly twice what it would cost to build another computer just to store the data from newegg.

What are other people doing in this situation? The host PC will be windows 7 and the backup PC (if I go that route) can be either windows or linux, whichever makes life easier.

Thanks for any help.
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More about best home based solution backup multiple terabytes
  1. Build your own Windows Home Server and add all the drives you want. Not a big deal. In fact, you can even recycle an older PC (make sure it is 64-bit for WHS 2.0), 2 to 4GB of RAM, and all the HDDs you desire. My current WHS rig has 9TB of disk space and backs up all of my Windows machine nightly with zero fuss.
  2. Thanks for the reply, which application are you using to perform the backups?

    It seems like building a machine with lesser HW but the same storage maybe the way to go
  3. This would be my recommendation too- build another machine with similar storage to what your workstation has, backup one to the other. With that much storage required you can use Raid 5 and it provides redundancy without too much duplication. I would also recommend some form of off-site storage. I don't know what the most efficient way to do this would be but you can buy 3TB external drives fairly inexpensively, back them up at your location and carry them offsite. If your total data storage is 6TB then a pair of these drives would do it, but it might require some partitioning scheme in order to allow you to fill one and not have to carry it back and forth. You could have 4 external drives, leave 2 of them offsite and carry the other 2 into the office with you. Another alternative would be to put your backup server offsite and connect through the net, creating your own cloud-based backup system. Yet another option would be to actually use a commercial cloud-based backup service.

    That's a lot of data. I've been taking digital photos for 6 years and have 60GB of files. Our engineering company has been in business for 11 years and the sum total of data that we have generated is 300GB. I and we do a variation of what I described above- backup the workstation/server with duplicate drives, then backup that on external drives that get moved offsite.
  4. Best answer
    The most reliable backup strategy means keeping at least two offline copies of your data and preferably having one of them offsite. If someone breaks into your home, your computers are prime targets for theft. A backup server won't do you any good if it's been stolen along with your original data.

    With, say, 6TB of storage, chance are that a huge part of it is pretty static and never changes. You really don't need to do regular backups of that stuff - just make copies of it on multiple external drives.

    What I do with my photo and video projects is to have "current" and "archive" folders. The "current" folders hold this years files. Near the start of each year I move last year's files over to the "archive" folders and copy them to my external drives. I keep one set of drives in my bank safety deposit box. I checksum all my files and each time I swap the onsite and offset drives I run scans to verify that all of the data is readable. That way if there's a problem I can recover the data from another source.
  5. attic said:
    Thanks for the reply, which application are you using to perform the backups?

    It seems like building a machine with lesser HW but the same storage maybe the way to go

    WHS has a client on the PCs on your network that handles automatically when you schedule the backup. Very simple to operate.
  6. attic said:
    which application are you using to perform the backups?

    There are lots of different backup programs.

    At work we use batch files running xcopy or robocopy, scheduled to run automatically each day. We do it this way for the simplicity.

    At home I was doing that same thing until I had a problem with backing up to NTFS and then I got a more elaborate "sync" program.

    I don't think a person should have a more complicated system than they need, but lots of different levels of sophistication are available. The important thing is to do it and do it regularly.
  7. Best answer selected by attic.
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