May 242014

I often hear “I don’t need a backup I’m running a raid array” which is completely wrong. Raid has several types but most types allow for 1 or more dries to fail without losing data but this is not a backup it just keeps your storage online/active.


A backup is a separate copy of your data, as a rule if you don’t have 3 copies of your data you don’t have proper backups. 1=Live storage, 2=On-site backup, 3=Off-site backup.

Business user

Now the setup i use for my commercial clients is Raid 1 or 5 in the storage server (This is my Live storage), I then use a NAS box again with raid 1 for on-site backups which i normally locate in a different part of the building where possible. Finally i have off-site backup, now depending on the size of the data to be stored and the average churn of data i use: If its small i use an online server or service but for larger uses i use a simple external usb3 hard drive which is then taken off-site, the other factor for online backup services is the speed of your internet connection.

Here’s a real world example:
Server – Raid 1 with 4TB usable storage
NAS – Raid 1 with 4TB usable storage
Usb3 HDD – 4TB

This client has a really slow internet connection (0.3 meg upload) and a high churn rate on the data in excess of 250GB a week so it would take forever to upload so we have to use an external usb3 HDD.
The server sync’s its files with the NAS over a gigabit network and does this nightly. This give us a full backup but we can only go back 1 day, for some clients they require several days worth of backups in which case you need more storage on the NAS and use an incremental backup system or similar.

Home user

Now for the average home user your backup requirements will be different and can be done very cheaply. I use 2 backup solutions myself, a system like above for my critical business files and a simple backup solution for the non critical personal files (pictures/videos/documents).
I store all of these in a online sync service like Dropbox or Google Drive. This gives me a local copy plus an off-site copy that can be accessed anywhere in the world online. I have used Dropbox pro for years but am moving over to Google drive for 1 reason – Price, i can get 1TB of storage with Google Drive for the same price as 100GB with Dropbox.

In my next post i will discuss how i backup web-servers.

 Posted by at 5:08 PM