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Backup work-flow and reliability

claire · January 05, 2017 · Blog · 0 comments

Lets talks backups a boring subject.

In our house we have a rule, there is one kind of conversation we never want to have and it would go like this : “Ehhh sweetheart I lost all the pictures from XXX (insert any important moment)” In 2001 we had a data crash on a raid drive and lost all of our music. It was only many hours to get it back but a clear warning and wake up call. From that date on we decided we wanted to secure our data.

We started by :

  1. Removing the RAID
  2. Having 2 copies on 2 different drives inside the same PC
  3. We added a 3rd copy onto another Server
  4. As storage grew we upgraded the disks to avoid age related issues
  5. We bought a Synology NAS with the 3rd copy
  6. We installed Crashplan to backup between the PC, Laptop,Server and NAS and the Cloud

Now with 4 copies things where perfect ? Well almost. We started to take more and more pictures and it started eat up space and cost a lot to grow the storage every 6-9 month. Eventually we did remove the local copy on the server. As storage Grew we upgraded from a Synology 1813+ to a 2415 for more storage. We used the 1813 as the backup storage and disconnected to 10 year old storage server it was noisy and power hungry.

The solution was ok but not great.

  • We have raid with spare drive but no 2nd local copy
  • The backup server is sitting inside the same rack
  • Crashplan was beyond slow after 2 years I had backed up about 40% of my data. Daily backup was 6-10GB
  • New Data was growing faster than the backup rate
  • Crashplan and Synology don’t work well along
  • Crashplan and Docker did work for some time but eventually broke as well

We had to find a better solution. More reliable, faster, with remote backup for improved security in case of major damage. After reviewing on line solutions like : Carbonite, crashplan (running on a RaspperyPi, Amazon Glacier, Google, Microsoft, … In our case with our volume of storage these solutions get expensive very quickly.

After much frustration we realized that we had 2 Synology. We concentrated all on the 2415 reformatted the 1813+ upgraded the drives and installed the Synology Hyper Backup on both. Started the backup of all critical data from the 2415 to the 1813 this did take less than 2 days. After 1 week of testing I moved the 1813+ to my brothers home.

We both have DSL lines with 100/12Mbits. With the help of some YouTube videos the remote backup setup was super easy. After 10 minutes it was installed next to his Synology and ready to backup.

This new solution works beyond any expectations. After a Typical Photo session I will have between 6-20GB of raw files, and finalized Jpegs. The backup is set to start at 22:00 or 10pm and the next morning not after 6:00 is the backup complete.

It will totally saturate my upload for the whole time but so far we have not noticed any impact on our Internet use. My brother has not seen any impact on his side either which is not surprising due to the limitation of my upload speed

Here a screen copy of my Zeroshell firewall I recently upgraded this part too using a PC Engine Board If I had to get a new firewall today I would probably get a

Ubiquiti Unifi Security Gateway (USG) (Personal Computers)


List Price: $119.00 USD
New From: $99.00 USD In Stock
Used from: $129.00 USD In Stock

The long view over the last year

Looking at the graph you would believe that Crashplan has better performance, actually the new backup is so fast that the 6-8 hours of daily load makes only a little impact on aggregate throughput. Keep in mind I only managed to get up to 40% of my Data with crashplan in over 1 year. With the synology I did the initial backup locally and now only backup the new data every day.

On a monthly view you see the nightly spikes when the backups happen after almost 2 month I have 100% of my data backed up. I did test the restore 1 GB and it works flawlessly.

This may not be the cheapest friend but if you have a family member or friend willing to host your NAS you will have complete control over your backup. You don’t have to give permission to your data.

Depending on the distance you could drive over to recover the data. Or do a local restore on a hard drive and ship it over night

Today we use this as the main storage and music server

Synology Disk Station 12-Bay Network Attached Storage (DS2415+) (Personal Computers)


List Price: $1,370.96 USD
New From: $1,339.99 USD In Stock
Used from: Out of Stock

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