First, I like Option A the most.
Here's an image of my server setup:
- I use RoboCopy. I run it from a CMD file that is invoked automatically by Task Scheduler. I have nothing against the others (well, SyncToy turned out to not be able to do 1 or 2 things I wanted so I gave up on it); RoboCopy is just my preference.
- I have no comment on the cloud services as I don't use them. My bandwidth cap makes it impractical.
- my WHS2011 Client Backups are kept on the same drive as my Data Pool. They get backed up to a Nearline external storage box AND an OffSite storage box, along with my data. The backups are done using RoboCopy.
- I don't know if it's industry best practice, but storing data 'flat' as you say, is my own best practice. It has worked for me for a very long time.
- The Scheduled Tasks that backup from my WHS to the NearLine and OffSite units are on my WHS. I have another Scheduled Task on my Win7 main desktop that RoboCopies My Documents to the server, and then back again (because I may have put new files into those folders on the server from another computer).
- I keep the OS backup external, and rotate 2 drives offsite.
- I do not include any data in the server backup. For me, it's a means to restore the server OS in case of catastrophic failure.
- IIRC, the eSATA port on the N40L is NOT multi-port aware.
- whether or not to use encryption is really up to you. It depends on how sensitive the data is, and how likely it is that it might fall into the wrong hands.
Top Shelf (left to right): CyberPower UPS, Lian-Li EX-503 for NearLine storage, Lian-Li EX-503 for OffSite storage.
2nd Shelf (left to right): USB fan to cool external drive, external drive for server OS backup, Lian-Li WHS chassis
If you look closely, you will see that the Lian-Li EX-503's are labelled NearLine and OffSite. Every night, data (including client backup files) is copied from the internal 4-drive RAID-5 array to the NearLine and OffSite boxes by Scheduled RoboCopy Tasks. The OS is backed up to the external HDD dock every night as well.
Every morning, the drives in the OffSite EX-503 are removed and placed into a Pelican 1300 case for transport to the offsite location. A second Pelican case at the offsite location is brought home, and its drives are installed in the EX-503 OffSite box for that night's backup.
I didn't know Google had a datacenter in Canada!