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chrisand

Complete Beginner, Don't Know Where to Start

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chrisand

Hi all,

 

I've been researching this, but there's so much information that I'm lost and I think asking the questions here could save me a ton of time. Hopefully some of you have the time to give me a hand.

 

I like to back up my data and have been thinking about a server for a while. I don't need much space, would just like my files safe and in my control.

 

I spoke with a friend (that I trust completely) and he suggested that a solid plan might be to use each others houses as off-site backups. I like the idea a lot. In addition, we could try to link them and use them to share files. Nothing specific in mind yet, just sounds cool.

 

Apparently, a good system is three drives, one of which is empty, and some software that will spot drive errors in the two active ones and initiate the empty one in such an event. Sounds good to me.

 

BUT, I don't understand the hardware or software requirements.

 

I've built PC's and have a rudimentary understanding of computer hardware, so I would be relatively comfortable if building is the way to go. I've looked at home servers from companies like Synology and WD. I've looked at mini-itx builds, old Dell Optiplexes, old HP units and more, but really don't know the best way to go.

 

The networking and software side I know next to nothing about. A program called BORG was mentioned. As was Unraid. As was installing Linux. 

 

Not being very concise here so I'll try to summarise:

 

  • Off-site back-up and file sharing servers at two locations, mine and my friends house
  • Fail-safe drives/software
  • 3*2tb Drives
  • Private connection between the two locations for file sharing
  • Low power (hoping I can run one under 100W)
  • Small as possible

 

Not going to post a budget, just that obviously spending less would be cool. Willing to pay for reliable drives, though. Second hand parts are OK with me if it's OK with you. Could go super cheap on bits while we get the hang of it then upgrade if we think it'll be worth it.

 

Advice much appreciated.

 

 

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Trig0r

Offsite backups are fine, make sure that the drive is encrypted and that you do a backup with the devices on the same network first, this will save you a shed load of time when it comes to backups..

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JackoUK

Given your requirements I would keep things very simple ...

... buy an 8TB USB 3 external drive e.g. something like:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Seagate-Expansion-External-PlayStation-STGY8000400/dp/B07DQBFQ2D/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=8tb&qid=1593196984&sr=8-1

or similar.

 

There is nothing wrong with your more elaborate plan, especially if you want to try it just for the learning experience, but it is overkill for only 4TB.

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chrisand
45 minutes ago, JackoUK said:

Given your requirements I would keep things very simple ...

... buy an 8TB USB 3 external drive e.g. something like:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Seagate-Expansion-External-PlayStation-STGY8000400/dp/B07DQBFQ2D/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=8tb&qid=1593196984&sr=8-1

or similar.

 

There is nothing wrong with your more elaborate plan, especially if you want to try it just for the learning experience, but it is overkill for only 4TB.

 

Absolutely overkill. I've backed up on USB HDD's for years and it's alright, but yeah learning is a big part of it and a new toy would be fun.

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Trig0r

Hahah the call of new toys when everything's on lockdown and you're getting bored...

 

Know it well :D

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JackoUK

OK, now that I am on the right track ... 😉

 

How about buying a 2nd hand HP Microserver?

Even a 7th generation N54 with 8GB memory would do.

An 8th gen. however would give you a much better feel for managing a server and there are lots of mods. thereto herein, as you have seen.

 

Couple with PC WORLD's special offer (quick!) of a retail W10 Pro license.

https://www.pcworld.com/article/3562330/exclusive-deal-get-windows-10-pro-for-39-99-thats-80-off-retail.html

Retail = good ... because you can move it to another machine later.

 

Set up 2x2TB disks in RAID 1 --- with your friend's backup copy on a 3rd HDD in your box.

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nrf
Posted (edited)

I would suggest that if any of your data is important to you in the long term, regardless of size, an encrypted off-site backup adds protection from some types of things that can go wrong, such as tornado, lightning attacks, etc. and for ransomware protection some type of versioning would be helpful. no sense syncing the ransomed files on top of the good ones, right?

 

so a couple of servers would be one choice, you need some software too. but some people do it with a NAS like synology, you could have 'twins' set up at both locations.

 

I suggest a web search for information on the 3 - 2 - 1 pattern of backups.

Edited by nrf

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TomP
6 hours ago, nrf said:

...so a couple of servers would be one choice, you need some software too. but some people do it with a NAS like synology, you could have 'twins' set up at both locations.

That is what I have, a pair of QNAP NAS plus a large external USB3 hard drive.

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chrisand

 

13 hours ago, JackoUK said:

OK, now that I am on the right track ... 😉

 

How about buying a 2nd hand HP Microserver?

Even a 7th generation N54 with 8GB memory would do.

An 8th gen. however would give you a much better feel for managing a server and there are lots of mods. thereto herein, as you have seen.

 

Couple with PC WORLD's special offer (quick!) of a retail W10 Pro license.

https://www.pcworld.com/article/3562330/exclusive-deal-get-windows-10-pro-for-39-99-thats-80-off-retail.html

Retail = good ... because you can move it to another machine later.

 

Set up 2x2TB disks in RAID 1 --- with your friend's backup copy on a 3rd HDD in your box.

 

HP Microserver seems decent indeed. ~£200 on Ebay is possible. What kind of software could I run that on if I wanted to try something that isn't Windows? Part of the learning here definitely involves using something besides Windows, if possible.

 

Could I do Unraid by sticking a USB stick in? I've also heard of ZFS, but I don't think that's an OS. I'd also be up for Linux if that would work. 

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Al_Borges
Posted (edited)

The Big question on this site is always  "are you looking for an appliance or a hobby?"

 

you can build your own stuff  and unless you repurpose existing hardware, you dont save a whole lot of money  you do get a lot of flexibility and upgrade potential.  quite of bit of hands on effort, which is cool if you are looking for that

 

from an appliance standpoint , both Synology and Qnap  make it easy to connect to remote NAS's for backuo

 

Just hang a USB drive off your box and let your backup buddy have access to it

 

or just use one of a number of cloud backup services for backup is even easier

Edited by Al_Borges

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