Home Data Backup Solution

A reliable home data backup solution and a scalable home data storage solution are very important.  In fact, a reliable home backup solution is beyond important – more along the lines of vital.

 

Most people rely solely on digital media to record precious family moments, store financial documents, and much more.  Really, who still prints pictures & burns DVDs nowadays?

Luckily, NAS systems are now affordable & some are built specifically for the home user.  I decided to purchase and install a Synology DS416play NAS (Network Attached Storage) home data storage solution after months of research and toying with the idea.   The Synology home data backup solution will enhance my backup process, consolidate my data, and further protect my memories.

Stuff I used for this project

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Properly Protect Our Data

Most of us believe our current home data backup solution is sufficient.  Our mobile devices back up automatically to the ‘cloud’; therefore, we are safe.  We have a time machine backup for our Mac or an external hard drive for our PC, so everything is perfectly fine.

Well, your home backup solution is probably perfectly fine – until it’s not.

All the home videos, pictures, documents, and emails your cherish suddenly disappear.

I’ve seen friends and co-workers over the years suffer a digital catastrophe and lose everything.  It truly is devastating and it hurts.  I work in the technology industry and this happens to data professionals who know how to properly protect data.

You see, the danger lies in the unknown.  Ever heard of Murphy’s law?  If not, look it up because this law is all too prevalent in the world of technology.

Trust me, I know.

 

Backup 3-2-1 Rule

Every single home data backup solution is vulnerable to a physical catastrophe, virtual glitch, or cyber attack.  Notice in the previous sentence I italicized the word ‘single’.  In order to properly backup your data, a multi-tiered approach is of the utmost importance.  I follow the Backup 3-2-1 Rule, which is very common among data/technology professionals.

A multi-tiered data protection configuration is the Data Backup Rule of 3.  Also referred to as the Backup 3-2-1 Rule:

  • 3 copies of everything that is important
    • Why?  Because 2 is simply NOT enough to protect your important data.
  • 2 different formats
    • A local hard drive on a computer, tablet, or phone counts as 1 format.  The other format can be a thumb drive, external hard drive, tape backup, NAS, etc..
  • 1 offsite copy
    • If you live in South Louisiana, do you really need to ask why?  The offsite backup will protect from an accidental disaster (i.e. fire) or a natural disaster (i.e. hurricane, flood tornado).

 

Current Home Data Backup Solution

A consolidated diagram of my current home network before the installation of the Synology DS416Play is below.

I won’t cover the details of the configuration of each component within my home network as this is beyond the scope of this blog post.

My home network consists of a firewall/router connected to my Internet provider (cable company).

The LAN (Local Area Network) side of my firewall/router connects to a 24-port switch.

All devices within my home network connect directly or indirectly to this switch.

I use an Apple Aiport extreme for my wireless connectivity in my main home, which also has a 2TB hard drive.  I have an ethernet cable connecting my workshop to my main home with 8-port switch and a wireless bridge in my workshop.

Why is the 24-port switch necessary?  It’s not if you have enough LAN ports on your router/firewall to accommodate your wired connections.

The main benefit of having a switch is not only to provide additional ports, but also to keep traffic within your home network from adding unnecessary stress on your router.

For example, you have a computer connected to your network in your home with all your home movies.  The TV in your living room has a streaming device (Apple TV, Amazon Firestick, etc.) that can access your home movie library.  When a movie is played via the streaming device, the data stream travels from your computer to the switch down to the streaming device.  If a switch was not installed, the data stream would travel from your computer to your router back down to your streaming device.

Backup Overview

The current home data storage solution for my MacBook Pro and Stacey’s MacBook Air consists of 3 copies of our data:  Local Hard Drive, Time Machine, Cloud Backup.

The local hard drive may seem like a given, but it counts as a copy nonetheless.

Stacey and I use apple laptops; therefore, we use the built-in backup solution called Time Machine.  The time machine software runs in the background and stores an exact copy of your hard drive on an external drive.  The external drive we use is the 2TB Airport extreme, which also provided us 802.11ac wireless access.

Finally, we use Backblaze for our offsite home data backup solution.  Backblaze quietly runs in the background of our computers and backups up all of our data including external hard drives.  Backblaze works on both Mac & PC and charges a very reasonable annual fee for unlimited storage space.

I’ve tried many cloud backup solutions and Backblaze is the best by far in my experience.  I encourage you to sign up for your free Backblaze trial by clicking here.

Issues and Improvements Needed

Ok, so what is wrong with our current home data backup solution?  There is nothing necessarily wrong, but it can be improved with additional functionality and redundancy.

  • Apple AirPort Extreme
    • Not enough disk space.
      • The 2TB hard drive in the AirPort Extreme used for Time Machine backups is not large enough for 2 computers and our digital media.
      • It does not have enough disk space to include my 2TB external hard drive attached to my computer in the time machine backups.
      • Forces me to exclude certain