Repeat after me...
  • It's important to backup your files.
  • It's important to backup your files.
  • It's important to backup your files.

Do you backup your data?

Those invoices, your accounts, saved games, music files, school homework, photos of your kids growing up etc etc
What do you think would happen if your computer were to die horribly one day and you hadn't  done a backup?

You have 2 options:
- Cry a bit and try to recreate the files you can
- Pay a data recovery company a lot of money in hope they can retrieve your data

My backup approach

A while back I scared myself into finally setting up a backup system. It was a primative system with data being rsync'd from the main disc to a backup disc.
This was a flawed approach, there was still only 1 backup copy (better than none) and both the discs lived in the same tower. Meaning in the even of a fire or electrical surge or some such disaster destroying my PC I would lose all my data.

Still, an additional copy in 1 machine is better than no additional copy, even if it is in the same machine.

I was planning to replace my tower machine with a powerful laptop. Of course now we introduce another risk to my data - leaving my laptop on a train! A 3rd way to lose data.

Clearly now a second disc in the same machine isn't an option.

I could use a USB disc, but that just feels a bit cumbersome. Having to find and plugin in order to do a backup, it needs to be simple and easy so I am more likely to actually run a backup!

I want to be able to SYNC data, not just copy files. So a tool like rsync would be ideal for scripting purposes.

Step forward Network Attached Storage (NAS)

I settled on a Synology NAS with 4 x 4TB Seagate IronWolf hard discs. 
Having four discs in my Synology NAS  allows data to spread across 4 discs to provide some data redundancy should one of the discs fail.

The IronWolf discs may not be the fastest, they certainly aren't the cheapest, but they are built for this purpose. They are built to last being on for long periods continuously.

The Synology NAS uses Synology's own OS which I believe is built on a Linux kernel. Which means many of the tools you might expect on a Linux machine are available.

So now I have a Synology NAS which I can use rsync to send data to.

How I setup NAS to allow rsync

If you prefer to use Windows and want to backup to your shiny new Synology NAS, you might find this article more useful as you probably won't be using rsync: Guide to using Synology for backing up Windows

Better backups

So now I have my Synology NAS managing my backups. I still have a weakness in my backup strategy in that should I have a fire in the flat, I still stand to lose all my data.

Of course the ultimate backup solution would include syncing my NAS to a cloud service (aka someone else's machines) for offsite storage. This is something I've not yet looked into.