Off-Site Backup Strategy for the Home Lab

In TechReckoning Dispatch v2n10, John Troyer writes:

What’s your home off-site backup strategy? Right now I’m just backing up the household Macs via Time Machine to a local 4TB disk. This is ok… unless we have a fire. Guess who just had a fire? (A three-foot section of our wood fence caught on fire around midnight July 3. Might have been our neighbors’ fireworks. The dog barked and barked until we got up to foot-high flames. An extinguisher and the garden hose and the fire dept took care of it. Our smoke detectors now all have fresh batteries.) (source)

First off, sorry to hear that, John! Perhaps it’s even time for a Nest Protect? But I digress, let’s answer the question proposed in his newsletter. Rather than shooting over a comment, I thought it was a good time to write down my backup strategy for the home lab into blog format.

The Skinny on Home Backup

I use a four step approach to protecting files in the lab.

  1. The primary storage array is an ioSafe 1513+, written about here. It has 5 disk drives with 4x 1 GbE connections running the latest DSM (version 5.2 as of this post) with NFS and SMB enabled. Every night, the native Synology Backup & Replication kicks off a Shared Folder Sync job to mirror the shares found on Volume 1 to the secondary storage array.
  2. My secondary storage array is an older Synology DS411 which used to be my only storage when I started the lab and has undergone some upgrades. It has 4 disk drives with a single GbE connection and also runs the latest version of DSM with NFS and SMB enabled. There are no client sessions attached to the storage, but it’s always online in case the primary fails and I need to grab a file.
  3. After receiving a Shared Folder Sync from the primary storage, all data on the secondary storage is uploaded to Amazon Glacier. This gives me a roughly 24 hour RPO for cheap, off-site storage.
  4. For collaborative data, I use Synology Cloud Sync to shuttle data in and out of the ioSafe using a bidirectional sync. This avoids needing to drop clients on my desktops, and also serves as a near-zero RPO for a few critical projects. I use Google Drive, Dropbox, and OneDrive.

In a nutshell, the ioSafe is the primary storage array and is protected by Cloud Sync, a secondary storage array, and Amazon Glacier. In addition to this, it’s also a fire and water proof safe with an insurance policy. The total solution gives me the warm and fuzzies I need to not think about my data. 🙂