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Help Me Customize the Ultimate Backup Plan

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
Alright experts, I'm looking to create the ultimate backup system for my home.

(meaning I'm willing to look into time-scheduled backups, offsite backups, or other more complex but robust stuff)

Here's my current setup:

1 laptop: Intel Core Duo 2GHz (T2450), 2GB RAM, 120GB, Windows 7
1 laptop: AMD Phenom II Triple Core 1.80 GHz (P820), 4GB RAM, 320GB, Windows 7
1 old computer: Pentium 4 2.8 GHz (P4 520), 256MB RAM, 40GB, Windows XP Professional
1 external USB: Seagate 1TB
1 upcoming new desktop: Core I3-2100, 4GB RAM, WD Caviar Blue 1TB
1 upcoming new gaming BEAST desktop: i5-2500K + SSD + awesome GPU extravaganza...lol

The main working computers will be the 2 new computers + 2 laptops.

I was thinking the old computer could be used as a server for archiving or something like that since I don't quite understand all the terms + concepts for that yet. But I worry the specs may not be up to par for an intensive backup plan. Would I need to sacrifice one of the working computers to serve as an archive system?

I am willing to shell out for additional hard drives if necessary.

I read that you had to have a process for backing data and another for user settings and applications. This a good idea?

Also, any pointers as to a good guide on all this?

All I've seen are these enterprise or small-business guides and while they are good reference, it's hard to sift through all that material and I wish there was a good guide on this topic like the stickied threads here.

Thanks!
Edited by deviljin - 10/11/11 at 9:38am
    
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post #2 of 4
With a little money to put into this I would do:

Upgrade the P4 build to a newer 775 board and more RAM. Something like: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16813121017 and
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820211066
Upgrade the storage in this rig to a pair of http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16822148506 (or something similar) in RAID1. Split it into 3 partitions, 1 for the OS (which you will backup in case of viruses, etc), 1 for the backups of the other computers, 1 for network storage space for people to load music/movies into one location so everybody isn't backing up the same files over and over.

Use the external drive to make a single full-system image from each computer to, and leave it in a drawer somewhere.

Run the P4 build as a server and set it up as a network share. Set the Win7/Vista computers to back up their Users folder (or whatever folder's you want backed up) to back up to the server over the network periodically (once a week, once a month, w/e) using the built in "Backup and Restore Center."

And if you're super-serious you can pick up a destruction-proof external hard drive from iosafe.com to back up to in case your house burns down, is flooded, and then is crushed... one-after-the-other.
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
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1TB RE4 2x3TB WD Red LG 10x BD-R Corsair H80i w/push pull 
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Win 7 Ultimate 3x 1920x1080 LG IPS displays. Razer Mass Effect 3 Blackwidow Ultimate Cooler Master Silent Pro M850 
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Silverstone TJ08B-E R.A.T. 7 An ergonomic one 
CPUMotherboardRAMHard Drive
i7 3770k Gigabyte Sniper M3 1155 mATX CORSAIR Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) 1600MHz 1TB WD RE4 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveHard Drive
2TB WD Red 2TB WD Red 4TB WD Red 4TB WD Red 
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post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 
Wow, thanks a ton for the advice...makes all that scrambled info I gathered make a lot more sense.

Hmm, I'm wondering if this setup should be set up entirely via Windows on all the computers? I like using Linux, but I'm not sure about the compatibility between a Linux server and Windows.

Would it just be easier to keep the server running Windows?

Back to research...
    
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post #4 of 4
it would be possible to do this setup using windows or linux, it all depends on your skill level and level of frustration you're prepared for.

If you're very familiar with Windows (and since you already own a license for XP it won't cost you anything) I would just stick with Windows on the server. Xp doesn't take tons of power to run, and it will have a very low learning curve and this whole process should be fairly painless to accomplish. Using Linux will yield a slightly faster server, and better network transfer rates due to reduced latency depending on the exact copy of *nix you decide to run. Notably, if you're unfamiliar with Linux this will be a lot more stuff you have to learn, and only you can be the judge of if it is worth it or not.

For my money, I stick with Windows whenever possible due to my familiarity with it and associated programs I already know/like on the windows platform. I'm sure there are equivalents in Linux, I just don't care to learn them all when Windows serves me beautifully.

The biggest things in a truly high-quality backup system are:
--Backup redundancy: You want your backup to be protected from hardware failures and software failures. By using RAID in your server and backing up your server seperatly, the other computers are protected from the server having a hardware issue (RAID1 provides hardware redundancy), and the server is protected from both hardware issues (RAID1) and software issues (it's OS being backed up to the 1TB external drive).
--Centralization: You don't want to be backing up 12 copies of one file. If you can centralize storage of shared files, then users are only backing up their personal files individually and the shared files are all on the server available for use.
--Speed: Network speed plays a big issue if you have large backups, or want to make them daily. Gigabit LAN is your friend. Cat6 or Cat5e cable, gigabit switches, gigabit LAN in your router, wireless N, etc.
--Rate: How frequently you back up data is dependant on how valuable it is. If the changes you make to it every day are priceless, then you better back it up everyday. Most places I've set up backup regimes I set it to weekly or bi-weekly as work doesn't take as long the 2nd time you have to do it... and so it will have all weekend to run and complete the backup instead of only having a few hours every night to do it.
--Security (doesn't apply as much to a home environment): You can make the "backup" partition password protected so only your computers can connect to it, and make the network share publicly available so anybody with a connection to the network can access it, or vice-versa, or any combination of permissions that you want. It's up to you, but it's worth putting some thought into, to keep people from being where they aren't supposed to be (archivally speaking).
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i5-3570k ASUS MAXIMUS IV GENE HD7970 Gen 1 Ripjaws Z 2x8GB 2133MHz 
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1TB RE4 2x3TB WD Red LG 10x BD-R Corsair H80i w/push pull 
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Win 7 Ultimate 3x 1920x1080 LG IPS displays. Razer Mass Effect 3 Blackwidow Ultimate Cooler Master Silent Pro M850 
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Silverstone TJ08B-E R.A.T. 7 An ergonomic one 
CPUMotherboardRAMHard Drive
i7 3770k Gigabyte Sniper M3 1155 mATX CORSAIR Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) 1600MHz 1TB WD RE4 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveHard Drive
2TB WD Red 2TB WD Red 4TB WD Red 4TB WD Red 
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750W Seasonic Gold Fractal Node 804 5.1 Definitive Def Tech PERC 5i RAID card w/ BBU (LSI Firmware) 
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Maximum Dwarf
(15 items)
 
Density!
(12 items)
 
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i5-3570k ASUS MAXIMUS IV GENE HD7970 Gen 1 Ripjaws Z 2x8GB 2133MHz 
Hard DriveHard DriveOptical DriveCooling
1TB RE4 2x3TB WD Red LG 10x BD-R Corsair H80i w/push pull 
OSMonitorKeyboardPower
Win 7 Ultimate 3x 1920x1080 LG IPS displays. Razer Mass Effect 3 Blackwidow Ultimate Cooler Master Silent Pro M850 
CaseMouseMouse Pad
Silverstone TJ08B-E R.A.T. 7 An ergonomic one 
CPUMotherboardRAMHard Drive
i7 3770k Gigabyte Sniper M3 1155 mATX CORSAIR Vengeance 8GB (2 x 4GB) 1600MHz 1TB WD RE4 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveHard Drive
2TB WD Red 2TB WD Red 4TB WD Red 4TB WD Red 
PowerCaseAudioOther
750W Seasonic Gold Fractal Node 804 5.1 Definitive Def Tech PERC 5i RAID card w/ BBU (LSI Firmware) 
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