Backup Server Project

Backup Server

I’m becoming anal-retentive about [tag]backups[/tag] lately. Back in the day I really didn’t care about it. But I have seen so many drives going bad in the last few months, that I’m getting obsessive about securing my own data. Right now I do a bi-weekly [tag]backup[/tag] to my secondary drive located in the same machine.

This is sufficient (data is replicated on 2 physical drives), but I’m not really content with it. What if both drives fail at the same time? Hell, what if my computer blows up? I know this is an unlikely scenario, but it worries me.

I really want a fully redundant solution. Lately I have been thinking about setting up a [tag]backup server[/tag] for my house network. I happen to have few ports free on the router, so this could be an interesting project. So fat this is how I envision my data storage on the cheap:

  • low end CPU, and enough ram to run OS
  • low end graphics card, no sound card
  • 1 small (20-30 GB) disk for the OS
  • 2 large 400GB+ drives set up as [tag]RAID-1[/tag] array
  • stable linux distro capable of doing software RAID
  • samba so that windows boxen can map it

I could reuse one of my old junkers from the attic, or possibly buy a basic headless low end desktop for $200-300. The two large drives would obviously be the most expensive part of the solution. But I’m quite confident you could buy a drive that size for under $200 (I saw one that size on neweg for $135). With a little bargain hunting, and scavengering I think it would be possible to build this system for well under $500.

It could be a very interesting project, and it would sure make me sleep better. My biggest concern of course would be setting up the [tag]Software RAID[/tag]. I have never done this myself, and most of the RAID machines I worked with have it done at the hardware level. There are some really cheap [tag]RAID controllers[/tag] out there – question is, would the OS support them?

This warrants some further research. If and when I go through with this, I will post a complete step by step report on how I accomplished it.

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6 Responses to Backup Server Project

  1. un4scene UNITED STATES Internet Explorer Windows says:

    Aha! Now you see why I am the proud owner of 3 external hard drives, none of which I have a handle on and have now settled on the solution that not working on anything on any drive or computer at home is the sure way to not loose anything at anytime.

    Yes, I’m in my freak-out avoidance mode, why do you ask? :D

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  2. Travis UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    You should do a backup of your database on a thumbdrive and hide it somewhere… Personally… I have a pair of shoes that i have that i cut out the rubber under the padding.. and put it there… Now I dont recomend you wearing your shoes after this process but it is possible as i have done it. Its a great safe secure way to keep a back up of your database incase all goes wrong.
    Unless ofcourse wordpress (i assume your running wordpress) stores things in a flatfile. you can get a nice big thumbdrive relitivly cheap, and they dont corrupt as easy as a harddrive.

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  3. Luke UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    un4scene: hehe. Have you tried using ntbackup to automate the process? You could just set it up to run backup when you are sleeping or at work. With 3 drives you can possibly do a nightly backup using different drive each day. Or you could backup 3 times a week.

    But you can’t stifle your creativity forever!

    Travis: my wordpress uses mysql and it is backed up automaticall. I have a cron job that takes a nightly snapshot, tars it and then emails it to my secondary gmail account. Every once in a while I grab a fresh copy and store it locally.

    I was meaning to write a perl script that would log into Gmail and grab the fresh email every day but I keep procrastinating that.

    I’m more concerned with the crap I have on my hard drive. Granted, there is nothing really super important there, but it would suck to loose everything.

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  4. Shawn UNITED STATES Internet Explorer Windows says:

    Hey, that card you picked PCIIDE100R has a problem. it can only handle 137GB drive partitions.

    Go tape. More investment up front, but the tapes can be real cheap.

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  5. Luke UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Linux says:

    Hehe! That’s why it’s so cheap!

    I didn’t really look at the specs – I just picked the cheapest one on the list to illustrate a point.

    I would love to get taped, but the drives are insanely expensive these days. Any suggestions for a good tape drive on the cheap?

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  6. jambarama UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Ubuntu Linux Terminalist says:

    Here’s my setup, it is fairly painless. 800mhz P3, 2x 10/100 nics, 128 mb RAM, 2x 250gb, 2x 120gb & 1x 20gb. The 20 gig drive has the OS on it (which of course I’ve backed up). Then I have two jbods – each as a 120 and a 250. I mucked around with setting up raid 1 on the two jbods, but what I did instead was just used cron to schedule rsync to run each night.

    The machine does a lot for me. It runs stripped down debian (the net install disc, and I didn’t add much). No gui (of course). It sits in a closet on my 100mb lan, attached only to two ethernet cables and power. I log in with ssh. It acts as my dhcp server, my firewall, and file server. I mucked around with apache on it, but it is behind so many nat routers

    Ethernet comes in to my apartment, hits a switch which leads to a WAP and my server. The server goes to another switch which acts as my trusted (wired) lan. Everything on the WAP is untrusted and outside of the protection of my server. Since I trust everything on the internal lan, the server serves files only on the lan, but provides rwx access over smb and nfs (I still have an XP box, so smb is necessary). I just have one of the jbod’s mapped on my desktop and laptop machines, and the other jbod is only used for backups.

    All told the whole thing cost less than $600 – the hard drives were the most expensive (when I got the 120s, they were big, when I got the 250s, they were top of the line). Now I’d go with gigE, a bunch more ram (so I can do content filtering), 500+gb disks, I’d get an ISP that will give me a static IP, and I’d probably try to switch to openBSD (if I have a public IP, it’d be nice so I don’t have to worry about hardening debian). But that is for another time with a bunch more money.

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