Question How do I go about backing up ~50TB of data?

HWright001

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So as of now, I am sitting at about 46TBs of data for my small home office that I have built-up over about 5 years. These files are sitting on 5 Western Digital HDs ranging from 6 to 12 TBs each - most full. I realize I should have probably seen about backups way before now, but it is what it is.

How would I go about backing up this data? I am quite a novice with most technical things and the idea of setting up a NAS server (something I have just heard about) seems a bit daunting to me. Are there ready-made home servers one can purchase for storage out-of-the-box?

Is there a way I can simply "copy" these drives to a backup drive one by one and then just safely store the backup drives ? For example I was looking at something like this: StarTech Drive Duplicator. Is this method feasible with such larger drives?

Thanks
 

USAFRet

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First off, kudos for considering your backup options.

Current prebuilt NASs are the way to go here.
In basic use, they are not a lot different than the PCs you're used to.

I have a 4 bay QNAP TS-453a, and it is pretty easy and stable.

You can cause your Windows systems to push backups to the NAS, or you can have the NAS pull from the systems.
I use Macrium Reflect to push nightly Incremental backups to my NAS. Multiple systems, every night or every week, as the system requires.


Scale up or down as your needs require:
 
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BogdanH

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I'm quite sure it's a NAS what you want.
NAS-es are very self maintained... it means, you don't need to do some maintenance or complicated settings. You fill NAS with as many (empty) drives you have, connect it to your router and done. As soon you turn it on, operating system will automatically be installed and you'll be asked how you wish drives to be configured (selecting RAID mode). After that you can start copying your files on NAS. In Windows Explorer, NAS will be listed as network drive -it can be single drive or as many you wish.
Most NAS manufacturers also provide additional (many free) software you can install on NAS to add certain functionality (web server, camera surveillance, media server, etc.).
Usually NAS is used in RAID-1 mode, if your data is important (it always is) or some other RAID mode which prevents data loss in case some drive stops working. Means, if some drive is damaged, you take it out and insert new one -without data loss.
In your case (you already have a lot of data), I think 8-bay NAS is a minimum. But if you know your data will grow at similar rate as till now, you should consider 12-bay. You don't need to populate all bays with drives -when you run out of space, you just insert another drive into free bay.
Most known NAS brands would be Synology, QNAP and Buffalo. I think Synology is more affordable price wise, so I suggest you take a look there -there are also some articles which might help you to understand some NAS related stuff.
 

jonathan1683

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I just buy cheap WD mybooks they have lots of space and cheap. If you don't have a budget you can go the NAS route or you can look at amazon glacier in case you want an offsite cloud backup.
 

Bob.B

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So as of now, I am sitting at about 46TBs of data for my small home office that I have built-up over about 5 years. These files are sitting on 5 Western Digital HDs ranging from 6 to 12 TBs each - most full. I realize I should have probably seen about backups way before now, but it is what it is.

How would I go about backing up this data? I am quite a novice with most technical things and the idea of setting up a NAS server (something I have just heard about) seems a bit daunting to me. Are there ready-made home servers one can purchase for storage out-of-the-box?

Is there a way I can simply "copy" these drives to a backup drive one by one and then just safely store the backup drives ? For example I was looking at something like this: StarTech Drive Duplicator. Is this method feasible with such larger drives?

Thanks
The Startech unit you linked to looks like an easy way to copy the disk.
Put the source disk in the proper slot and a blank disk in the other slot and allow the unit to do the copy.
Keep in mind that if in the future you update the source disk you will need to start over with another copy.
 
I just buy cheap WD mybooks they have lots of space and cheap. If you don't have a budget you can go the NAS route or you can look at amazon glacier in case you want an offsite cloud backup.
Something tells me that a service like Amazon Glacier would be a rather expensive solution, and probably a bit much for a "small home office". Looking at their pricing, it could cost them a few thousand dollars per year to store 50TB of data. And unless they have something like a high-end fiber connection, the initial upload would take a long time. With a 10Mbit upload speed (which is probably fairly typical for home cable) that would take well over a year of non-stop uploading, assuming you didn't get throttled by the ISP. Even at a 100Mbit upload speed, it would take a month and a half.

Copying the data to external backup drives could be an option worth considering though, especially if it's data that's not being regularly modified. As a backup solution, the drives could easily be stored in a secure off-site location to minimize the chances of losing both copies of the data in the event that some disaster strikes. A RAID array located within the home might not be of much use if something like a fire or flood destroys both copies. You would probably want to periodically verify the data to ensure the drives remain in proper working order while in storage though.
 

USAFRet

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The Startech unit you linked to looks like an easy way to copy the disk.
Put the source disk in the proper slot and a blank disk in the other slot and allow the unit to do the copy.
Keep in mind that if in the future you update the source disk you will need to start over with another copy.
Individual manual copies like that are not the way to go.
How would you backup and update the OS drive like this?
 

jonathan1683

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Something tells me that a service like Amazon Glacier would be a rather expensive solution, and probably a bit much for a "small home office". Looking at their pricing, it could cost them a few thousand dollars per year to store 50TB of data. And unless they have something like a high-end fiber connection, the initial upload would take a long time. With a 10Mbit upload speed (which is probably fairly typical for home cable) that would take well over a year of non-stop uploading, assuming you didn't get throttled by the ISP. Even at a 100Mbit upload speed, it would take a month and a half.

Copying the data to external backup drives could be an option worth considering though, especially if it's data that's not being regularly modified. As a backup solution, the drives could easily be stored in a secure off-site location to minimize the chances of losing both copies of the data in the event that some disaster strikes. A RAID array located within the home might not be of much use if something like a fire or flood destroys both copies. You would probably want to periodically verify the data to ensure the drives remain in proper working order while in storage though.

$1 per TB a month is cheap for managed hosting I also think you can send them copies of the data for the initial upload. OP has gone long without backups anyways not sure time is of his biggest concern. Most business lines at least around me are a lot faster than 10up ours is 100 up. We don't know the OPs financials that's why I listed the cheapest solution :)
 

Bob.B

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Individual manual copies like that are not the way to go.
How would you backup and update the OS drive like this?
The op is talking about a backup for data files.
Even if some of those files are on the OS disk as long as they don't change you have a backup of those files.
You can update the OS all you want as long as the data files don't change.
If the data files on any of the disk are changing often then a manual backup could become a PITA.
 

USAFRet

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The op is talking about a backup for data files.
Even if some of those files are on the OS disk as long as they don't change you have a backup of those files.
You can update the OS all you want as long as the data files don't change.
If the data files on any of the disk are changing often then a manual backup could become a PITA.
The OP was not really specific about what, exactly, was being backed up.
Or what data was being changed, and how often.

"data files" may include something like a 200GB SQL database. Which is not good for a single snapshot to be stored away.
Or it may just be individual daily files.

There are multiple ways to do this.
The How depends on the What.
 
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