Backing up the parent’s PC

I don’t want to get on jwz’s shitlist, but in response to his message about backups not RAID, I think RAID for storing backups is still a reasonable approach, although the ZFS folks would still balk about silent failures, i.e. media or hardware that has corrupted bits.

Since my parent’s PC died and all our baby photos were on there, I decided to set them up with a mandatory backup system that doesn’t require their involvement. Fortunately, the system death was due to a bad motherboard or power supply and the hard disk itself is intact. However, it’s only a matter of time when the disk dies too.

I also set up VNC for remote access so that I can troubleshoot problems remotely without me having to guess what “that blinking thing” is over the phone.

SyncBackSE runs nightly and does incremental backups of the entire system (except for OS portion which can be reinstalled).

Using a VPN (Hamachi, now LogMeIn) allows me to not worry so much about security, but there are some layers of security, albeit weak, beyond just the VPN for good measure. Samba requires a user and password using NT LANMAN authentication, but it doesn’t encrypt the data connection unfortunately. VNC requires a password, but does not encrypt the data channel.

I am still somewhat skeptical about Hamachi’s security… Every insider has their price at which they’re willing to engage in corruption. I just hope Hamachi’s developers continue to be well paid… Here’s a diagram of the setup. Note that “bfraid2″ stands for Big F*ing RAID 2nd incarnation. More on that later…


Update 10-Nov-2007:

Backing up 160+ GB over DSL the first time is slow. I’m hoping the incrementals will not be significant. I have the SyncBackSE job only run for a few hours at a time so the first full backup will take some number of days to complete.

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