A poor guy’s home backup recipe

By | November 13, 2014

Everyone has tons of photos taken over the years right? And you probably want to make sure that you don’t lose them, either by hard-drive failure or thief visit to your house.

Original setup and problems:

  1. I have a couple of Macs at home, both using TimeMachine for regular backups.  I didn’t have a TimeCapsule to centralise the backups, so 2 separate external hard-drives were used. The problem was I had to remember to plug the TimeMachine HDD regularly to perform backup, and had risks of HDD failures
  2. Since there are 2 different standalone backups, I cannot push them to the cloud backup service using a single account.

Building a in-house NAS server


I had a 8 years old PC laying around, it has a Core 2 Duo (64bit) and 2 Gb of memory. I bought a couple of 3TB Western Digital Green Drives for the RAID 1 setup.



Initially I have tried FreeNas project but later I realised it’s not a poor man’s choice, basically it’s using ZFS and it’s very resource hungry.  I ended up using OpenMediaVault It’s a linux distro based on Debian, so you can use apt-get to install different packages outside of OpenMediaVault package.

OpenMediaVault includes a few plugins which allows you to provide Apple File Protocol, which enables TimeMachine backups within the network, also FTP, Rsync etc etc

Cloud Backup

Having mirrored drives might reduce HDD failure impact but still doesn’t prevent hardware being stolen or damage in fire. Originally before setting up the NAS server, I used BackBlaze on my Mac, but the problem is it only runs on Mac, and it can only run on a single computer, so my wife’s laptop was not being backed up to the cloud.

I have made a switch to CrashPlan, which has a build for linux so I use choose the shared folders to push to the cloud.

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