Backup, Backup, Backup!

Hard drives, SSD’s, Flash Drives, SD Cards, and computers can fail without warning. Make sure you backup your photos, videos, etc. regularly.

  1. Data should exist in a minimum of three places. See: 3-2-1 Backup Rule
  2. One of the places should be off-site.
  3. Your 3rd off-site backup should not be live synced.
  4. Verify your backup procedures and medium to make sure,
    1. You’re backing up what you expect,
    2. You can successfully restore from the backup.
  5. RAID is not a backup.

NAS (Network Attached Storage)

A NAS (Network Attached Storage) system is a data storage device connected to a network that allows storage and retrieval of data from a centralized location for authorized network.

Best Practices

  • Use RAID Level 6 or ZFS as the file system on NAS/SAN devices.
  • Do not use RAID 5, if RAID 6 or ZFS is available!
  • Try and get drives from different batches/lots, by not purchasing all the hard drives from the same vendor at the same time. Why? If a drive in the NAS fails, and is replaced, the NAS has to rebuild the RAID volume. The added stress of rebuilding my cause another drive to fail, thus, there may be insufficient data on the remaining drives to complete the rebuild of the replaced drive. Drives purchased at the same time, are probably from the same batch, and would’ve been in service for the same length of time. When a drive fails, what are the chances that another from the same batch may also fail?

CMR (Conventional Magnetic Recording) vs SMR (Shingled Magnetic Recording) Drives for NAS


NAS Hardware

TrueNAS (formerly FreeNAS)

TrueNAS is an operating system, based on FreeBSD, that can be installed on virtually any hardware platform to share data over a network.

  • TrueNAS combines RAID redundancy, ZFS, Replication, Snapshots, Automatic Corruption Repair, and optional High Availability.
  • ZFS Primer
  • It is highly recommend you use ECC RAM with “mission-critical” ZFS with TrueNAS.
    • Systems with ECC RAM will correct single bit errors on the fly, and will halt the system before they can do any damage to the array if multiple bit errors are detected.
    • The ZFS filesystem (which TrueNAS uses) requires 1GB of ECC RAM for every Terabyte of storage.


Hard Drive Reliability

Long-term Archival Storage

Standard writable optical media, CDs & DVDs, etc., are not reliable for long term storage. The die used with optical media degrade with exposure to light, temperature extremes, moisture, etc. Because of this, you may not be able read parts or whole files/data from the media within several months to 5 years.

M-DISC (Millennial Disc) by Millenniata, now Verbatim, is the standard for digital archival storage. Unlike traditional optical media, which utilize dyes that can break down over time, data stored on an M DISC is engraved on a patented inorganic write layer – it will not fade or deteriorate. This unique engraving process renders these archival grade discs practically impervious to environmental exposure, including light, temperature and humidity.

  • M-DISC optical media are readable in conventional optical drives.
  • ISO/IEC 16963 standard longevity tests have proven the durability of M DISC technology, and it withstood rigorous testing by the US Department of Defense. Based on ISO/IEC 16963 testing, M DISC media has a projected lifetime of several hundred years.

Drives with M-DISC support and M-DISC Media

Cloud Storage

  • ownCloud is a suite of client–server software for creating file hosting services and using them. ownCloud is functionally similar to the Dropbox, with the primary functional difference being that the Server Edition of ownCloud is free and open-source. It also supports extensions that allow it to work like Google Drive, with online document editing, calendar and contact synchronization, and more.

Synchronizing Data

  • Allway Sync uses algorithms to synchronize your data between desktop PCs, laptops, USB drives, remote FTP/SFTP and WebDAV servers, various online data storage and more.
  • OneDrive
  • Google Drive
  • Dropbox
  • Drop

Drive Encryption

Backup Tools

Disposal, Destruction, Sanitization of Storage Media