I’ve been doing a lot of reading about various backup strategies. It is one of my 2009 New Year’s Resolutions, remember? Here are my requirements:
- OS Agnostic. Don’t want it to be tied to Mac or Windows. Want it to be able to do anything.
- Yet, I want it to be Apple Time Machine compatible to take advantage of its ease of use.
- Must be automatic. Don’t want to think about it.
- Don’t want large recurring costs, no large monthly fees. $5 a month at most.
- Must be large enough to hold everything.
- Want to be able to access resources from any computer on the home network and store stuff on it not just backups.
I’ve looked at several ideas:
- External USB or Firewire hard drives, both with A/C plugs and those with only USB power
- Mirrored hard drives
- Drobo backup system
- Online web backups like Mozy.com, Backblaze.com, GetDropBox.com, Mesh.com, etc. (Must encrypt the contents)
- Network Attached Storage systems
The one solution I am attracted to at the moment is the new HP MediaSmart Server
. It just won the MacWorld
Magazine Best of Show
award. The attractiveness of this device is that it can solve items 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and hopefully 7 above. I do not know how failsafe it is. I think that is a key feature of Drobo: you can actually remove one of the hard drives in the thing and your data is still there. I don’t think the HP does that, instead I think it allows you to do mirroring.
But, you can also sync the MediaSmart server with an online backup solution, such as Amazon S3. So you have both network attached access to your data as well as an offsite backup. Having worked in information security, I appreciate these things. I am looking at the EX487 model which starts with 1.5TB of capacity in two hard drives. I think I can probably find one for about $725. Another neat thing about it is that supposedly I can move my iTunes music (and podcasts?) to it and access it from any PC on our home network.