Changing my backups
It's been a long time since I turned my old PC into a home media server, but time has come for that machine and some of its components, so it's time it retired with grace. Fortunately the main issues are around the network card, which stops working every time it restarts (so any power outage or surge on the network). Whilst they are rare events, the last one left me without the ability to back up to my off-site storage for weeks before I had the time to resolve the issue.
In fact, the network card is still bust, and I've replaced that machine entirely. I now have a Buffalo 4-bay NAS, which has the drives from the old machine, formatted and placed inside with a RAID-5 array. I'm aware of the dangers of RAID-5, but I do have drives from different manufacturers in there, from different batches. I'd be incredibly unlucky for more than one drive to go at a time before I can replace it and re-build the array. However, in the event that it does happen, I have rsync backing that up to an external 6TB HDD, and then off-site backups going on as well. Paranoid!
But the issues I had made me re-think about the importance of backups, and to consider my strategy. Once over I did monthly backups to DVD, and had a catastrophic hardware failure two days before the backup date. That was whilst I was at University, and I've been a bit paranoid since.
I've never really liked Dropbox, as the storage was highly limited, though this is getting better. AWS is expensive for the requirements I have, and is difficult to estimate how many selects I would need a month. I do, however, use CrashPlan (external link) for my off-site cloud backup. The "unlimited" storage is ideal, and it costs about the same as Dropbox. I used to have a personal plan, but they closed that down to focus on business usages. As part of that, they teamed up with their competitors to help with a migration for their personal users. None of those offered the storage I wanted, so I upgraded to a business plan. Never had an issue, so I was happy to do it.
So, now you've read my recent backup issues, what is your strategy, and is it robust enough so survive a hardware failure? Think about it, and fix any issues!