Backup Multiple PCs and Time Machines to a Network Drive and Amazon S3 Cloud

Using Synology DiskStation and Amazon S3 to Backup Multiple Time Machine and PCs

The data on your computers becomes more important every day.  The more we rely on them, the more catastrophic it is when they break. In our office, it’s our entire livelihood – everything we’ve amassed over the years. It’s not just the frequent hard drive failures you need to be safe from – what about a flood? What about when you delete a file by accident? With the right combo of equipment, software, and services you can have a bullet-proof setup on the cheap.

Backing up your data is only worth so much.  Some items are worth more than others.  Some items are worth nearly nothing, or aren’t worth backing up at all. With all this in mind, we implemented a system for $400 in hardware and less than $.10/GB per month.

Here’s a quick run-down of the things you’ll need:

Hardware:

  • Synology DiskStation (we used the DS111)
  • 2.5″ or 3.5″ Hard Drive (we used the 2TB WD2002FAEX)

Software/Services:

 

Synology DiskStation DS111 ($200 + Hard Drive)
Synology offers a whole range of network drives good for just about any setup. Connect them to your network via USB or Ethernet (10/100/1000) and their easy to use web-based DiskStation Manager (DSM) makes setup simple. It also natively supports scheduled Amazon S3 backups, Mac Time Machine network backups (even from multiple computers), PC backups (using their Synology Data Replicator 3 software), user privileges, RAID configurations, and much more.

 

Amazon S3
Amazon S3 offers affordable, fast, scalable space for cheap. It features versioning, rates as low as $.037/GB per month, and 99.999999999% durability. While using it can be a little confusing, once you get the hang of it things will work like they should.

 

Bucket Explorer (free 30 day trial, then $20)
Bucket Explorer is a powerful GUI for Amazon’s S3 service that lets you use features otherwise hidden by default. You can enable versioning on a bucket, view old versions of files, create public URLs to share files (think Dropbox), sync local data to S3, and lots more.

 

Before diving in, I recommend that you think about what you’re backing up.  Decide which files are most important, how often your files are edited, and how much you want to spend. If you take your time to set it up right, you’ll have all of your files backed up no matter what happens. Feel free to ask us questions in the comments if you’re having trouble figuring it all out!

What do you think?