Offsite Backup

I’ve been using BackupPC to back up the computers in the house. This is a Linux backup program that connects to each client over SSH and transfers data to a backup pool. This protects each PC from hardware and human failures, but if there’s a site disaster, the data’s gone. To mitigate that risk, I was archiving the backups to DVD’s and storing them off site. Of course, copying a lot of data to DVD’s is inconvenient and takes a lot of time, so it didn’t always get done.

As part the the HTPC project, I knew I’d need a large amount of storage, so a NAS was in order. But to back up that much data to DVD’s wasn’t feasible. I needed a way to back up the NAS’s data to off site storage. Or so I thought. I heard about the ioSafe Solo, a waterproof and fireproof external hard drive with a USB interface. It holds 2 TB, which is plenty. And since it can survive a fire or flood, there’s no need to move it off site. Problem solved!

So, the first test was to connect it to the BackupPC server and run an archive to it. The archive was about 92 GB and started at 7 am. It was still running that night. And the next morning. It finished in just shy of 24 hours. That didn’t sound right. I ran a throughput test using sudo hdparm -t /dev/sdc and it came up at 1.2 MB/sec. The other drives in that machine have throughputs in the 20’s. I was concerned until I realized that old machine has USB 1.0 with a maximum throughput of 12 Mbit/sec, or 1.5 MB/sec.

Hooking the drive up to my desktop and running hdparm resulted in a little over 23 MB/sec. Much better. BTW, neither machine had trouble connecting to the drive, despite the manufacturer’s support of only Windows and Mac.