Friday, September 25, 2015

Split Video Archive (DIY NAS)

After producing videos for The Frugal Filmmaker for the past five years, I've accumulated a lot of video. I've been wanting some kind of archiving system so I could gather all my video in one place, have easy access to it, and have it constantly backed up in at least two places. My first attempts at this was to back up select videos to Blu-ray discs, but what if I wanted to archive everything?

Some YouTubers commented on that video and asked if I had ever tried Network Attached Storage (NAS). I had never heard of such a thing, but quickly discovered what they were and how they were a step closer to my archival dreams. Essentially a big box that connects to your computer, an NAS will not only act as a big fat drive to store video, but will also automatically mirror that stored video into a second drive contained within. If one drive goes bad, you replace it and the contents are restored.

I liked this idea but didn't like the expense, or the fact that both drives could be taken out in one swift stroke from a disaster like fire, flood, or theft. My solution was to get separate external drives and spread them over a local area network (LAN). Hopefully, anything bad that would happen to one wouldn't happen to the other due to this physical separation.

The above video details my setup as well as the software (Karen's Replicator, Bvckup 2) that I'm using to automate the backup process. Now, when I create a new project folder on my laptop, the contents are backed up to the first external drive and later the archive copies the new contents to the second external drive separated across the network. Both these actions can take place immediately (if I activate them manually) or in the middle of the night (via timers) while I sleep.

I really like this new setup and it gives me some nice peace of mind. No longer to I need to scatter all my projects across a bunch of "small" external drives and when I need older project footage, it's there. If one drive fails, I replace it and copy all the contents from the drive that didn't. Simple.


XSportSeeker said...

I'd just add that usually a NAS is far more than just a backup machine, which justifies the price.

It's really more like a small sized server. Not only you have the RAID function (mirrors your stuff between two HDDs), you can use it as a webserver, connect it to cloud storage services to sync automatically, connect it to other NAS drives over the Internet, use it as a file server to be accessed over the Internet, plus numerous other things.
The price you are paying over just a couple of USB drives is basically because a NAS is also a computer/server with it's own OS (usually a modified version of Linux or WebOS).

A single NAS is local and contained in a small space, but if you are looking for an advanced backup system to split between two different locations, a NAS will also connect to another NAS and mirror it's contents over local network, or even Internet.

If that's all you are using a NAS for, it is a pretty premium price to pay, but it'll do it automatically without the need of extra software, or even the need for a desktop (they do it by themselves, provided that you set them up).

But the solution presented here is also great and frugal! I'd say that it's the minimum most professionals should do... never store your stuff in SD cards or in your PC/laptop alone. You might end up just like that wedding photographer who got all her stuff stolen in a single sweep.

Paul said...

You can do exactly what you are doing, and add another layer of protection and use an offsite cloud backup system. I use crashplan, which backups an unlimited amount of storage, and you can backup mounted network drives. Your entire house could burn down and you'd still have your data.


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