With nightly backups
to the Synology file server, we are protected against most data loss except complete loss of file server and client devices (most likely from loss of the boat). These failure modes are less likely, but they are possible, and the loss is complete. What’s missing is off-site backup. This is challenging and must be incremental since bandwidth from a boat is usually restricted. Since we have no house or property other than the boat (and since I’m a pretty big believer in cloud computing), we backup everything to Amazon Web Services S3 (Simple Storage System).
While we lived in the US and had unlimited data plans, we used a service to automatically cloud-backup our navigation computer. This also included data from our two laptops that we synchronize to the navigation computer using FreeFileSync. Outside the US, we never saw an unlimited data plan–everything was always usage- or time-limited, and often low-speed or poor quality. So the packaged solution no longer worked. We needed a model where we could backup from Dirona when we could, but also be able to copy data to a disk and transport it with a laptop to somewhere with cost-effective and high-speed connectivity, possibly on a return trip to the US.
For the backup to S3 we use S3 sync directly and aim to run incremental backups opportunistically but no less than quarterly. We did investigate a few software packages that synchronize to S3, but they all were tied to backing up from a single computer. So we wrote a small script to backup using S3 sync from either the navigation computer or one of our two laptops, using a combination of data from that computer and either the file server or an external drive.
When James went back to Seattle this week, he took with him the full payload on his laptop and an external drive, and copied all 800Gig into S3 using a fast ethernet connection in just over 24 hours (that would have taken many days even with the decent connectivity we have here in Florida). The screenshot shows the amount of data we had stored in S3 over a five-day period. Now we can sync the changes to S3 as often as we choose to. And should be go a while without being able to backup up from Dirona due to connectivity constraints, we can carry a laptop and an external drive to access better connectivity.
The good news for us is we are now pretty well protected and, with more than 100,000 pictures and lots of custom software the thought of a loss is not very appealing.