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Everything posted by jamespetts

  1. I need a new backup solution at home as my current 1Tb backup drive is full. I also do not currently have any offsite backup capability, which is a vulnerability. I do, however, in connexion with my work as a barrister (lawyer) need to backup confidential information and information that is subject to the Data Protection Act, which means that it needs to be encrypted, either self-stored or stored with a reputable provider, and in any event, not stored outside the European Union. That information is not very great in volume (a few Gb at most, but it will grow over time; I need to be able to erase it completely after six years but not before). Less sensitive but much more bulky are the products of my hobby of photography, and my large and increasing number of pictures stored in RAW format, as well as my Lightroom catalogue, etc. It is this later category that has exhausted my backup capability. I currently use a WD MyBook which is in my house, connected to my desktop computer through a second network interface port in the computer, and not directly connected to the internet. The data on it are not encrypted, but it has an element of physical separation from the internet. There are two independent CAT-5 connexions going from my under-stairs cupboard (where the MyBook and router both are) to my study (where my desktop computer is). I also have a Synology DiskStation (a 215j, I believe), which is connected to the internet, and which has a further copy of my professional files (encrypted), and some other miscellaneous things, but was not intended for general backup use, but rather as personal cloud storage for my professional data to synchronise with my tablet and desktop computer in chambers. It has 2Tb of storage space, which, whilst enough for my photographs now, may well not be enough a few years in the future, and I should in any event prefer additional redundancy. One solution that I had contemplated was to obtain a further two Synology NAS devices, and install one in my understairs cupboard and one in my parents' house (they have the same sort of WD My Book as I for backup), and use each others' NAS for offsite backup for both of us. However, my parents' internet connexion has only 1Mbps upload and 10Mbps download (which could be improved to 1.9Mbps and 21Mbps respectively with a fibre connexion), and I suspect that this, especially the upload speed, will not be enough. I find the WD MyBook to be unreliable at times: sometimes it will stop responding and need to be reset, and other times it will not be able to be found on the network for a while. The software that I use (Oops! Backup) is also not very good in that the versioning does not seem to work: iI tried once to recover an old version of a file that had become corrupted, and the system purportedly had the delta of the old version stored, but it refused to restore it, giving an incomprehensible error message. Does anyone have any recommendations? How might my parents take advantage of offsite backup given their poor upload speed (mine at home is rather better)? What sort of device might better replace my full MyBook? Can anyone recommend good backup software that will handle both onsite and offsite backup simultaneously? It should be noted that my desktop at home runs Windows 7 and my parents' desktop computers run Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (which is likely to be upgraded to 16.04 LTS when that is released).
  2. Thank you for your feedback: this is most helpful. I do not have an IcyBox yet - I have tried the Synology with a USB 3 flash drive attached to it, however, and it transferred files to and from my computer at a reasonable rate. To clarify, the WD My Book is not attached to the NAS, but rather directly to my computer at present. The drive would be stored out of service in the attic, not connected and running there. I do not know exactly the temperatures in the attic, but it is not insulated (the insulation is between the attic and the main house), so it might get rather hot, I suppose. Is there a way of putting it in an insulated box, I wonder....?
  3. An update on this. Firstly, I have managed to find a temporary solution by clearing some of the space from my existing backup hard drive (duplicate copies of RAW files from my camera created when importing from the camera using Lightroom), so this issue is less urgent than it was, such as to allow more time to think carefully of a possible solution. Secondly, I have devised a possible plan that might be workable. I should be interested in people's views. It would involve buying an external USB 3 drive bay in RAID1 configuration (the IcyBox models appear to be well reviewed), filling that with a pair of either 4 or 6Tb WD Red drives and connecting that to my DiskStation. I should set that to use the Synology backup software to back up the important files on my computer to the USB 3 drive bay, and then disconnect the WD MyBook (which now has an up to date backup set), store it in the attic in a sealed plastic bag (possibly with a sachet of silica gel in it if I can find one) as an archive backup and uninstall Oops! Backup, which is unreliable. That would be the on-site part of the backup solution. Next, I should encourage my parents to upgrade to fibre optic broadband, and acquire for them a Synology DiskStation 216SE with a pair of drives of the same size as those in the IcyBox configuration. I should set that to synchronise with the backup part of my DiskStation and connect it on my own home network (1Gb wired LAN) so that it acted as a mirror of my own DiskStation. I should then take it to my parents' house, install it on their network to replace their WD My Book (and use the Synology CloudBackup software instead of the built-in Ubuntu backup software, the problem with which is that it encrypts the backups, meaning that the encryption keys might be lost in the event of a serious system failure) and set it so that it continues to synchronise with the DiskStation at my house. Files added by me would be backed up on my DiskStation and then sent to my parents' DiskStation, where the download at a more reasonable speed would be used. My upload speed is quite good (circa 10Mbps), so this should not be a significant problem. Once the DiskStation at my parents' house had become populated with their files, I should take it for a holiday again to my house, where I should set it up to back up its contents to my NAS. Its initial, high-volume backup would run over my NAS before taking it back to my parents' house to run again on their network. Any files that they create (and they tend to create fewer, smaller files than I) would have to use their slow uploads, but because they do not create a great many large files and because the synchronisation can run in the background constantly, this is unlikely to be a problem, especially if they were to upgrade to fibre broadband (making sure that they had unlimited downloads). Does this seem reasonable?
  4. I should want it to run automatically from the NAS, as it's very important for the setup to require no ongoing intervention once set up.
  5. Ahh, splendid, thank you. How would one go about setting this up to back up with client side encryption from a Synology NAS?
  6. Is Amazon S3 a client-side encryption or server-side encryption service? Only client side encryption is safe to use for sensitive data.
  7. The budget is not too limited, but I don't want to pay a disproportionate amount for a backup solution.
  8. Thank you - that is very helpful.
  9. I should be grateful for any ideas that people may have about a suitable solution to my professional IT requirements. I am a barrister (a type of lawyer in England and Wales), who, as is traditional in the English legal profession, is self-employed, but works from a set of chambers (offices) in which certain facilities are shared. I have recently moved to a different set of chambers with a different IT setup. Previously, I had access to a(n excruciatingly slow) Windows based server on which to store documents: I could access them at home by a remote desktop connexion or remote file access or in chambers by using a number of aeging Windows PCs dotted about and available for general use. I have an Android tablet, but could not access my files on that device from my old chambers' Windows servers in spite of installing various SMB type applications. My new chambers is more of a BYOD environment, and it does not have the central Windows file server (I think) available to members. I briefly looked into services such as DropBox (which would work on my home desktop and Android tablet), but there are issues as to whether using a service such as that for client confidential documents is compatible with the Data Protection Act 1998 because of the difficulty in ensuring and veryfying that the third party provider is complying with the data protection principles. An alternative might well be one of these new personal cloud NAS devices: that would mean that I could put one of these at home and access it from my home computer and from my tablet or smartphone. I could also use it for personal documents (so that I could store my recipes on it, for instance, and access them from my tablet in the kitchen). However, just how secure are they? I have read about some security trouble with ASUS personal cloud devices recently. Also, how do personal cloud devices work with offline storage? If I were at court, for instance, and had no good mobile signal, do any of these personal cloud devices make it easy to set up a system whereby recently accessed documents are duplicated on my Android tablet's internal memory, but ones not accessed recently are not so as not to fill the entire tablet's memory with old documents? A further complication is encryption. I have encrypted my Android tablet, but how easy is it to encrypt files stored on a personal cloud device so as to be able to be compatible with and decrypted by both an Android tablet and a Windows (and possibly Linux) desktop? Backup is another issue: how easy is it to back up an encrypted set of files? I know that Windows encrypted folders have an issue with backup in that, if the OS itself becomes corrupted and has to be reinstalled (catastrophic hardware failure, for instance), the encryption keys are lost forever, and the backups of the encrypted files are useless. Is there a system of encryption that does not have this disadvantage? What is the best way to backup files stored on a personal cloud in any event; how would such a backup system potentially interact with my existing backup system (the "Oops!" backup that goes with my now somewhat old WD NAS backup drive)? I should be most grateful for any thoughts on these issues.
  10. I have not, in fact, solved this issue yet, but I was considering the QNAP/Synology route. Is there any reason in particular that you recommend Synology over QNAP?
  11. Thank you for your suggestions. Unfortunately, both Wuala and Cloudfogger provide only decryption, not encryption, on Android, meaning that there is no way for me to save encrypted files to my Dropbox account from there. I had looked into both of these already and rejected them for that reason.
  12. I'm afraid that I don't really have the time to build and, more importantly, maintain my own NAS, especially with the highly uncertain robustness of ownCloud. I have had many problems in the past with slightly unusual things on Linux, such as DAB receivers, where there was simply no way of getting it to work, and searches for the problem found a handful of uses posting the same issue and no solutions ever. For professional use, I need something quite certain to work reliably. There is also the issue of power consumption if one is building an "NAS" (actually, a fully fledged desktop server) using standard PC components. I looked into Dropbox with Viivo encryption, but found that it will not encrypt (only decrypt) on Android, which is quite useless to me. Does anyone know whether QNAP has folder sync so that I can access my files offline from Android, and those files will then automatically sync to the NAS, and whether it will allow syncing to an SD card on the Android device? Edit: Has anyone tried Foldersync on the Android? It seems to allow syncing of folders with an FTP account, which could be set up on one's personal NAS at home.
  13. I don't think that I could install ownCloud (at least, not easily) on an NAS, could I? In any event, there seem to be lots of reports of quite serious problems in the Play Store reviews. Synplicity is located in the US, and is not on the Safe Harbor list, and likewise Barracuda. Edit: I did not initially register the reference to QNAP, which I have now been researching. It seems to rely on DDNS, which relies on QNAP itself being around indefinitely, although I suppose that it is at least free. Can it work with a static IP, as I will have when my fibre broadband is activated? Does anyone know whether it can be mounted from a Linux desktop not connected to the same local network (assuming a static IP configuration); and how would mounting using NFS or SAMBA work with encryption? Edit 2: Having looked into this further, one possible solution is to combine DropBox with Viivo encryption software. I have set up the free versions of both of those with the aim of trying them to see how good that they are. The only trouble is that, whilst DropBox has a Linux client, Viivo does not, and I need to be able to access my files from a Linux machine occasionally. Does anyone know whether Viivo works under Wine?
  14. I have looked into this now in some detail. The "safe harbor" scheme only applies to the US, and the EU maintains a list of countries, including Switzerland, to which it is satisfied that personal data may be exported without breaching the 8th data protection principle. It also fares much better than Dropbox for the 7th data protection principle, as all of its files are encrypted, so that not even its own employees can access them. However, the Wuala service is unsuitable because it offers no means of automatically synchronsing folders on an Android device with its cloud. I am looking into personal cloud storage, which means that I can manage the system myself. Asus's AiCloud looks interesting: it allows folder sync with Android and comes with the router that I am thinking of buying, meaning that I should only need a USB3 drive to complete the setup. However, it, and other personal cloud servers like it, do not come with a means of encrypting files. Does anyone know of a sensible means of encrypting files that works on Windows, Linux and Android where the encryption can be unlocked with a password or similar so that backups of the encrypted data are safe from being rendered useless by the destruction of encryption keys?
  15. Wuala appears to be based in Switzerland, which is outside the EU. Do you know whether it is covered by the "safe harbour" scheme for data proection? If not, I am afraid that storing personal data on it is quite out of the question.
  16. jamespetts

    Odd issue

    Update: Thank you for that lead: I found other threads from users with similar problems fixed by upgrading the firmware, and found instructions for upgrading it from a boot CD. The upgrade worked, and solved the problem. Thank you for the lead!
  17. jamespetts

    Odd issue

    I built a computer for my parents last year, including a micro ATX motherboard and a recent SSD connected by the latest SATA-6. The operating system is Ubuntu Linux 11.10. It worked well until a few weeks ago, when it suddenly started to fail intermittently without warning. I do not have all the details of the failure behaviour, but it has included freezing (with or without black screens) and failing to respond to any attempt to execute any command. When I came to visit my parents to look into the problem, I found that, whenever it failed and I restarted it, it would fail to detect the SSD on rebooting unless I powered off and powered back on again. When I did that, it would work perfectly as if nothing had happened for a few hours until it failed again. I tried replacing the SATA cable to the SSD and plugging it into the other SATA 6 slot on the motherboard, but to no avail. Am I right in diagnosing this as a storage related issue, do people think, and does anyone have any suggestions on how best to narrow this down? If it helps, I think that I have some spare hard drives somewhere, and I might well be able to make up (or find) a live CD.
  18. jamespetts

    Odd issue

    Thank you very much for your assistance with this. I am trying to track down the name of the SSD - GSmartControl lists it as an M4-CT06M4SSD2, which Google tells me is a Crucial M4 64Gb unit. The lshw command tells me that the controller is an AsMedia Technology SATA controller. I am not sure how to obtain information about the firmware version when running in Linux, however, or update the firmware when running in Linux, for that matter. I have managed to extract more information from a failure state, too. When I open a terminal window and type "ls", it responds with "bus error". I am, however, able to change directories and sucessfully list the contents of a network drive.
  19. IBM's infamous Deskstar 75GXP was dubbed the "deathstar" because of its tendency to fail. I bought one in the first half of 2001, a 30Gb model, for my then reasonably fast 600mhz Pentium III (slot 1!). Since then, it has been in use in a case that had for some time been poorly ventilated on and off for just over six years until a week or two ago, I decommissioned the now rather elderly computer in which the drive had been operating, removing the drive. It was still working without any reported problems. True, for the last two and a half years of its life, it had been turned off at night, and in 2003, I had applied the firmware patch that provided a workaround for one of the "click of death" failures. It had been running ReiserFS on a Linux install since 2004, which would tend to keep the heads moving, and had always been installed in an older computer, and thus limited to UDMA/33, although whether that would make a difference, I don't know. Its sister drive, a 5,400RPM 40Gb Deskstar 40GV, which I bought some months after the 75GXP died (with the well-known "click of death" failure) last year after being moved into a different machine that was always on, rather than turned off at night, and suddenly being made to do a great deal of work, after having been a little-used backup drive before. Does anyone else have any long-living 75GXP experiences? I should be very interested to hear others' tales :-)
  20. jamespetts

    Deathstar longevity record?

    Literally a shoebox?
  21. jamespetts

    Is eSATA really slower than USB 2.0?

    eSATA is exactly like internal SATA, except the connector is different, and the cables can be twice as long. One can even get a simple cable plug to convert between ordinary SATA and eSATA (although the cable lengths then have to be the standard 1m, rather than eSATA's 2m), so an eSATA hard drive will have exactly the same performance as an internal hard drive: the computer won't even be able to tell the difference.
  22. jamespetts

    2.5" HDD enclosures

    I have just noticed that the original Macpower enclosure is for a PATA drive, not an SATA drive like the 200Gb Toshiba, but its brother is for an SATA drive, albeit using an eSATA connector. It, however, is still "coming soon".
  23. jamespetts

    2.5" HDD enclosures

    I am in the process of specifying a new system to replace an ageing (cascaded) backup server and secondary desktop client that I have in my bedroom. I have decided to go with a mini-ITX solution, using the latest VIA EX10000EG motherboard/CPU bundle, a Noah case, a slimline DVD-RW/RAM drive, one internal hard drive (the 80Gb Travelstar 7K100), with the OS (I am thinking Ubuntu) on it, and a further external 2.5" hard drive as a dedicated backup drive. (The current computer has an old 80Gb backup drive that is very nearly full, even with a relatively limited backup set). For the backup hard drive, I want to use the Toshiba 200Gb model, for future-proofing on size, following the old maxim that one will always fill a hard drive eventually, so it is better to buy one much larger than one anticipates needing. What I am interested in is finding the appropriate drive enclosure. The main reason, incidentally, that I want the second hard drive to be external is that there is no room in the case to have it internal, and any case that would have room would be much, much bigger. I want a 2.5" enclosure to keep the overall size down. The difficulty is this: the only 2.5" hard drive enclosure that I can find in the UK that is currently available is this one (although they do not have it in stock, at least they give a definite arrival date). That is a combination USB 2.0/eSATA enclosure. I am interested in using eSATA so as not to clog up USB bandwidth, to improve performance, because I am suspicious of whether I will get sensible USB HDD drivers in Linux, and because it is a more efficient solution overall: why use USB when there's a spare SATA header on the motherboard (which can be used as an eSATA header with appropriate converter cable and hole in the back of the motherboard plate, providing that the cable length is kept below a meter). The problem is power. That enclosure appears to be powered only through the USB port, which is manifestly inefficient in terms of cabling if one is using eSATA. More than that, however, USB, even with a proximate powered hub, can only provide 500mA/line. Taking wattage figures from a website review whose location eludes me for the present, and assuming a simple W=VA formula, I calculated that the 200Gb Toshiba would consume a maximum of 580mA: above the USB specification. So, it would seem that the drive that I want is not compatible with the only external case available. I have since seen this rather more promising (and aesthetically pleasing) looking device, using standard SATA, rather than eSATA, and having a separate power connector to which to attach a transformer. It does not, however, have any indication of when it will be available, and that website seems to have claimed that it will be "coming soon" since February. Do any of you keen-witted readers have any ideas as to what I might do about this dilemma?
  24. I have just been trying to install a new SCSI drive in the server at work, and, whenever I try to boot with the drive attached, I get a "Time-out failure during SCSI inquiry command" error whenever the bus to which it is attached is scanned. I have made sure that only the last device on the cable is terminated (the cable comes with a termination block), and made sure that the device ID (2) of the new device is different to the device ID (0) of the original hard drive. I have tried it with and without the old hard drive present (when without, ensuring that the new drive was connected to the terminated end of the cable, and then putting the old one back at a non-terminated point in the cable), all to no avail. Even when the known good hard drive is connectd to the bus in addition to the new hard drive, the entire bus will time out, and the computer will fail to boot. It will work as normal when I disconnect the new hard drive entirely. For some reason, the server has a spare SCSI PCI card: I tried plugging the drive into that, and still had no success. The new hard drive has an SCA connector, and the SCSI bus is a 68-pin type, so I had to buy an adaptor from Maplin to get it to connect. The SCA adaptor has an SCA plug on one end to go into the hard drive, and, on the other end, one 68-pin socket for the cable, on Molex power connector, and one bank of jumpers. I have made sure that the Molex power is the right way around (the cable is keyed). I have, as stated above, set the jumpers to make the ID of the new drive different to the existing drive. I have tried both with and without synchronious transfer (set with jumpers), with no difference in either case. I do not know what the jumper settings described in the adaptor's leaflet as ""Start" and "Start delay" are. Despite everything above, could I be doing something wrong (maybe with termination? This is the first time that I have installed a SCSI hard drive), or is the drive dead?
  25. jamespetts

    Is my new SCSI drive dead?

    Hmm, that would mean buying a new one, and then, if it also doesn't work, having two different adaptors, one of which is no use, and being no further forward. Do you have a strong reason to believe that the problem really is with the SCA adaptor?