Thoughts on home network storage

Working in IT, I am reminded daily of the importance of a good backup strategy. Given the diversity of computer platforms I run at home, I wanted to revisit the methods I use for backup. Previously, USB attached storage drives would be the traditional route, using tools like rsync and rsnapshot to grab data on the linux side, and whatever free tool of the month I wanted to try on the windows side. While the USB attached backup system works fairly well, I found I got lazy about running backups since the computer the drive is attached does not run 24x7, so backing up meant booting that system or disconnecting the USB drive and hauling it over to whatever system I wanted to backup. I certainly could just leave a system up all the time, but I am also trying to be conscious about power consumption and heat produced. What finally made me rethink my strategy was the USB disk was starting to produce filesystem errors and tell-tale bearing noises. Replacing the disk would be easy enough, but why not kill two birds with one stone and look at network attached storage. I did not need RAID since the storage would only server as a backup to the primary storage on the individual systems. I figured anything that would handle SMB/CIFS and FTP would be suitable for my needs, so that left a fairly wide field of low cost NAS devices. I decided on the Western Digital MyLive Book 1TB unit. The cost was only a little more then a standalone 1TB drive with enclosure and came with a 3 year warranty. The plus side was that the system runs a Debian variant and can be enabled for SSH access from the web management interface. A whole host of utilities already shipped with the O/S, and there was a wealth of application repos, as well as other hacks and mods, available for it. From the Linux side, I can push SSH keys to the device and run rsync over ssh transport, and from the Windows side, whatever backup solution I wanted to use since it was just a CIFS share. The WD drive does ship with their SmartWare, but I was unable to get the software to see the device form my XP system, even though I installed it from a mapped drive from that device. I decided to stick with a simple robocopy script which gets the job done. The MyBook Live has a whole host of other features which I have not fussed with yet, including mobile device access, DLNA/UPnP, and remote access through WD portal.

Device Specs: APM82181 800MHz CPU, 256MB RAM, 1TB storage capacity: $121 from Amazon.