Ditching the server, going NAS all the way!

Last week after a power outage, my home server C: drive died.  The server was an old mini desktop with slow Celeron CPU and an annoying loud fan along and was serving two purposes: file server and running CrashPlan.  My backup strategy with CrashPlan was to back up in the cloud and to a second hard drive.  A few months ago, I bought a new ASUS RT-AC68U router that has two USB port where you can plug external USB drives and I was thinking of using it as a NAS instead of my old server but why fix what's not broken, right?  Well now that it's broken, why not do it!  :-)

So I plugged two Seagate 3GB external drive in the router.  The one acting as the main files share drive in the router's USB 3 port and the second one in the router's USB 2 port.  The second one would act as a backup drive.

I copied my files to the main drive and configured the router to act as "network place", a DLNA media server and a iTunes server.

In Windows, things can't get simpler as you see the router as a network device in File Explorer so it's easy to map a drive letter to a folder.

I decided to installed CrashPlan on my main desktop because it is always on.  Setting it up  was more challenging because CrashPlan does not see network shares but there's an easy solution, simply create a directory symbolic link using the Mklink.exe Windows utility.

mklink /d "c:\backup" \\nas\sharename

This way, CrashPlan can see the network folder.  So I configured it with my paid account to backup the main drive to the cloud AND to backup to the local backup drive.  This way, I have two copies: one local and one in the Cloud.  I also configured it to backup this desktop to the backup drive.  For the other computers, I also installed CrashPlan but since I backup these ones only to the local backup drive, I don't need to have a paid account for each of these.  Sweet!

Now do I backup the computers' backups?  I see two possible ways, from my main desktop I can backup the backups in the cloud or I can backup them on a local external drive that I would plug on that computer.  Not sure yet.

As for the media files, every device is happy seeing the music, the videos and the pictures either directly from the network shares or from DNLA or an iTunes library.

This works for me and may not work for you as your needs may differ from mines however, I can say that I'm super happy with CrashPlan and my ASUS RT-AC68U.


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