I’ve recently been trying several different backup options to get data from my unRAID NAS out of my home. First I setup my old Raspberry Pi 2 in my shed with a USB HDD. However shortly after the HDD died and I don’t trust the USB-SATA adaptor anymore. Secondly as a stop gap solution, I setup my old laptop which has a completely dead battery with a different smaller USB HDD.
Now it’s time to come up with a more reliable solution for the longer term. This guide can help you do the same using Ubuntu Server 20.04 LTS. I am using an old PC that works reliably and is easy to replace parts in if they fail.
- Reliable PC or Laptop with wake on lan (WOL) support.
- Hard Disk large enough to backup your irreplaceable files.
- USB Stick with Ubuntu Server installer.
The idea is to only backup irreplaceable files such as projects and photo/video libraries. I won’t be backing up PLEX or ISO stores as they are replaceable and backing them up would mean spending more for larger backup storage. I keep everything I want to backup on a single share to make my life easier.
Location of Backup Server
In case of fire I won’t be keeping this backup inside my house. The easiest out-of-home solution for me ends up being to place this backup in my shed. This is not proper off-site backup as it’s still on premises however it’s the next best option. Also I already have power and ethernet in the shed which makes it easy. An improvement over my solution here is putting it off-site in the house of parents/siblings or at your work location.
Installing Ubuntu Server
You can create an Ubuntu Server installer USB using Rufus. Keep in mind Rufus has options for GTP (EFI only) and MBR (BIOS/EFI boot). If your computer is from before 2011 you will likely need to set it to MBR. The below video shows a basic installation with a static IP. You can install this with the same steps on real hardware! Make sure to enable SSH during installation as it allows remote management.
Once the installation is completed it’s always a good idea to do updates as this can prevent a lot of drama.
sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade -y
SSH in to your server, if you don’t know how to do this yet I have a guide here!