It is true of most photographers today that our assets come in two forms — gear and digital media. You've got your gear insured and you feel good about that. Great! But what about your digital assets? All of your photos are wrapped up on an external drive or two. Is that good enough? The answer is NO WAY. Hard drives all eventually die and so it is highly recommended that you have two or even three copies of your photos, and in data redundant environments, if possible.
Enter the Synology DiskStation. There are a number of reasons why I chose (and recommend) Synology but I'll spare a lot of the mundane technicalities and just say this — simply put, Synology offers a wide array of products which ensures they have something to meet every backup need, and they by far most robust software suite of any off-the-shelf solution on the market.
Wondering what the heck rsync is? Wikipedia says "rsync is a utility software and network protocol for Unix-like systems that synchronizes files and directories from one location to another while minimizing data transfer by using delta encoding when appropriate." The shorter, easier to understand answer is that rsync is a means to backup files from one place to another over your network.
Before we dive into the rSync configuration, I want to answer one question I get often about backing up photos. Why not just use Time Machine? There are a number of reasons:
Okay, of the preamble. Let's get down to business shall we?
1. Configure your Synology DiskStation to allow network backup
The first thing you'll need to do is make sure your NAS is configured correctly. Start by logging in to your DiskStation through the web interface.
Then click the application launcher in the top left corner of the web interface and select Control Panel.
From the Control Panel select Network Backup.
Make sure that the Enable network backup service box is checked. Then click Apply.
2. Setup a new shared folder for your backups
This is where you will tell rsync to send your backups. Once again navigate to the control panel. This time open Shared Folder.
Click the Create button to create a new network shared folder.
Give your new share a name and description. IMPORTANT: The name should not contain spaces. Then press OK.
You will be prompted to set permissions for the new share. Give Read/Write access to any user accounts you will use to create backups from. Then press OK.
You should now be able to access your new share from you computer. Let's give it a try!
3. Verify your new share is accessible from your computer
Open a new finder window, navigate to your DiskStation and verify that you see your new share. If you don't know how to connect to your DiskStation as a server, instructions can be found on the Synology website.
1. Launch Terminal
Either by navigating to Applications / Utilities / Terminal or by hitting ⌘+Space and typing Terminal.
2. Launch rsync via command line interface
In the Terminal window, type the following BUT DO NOT PRESS ENTER: "rsync -av "
You don't want the quotes, but you do want the space behind -av.
3. Tell rsync where to find your file source (photos, etc to be backed up)
The entire syntax for the rsync command is "rsync (arguments) (source) (destination)"
In this case our arguments (-av) tell the program to maintain time & date permissions (a) and copy in verbose mode (v) so you can see what's going on.
To tell rsync where to find your file source we're going to use the drag-and-drop interface built into Mac OS.
Open finder and locate your source. In my case it's my external drive. Single click and hold on the folder / drive to backup, drag it into the terminal window and release. This will populate the next part of the rsync syntax with the path of your files.
4. Tell rsync where you want to back your files up to (destination)
For this I recommend putting a dated subfolder inside your recently created backup share. The process is the same as above; just drag-and-drop.
That's it! Once the syntax is complete, simply press return (enter) and watch in amazement as your files are transported across the network to your DiskStation.
A few more things to consider:
I hope you find this information helpful. Now go! Backup your files!
-- Andrew Birklid