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Broke Boy System Snapshots and Cloud Sync on my Manjaro Workstation

This is a work in progress. I’m finally confronting file structure on my system so I can do “pro work”. The options and solutions are plentiful – I just need a plan.

Right now, however, I’m broke. I’ve got to work with what I’ve got, and hopefully when I land my first gig, I can get a NAS, and more portable storage to keep physically “offsite”, in case of fire or theft, etc.

None of this is advice and everyone’s needs are different. I’m just trying to blog every day about Linux, and thought I would share if anyone is thinking about switching from Windows or Mac.

And of course for any coding I do, I have to use Git. I should set up my Gitlab right after I publish this, another thing I’ve been procrastinating about.

TL;DR – I’m using TimeShift for system files and testing MEGA for cloud backups and sync.

My Current Drives.

Four drives (totaling 3.5tb) are in my computer:

Two 1tb NVMe drives on my motherboard (wish I got a motherboard with three!) – “1. System” and “2. Work”.

Two ssds – one 500gb (“3. Samples”) and another 1tb (“4. ?Unknown”).

Nobody curr, but “3. Samples” is the only drive with a lot of stuff on it right now – about 230gb of samples I rescued from my Macbook Pro that died in 2017, and I still plan on curating this drive often. It’s oddly overwhelming to start from a blank slate.

My two external drives:

4tb external usb mechanical hard drive “5. Backupy” – Backups and ‘dumps’, to be sorted. Stays offline. I need at least one drive to duplicate this to asap.

500gb “6. Usb-c Portable SSD” – To mirror my internal “3. Samples” drive, so I can take my samples on the go, have a backup, have presets and configuration file saved, etc. For a while, there should be space on here for other stuff, but I need more portable drives for actual project backup.


TimeShift for Operating System File Shapshots.

For backing up my system files, I’m using Timeshift. It ships with Manjaro KDE, and I set it up to do a ton of snapshots (Monthly – keep 2, Weekly – keep 3, Daily – keep 5, Hourly – keep 10. And I should probably do a manual snapshot before I do any big system upgrades).

Overkill? Probably / yes, but the point is to get up and running as soon as possible if I screw something up and can’t boot anymore. This is my work machine!

In theory, I should be able to install Manjaro fresh and get up and running ASAP, but that doesn’t always go as smoothly as planned when there is a deadline. I need to test restoring a snapshot from booting off of a live usb stick, as if my system was hypothetically stuck. If I can get that down, that’s one headache I won’t have. Manjaro, while community tested, has rolling release updates. But also I’ve been able to fix most things. Probably overkill…

I’m doing the snapshots to the 4tb external hard disk (5. “Backupy”), and I will keep an eye on the size (so far 2 days of Snapshots is only 18.7gb). Is this the best place to keep them?


Cloud Storage and Sync Choices on Manjaro.

First, I just want to say be careful what you put in cloud storage. Think about your long term privacy and security.

If I’m producing music or mixing tracks, I should probably have those projects sync’ed to the cloud. Any Blender projects I’m working on, why not? In theory I will sync my Reaper Production folder to my Thinkpad and be able to build tracks from any computer, and save the heavy duty mixing for when I’m at my workstation, everything sync’ed up and ready to go.

If you’re going to be sync’ing files, remember to make sure you have increased the number of inotify watchers.

Google Drive and Dropbox are out.

Google Drive is out, because they don’t even have an official client for Linux (even though you can get sync to work). If I can find something that syncs my photos on Android (a Pixel 2XL is my main camera), I might be able to replace Google’s Photos app, too.

Dropbox does have a Linux client, but they are out because I don’t trust them. If I have clients that demand I use Dropbox because they are used to it, I will reconsider, but I doubt it will come up.

MEGA Checks All the Boxes.

Mega is the first cloud storage service I’m trying. End to End privacy made this an easy choice. Many services don’t offer it, or it’s an add-on in the case of pCloud.

Mega came with 15gb of storage out of the box, but gave 90gb worth of bonus space (35gb of that expires after 30 days, and the rest expires after 6 months), which gives me a chance to honestly evaluate the service.

So far, I’ve sync’ed 19gb+, more than the original 15gb alotted. So I’m paying soon…

MEGA
400gb$5.59
2tb$11.19
8tb$22.40
16tb$33.61
Mega pricing tiers
Google Drive
1tb$9.99
2tb$19.99
10tb$99.99
20tb$199.99
Similar Google Drive tiers

The price also makes it an easy choice, though.

If you pay for MEGA for a year, you can get 2 of those months for free, so I hope I stumble onto a spare $220.40 soon for the 8tb. 2tb would probably work for me, as well.

The MEGA apps on both Manjaro and Android are simple and useful, and offer exactly what you want to do with cloud storage.

I installed the sync app on Manjaro from the AUR, and it failed the first time. I went down the list of dependencies one by one and checked if I had them, and after installing what I needed, no issues so far.

pCloud Was Runner Up.

pCloud also has good deals. They are a contender. If anything goes sideways with MEGA, I’m turning to pCloud. The reviews are great everywhere I’ve looked (top tier, usually ranked above MEGA), but they do charge $50 a year to encrypt your files end to end like MEGA does. Do I even need that?!

pCloud also has lifetime plans which cost about 3.5x the yearly plans, as I look right now – $350 for 2tb for life + $150 for the end to end encryption for life.

Yandex Disk and SpiderOak

Really, I think I’m going to be happy with one of the first two, but just wanted to mention these because they both apparently work on Linux.

Yandex Disk got some good reviews in blog posts, even though they all warn that it’s a Russian service, so one should be wary of Russian privacy laws, without elaborating. Hmmmm….

SpiderOak got a shout out from Edward Snowden in like 2014. That’s pretty much all that anyone says about it.

NextCloud is Probably the Choice for Personal Sync.

Someday, I want to set up my own Nextcloud Sync on a rapberri pi or whatever the cool kids do. There are providers who will install NextCloud for you for free with a few gb to try out, too, I think. Ultimately, this feels like the right direction for alot of my needs, but now is not the time.


Welp, that’s where I’m at right now….

Thinking of My Next Steps.

I should have ample local and cloud storage to keep things safe for the moment, but I will still need to invest a few hundred dollars a month for a little while to build up clones and redundancy.

The immediate plan is to buy one of these desktop Western Digital usb drives that goes on sale all the time. I think 8gb comes down to $140, 12gb $200, and 14gb $250 (don’t quote me on those prices). At this point I could easily clone everything onto one of those and keep it in the secret location. That’s easy mode.

Obviously, I want a more sophisticated desktop solution. I would love a NAS. I would love more usb drives. And I would love maybe another 2 tb’s of internal storage.

I have to figure out where to dump my footage when I record videos and how to store it. And the same with photos. Where do I dump my sd cards. How do I process and tag and sort and store them? I have a lot of internal space, so for now, there.

Piece of Mind

I’ve made a lot of mistakes with data over the years. I had a recording studio in the 00’s, and I lost a disk in a harddrive raid that devastated me. I went into a severe depression. I still dream about having that work back and the lost opportunities.

Also in 2017, when my Macbook Pro died…and another time I had a weird Git error where I typed the wrong password and my files disappeared for a respository I was about to start for a project I was working on for a long time. etc.

These were painful, avoidable mistakes. I know it’s peace.

Some Stuff I have to Check Out / Learn

This is just a random list to end the blog post. Part 2 someday, when I actually have some data.

rsync

clonezilla

duplicati

deja dup

duplicacy

restic

unison

aptik

freefilesync

syncthing

backintime

2 good Manjaro threads:

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