Backup solution for laptops that's easy to carry (and uses old hdds?)

I'm trying to figure out what is a good backup solution if you need to stay mobile (or rather, you're living in a temporary place), and have to back up something like 3 TB of laptop data.

So far I've been using a couple of SATA to USB adapters with a 2tb and a 1tb hdd (which are not enough for proper backups / redundancy), and using Acronis (true image) to pipe out data to those hdds. Since I've recently expanded my laptop's internal storage from 2tb to 3tb, I have to figure something else out.

I've been looking around the website for a bit and found a couple of pro NAS and SAN solution videos/posts but those don't really help me in my case.

What I (think I) need is a compact box with 4hdds or so (shouldn't be a server or a PC, more of a hub), that I can plug via usb to my laptop and tell my laptop to make various backups to it.

But what solutions are there that would take arbitrary-sized hdds that you have lying around (eg my 2tb and 1tb hdds and others) and magically maintain my backups on them with redundancy and error / corruption correction etc.?

Logan and Wendell keep mentioning that google uses cheap servers with crappy harddrives and hardware and use software to sort everything out; but how can we do something similar?


PS: If you know of anything better (and open-source-er) than Acronis for backups, please do tell.
PPS: What are the largest (affordable and reliable) backup hdds available?

I do not know of a device that large, but I just wanted to ask is the laptop your only computer? What are doing that's using that much space?

It would help to know what kind of connections your laptop has.
like usb w/version

Yes my laptop is my only computer. (any desktop computer(s) I "own" are not in the same country as I am)
It has 2x usb3 and 2x usb2. no external satas or firewire or anything like that.

I have a 1tb hdd, a 2tb hdd in an optical drive caddy, and a 256gb ssd in the laptop. I have about 2TB of data that I would like backed up (let's say the last 1tb is reserved for video editing). It consists of a couple of OS-es, software, music, non-steam games, various material and project files (photoshops, 3d, videos, game development projects (unity/unreal)) which makes half of it, and the other half is mostly media. I also may have a couple of "truecrypt" volumes.

I could set up a home server somewhere like my parents house or whatever, to backup all the static stuff (ie media) via the internets, though I don't have the time or the money for that sort of project right now.
But I may do that in some months; so then what devices do you know of, which are not "that large" that I could use for the essential stuff?

PS: Even if I build a home server, I want one that can handle arbitrary-sized hard drives of various ages and form factors which I have accumulated over the years. I don't want to have to buy something like 6 new perfectly identical hdds.

Okay, I think I have an idea of what you are looking for you basicly need a nas, but one small enough to take with you will be a problem they don't make a hard drive hub so to speak they make ones that can hold one drive of any size or a cheap nas that holds two drives which may or may not need to be the same size.

a few options
1. A nas such as this. i dont know the brand or anything like that so if you chose this we(the form) would have to suggest something like it but one that is high quality but not high price.

  1. A hard drive Dock, can hold any size but needs power

  2. A portable hard drive Enclosure that you can stick in one of your drives or a new massive one.

I think 6Tb is the highest drive you can get but they are not cheap.

Please note that I am not suggesting these particular ones just the product variant itself.

Also note other versions of the linked products may have ones that don't need external power.

Yeah I guess I'd need a nas. 6gb should be fine, it's just that I'd rather use existing hdds than buy a new (expensive) one. The idea is that we will always keep ending up with more and more old hdds lying around as we upgrade our systems, and they are perfect candidates to let them die in a backup system with redundancy.

A hdd dock will just make all inserted drives show up as separate drives in my pc, whereas the NAS will act as one entity, right? But AFAIK a NAS won't work with arbitrary drives, if it needs to raid anything. If it does some other sort of clever and reliable software raid that Wendell would approve of, then it would be great, but I know of no such things.

Power isn't the issue. I never plan to back up while running on battery. The 2 external hdds I have are big internal hdds that I just use externally (I don't even have them in a dock or enclosure, I just use sata to usb adapters with external power). This was "convenient" albeit inelegand and unsafe, because they're as compact and cheap as it gets.

Ya the dock basically turns them in to thumb drives/flash drives. And the nas makes them one volume, with some form of raid some have other types of redundancy too. but they probably are more expensive.

a nas will work with any drive as long as they are the same size.

if you want to use the old drives all i can say is to make a file server partition them and do some kind of software raid like setup. or sell them. or use them as archival drives put stuff on them stick a label on it and shelve it.

the way tech works is if you cant use it try to sell it so maybe someone else can or... trash it. kinda like cell phones, new models come out so fast now, its stupid.

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