Odds are that if you’re reading this post, you are among the people in your circle of family and friends that knows about computers and technology. So, you’re likely to be one of the people, or maybe the sole person, that folks call to get help fixing their computer. Computer repairs are frequently performed by folks like us who may be experienced and certified, but you don’t necessarily need formal training in the field. And demand for fixing stuff is way up, everyone you know has one or more computers.
We recently had Nathaniel Lindley on our broadcast discussing this very topic. By day, Nathaniel is a Technology Support Specialist for a school system in Minnesota, and like many of us by night he’s the “backup expert” for his extended family. He discussed the way he uses Drobo with CrashPlan software and cloud storage to not only protect data on his Drobo, but also have his Drobo serve as the offsite backup location for 20+ others. CrashPlan offers “social backup”, which can be really cool for home users, especially if they are not overly technical.
My favorite quote of the webcast: “If you want me to help you with your computer, you have to use CrashPlan”. I like it because it’s helping someone help himself or herself. CrashPlan works for any storage inside or connected directly to the computer where the software runs, including direct-attached Drobos. Another cool element of the solution is some of the storage in the social backup cloud is a Home Server. Drobos can be great back-end storage to a home server, whether it is a WHS 2012 system from Microsoft, or a Mac Mini like Nathaniel uses at his house.
Net = To be honest, my visceral reaction is “No, I will not fix your computer” (I need to buy one of those T-shirts . Quickly I flow through the Kübler-Ross model in my head and accept the fact I will help my friends and family anyway. There are strings attached though: making sure they go buy a Drobo to do better backups and to protect themselves from a hard drive crash. Nathaniel makes sure his family and friends use CrashPlan in the same spirit. It’s something we can all consider recommending. You offer space on your Drobo, but only if in return they reciprocate with space on their Drobo to give you offsite backup.