I recently mentioned that my backup strategy has room for improvement. Fortunately I have a fairly capable router with a couple of USB ports, and a 1TB SSD. I’m going to use those things to set up an automated on-site backup for my laptop.

Acquaint the router with the SSD

You likely have a router made by someone else. In that case, this part will be different for you.

First I plug the SSD into the router’s USB port, and follow the router manufacturer’s instructions to configure the box as a NAS (network attached storage), using the SSD to store data. This also includes creating a user on the router (hey, it’s a Linux box in the end!) who can write to and read from the SSD.

Uh, why did I pick an SSD, and not a traditional hard drive? The latter offers a lot more space for the same price. SSDs may have faster read/write speeds (um, not sure? do they?), but that doesn’t really matter for backups. This isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon, yada yada.

I picked an SSD because I work and sleep in the same room as the router, and the noises of a traditional hard drive would bother me. Peace and quiet to me are worth more than money.

Install a backup program

When you search online for “Linux backup GUI”, the same 3-5 candidates pop up. I’m going with something called Back in Time, which I’m sure isn’t a subtle reference to Apple’s Time Machine offering.

Installation is just

	$ sudo apt-get install backintime-qt