Backing up all family devices

The 3-2-1 backup rule states that there should be 3 copies of your data – 2 local and 1 offsite.

I run central home Ubuntu server 24×7 and it makes sense to backup all family devices to it and backup the server to the cloud. This is the most convenient option for the local backup, whether it is a Mac, Windows, Android, or an Ubuntu machine. Direct cloud backup from the devices can be used instead of (or in addition to) the server’s cloud backup too.

Samba server

In order to connect all the devices to the Ubuntu server in a single and easily supported way I decided to use a Samba server. Here are the key installation steps:

Install samba:

sudo apt install samba

Set up workgroup name, set security to user, and disable guest access in /etc/samba/smb.conf

	workgroup = MASTER
	security = USER
	map to guest = never

Then set up backup shares (one for each user account you wish to use):

	comment = Mac Backup
	path = /media/cloud/backup-mac/
	browsable = yes
	valid users = asteri
	read only = no
	guest ok = no

Add users who can access the defined shares with the ‘smbpasswd’ command.

sudo  smbpasswd -a asteri

Restart the service to apply new settings:

sudo systemctl restart smbd.service nmbd.service

Samba how-to
Samba guide for Ubuntu

Backing up Ubuntu

Even on the Ubuntu machine itself I follow the 3-2-1 rule and perform a regular backup of all files to a 3TB separate encrypted disk. For simplicity and integration I use Ubuntu’s own Backup tool (Déj? Dup) although I am still looking for a more powerful and efficient software such as Borg Backup, and hope it gets a nice integrated UI some day.

Backing up Apple devices

The simplest solution (from Mac perspective) is the built-in Time Machine. I used to install a netatalk server on the Ubuntu server to create a new local time capsule. It worked well but this time I opted to re-use the Samba server and a more transparent backup using a freeware tool Backuplist+ Backuplist+ has the advantage that it can create a copy of the files instead of unreadable archives.

Netatalk (time capsule on Ubuntu)

Backing up Android devices

FolderSync is one of the well supported applications that have the option of backing up to a samba share.

Backing up Windows devices

One of the easiest way is to use File History feature. It enables scheduled copies of your data to the samba share.


I’m sure this set-up will evolve over time. Tips for similar free or low cost cross-platform solutions are always welcome!