In April 2011 one of my design clients asked me about the best way of backing up their data remotely. Since the setup for my photographer client was working so well, I suggested that a backup machine could be kept externally at someones home and the data could then be synced between this machine and a machine at the office. The setup consists of a staging computer that makes a copy of the data from the main server and this copy is then synced with the remote server computer that also keeps a few days worth of backups by using symbolic links.
Between March and April 2011, the photographer client was having a problem with his ADSL connection at his home and at one point, while he was on holiday, he had to call someone to go to his house to reset the router so that he could access his servers again. It was suggested that a device could be made that would connect to one of his servers and this would allow the router to be reset if it is detected that the internet connection has dropped. A box was constructed, tested and then dispatched to him and was again tested once he had connected it to the server.
In May 2010 a photographer client decided to get a mini unix server to act as a backup to his main server. In the months since then, this server has performed just as well as the first one and it has also been set up to send an email if there are any problems with the RAID. This server was made with a new mini case that had just come out and it can hold up to 6 drives, but the client decided to start out with just 4 drives. If he decides to add any more drives later, then the number of RAID disks and the filesystem can be expanded without the loss of any data.
A mini unix server was set up for a client back in April 2010 and it has performed beyond expectations. At least the odd call or two, was expected, with connection or file access problems, but not one single call has been received from the client with any problems. It looks like these free unix systems are so stable that I can see why it is hard to find any companies that offer them, they have probably realised that they will not generate a lot of revenue when it comes to the support calls.