Recommendations for a backup server

iroc409

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jun 17, 2006
Messages
1,338
I have wanted to build a backup server for some time, but never thought it was useful to have a backup server on the same shelf sitting next to the primary server. Right now I have some USB drives in rotation on sneakernet off site, but it's not the best solution by itself. I'll keep using the offsite drives, but go to rotating them once a month. It dawned on me that I might be able to do a semi-off-site backup server in my garage. I live in an apartment on the third floor, and my garage is in the building next door. While it's not exactly off site, it's in a separate building. I think my most likely threat is fire or theft, and putting a backup system there does a pretty good job of mitigating it. The buildings are modern with sprinkler systems, and fire response is pretty quick so I think the odds of both buildings being damaged that much is minimal. The garage is not marked in a way that you can tell who it belongs to, and not everyone has a garage. Earthquake is the next most likely, but so far here there hasn't been any big enough to destroy things. If we have a flood that takes out my third floor apartment we're in biblical end-of-times so not super high on my list of concerns.

I have 3 USB externals right now, two 8TB and one 12TB (EasyStores). The 8TB are getting pretty full, so the idea is to shuck both of them and replace them with 12TB drives to continue full backups. As the 8TB isn't enough, I'd either just need to run a JBOD or use a mirror and only backup my most valuable data (currently around 2.5TB).

I've traded a few emails with Mikrotik and believe I have a solution for a wireless link for the system in the garage. It won't be GigE speed, but it should be sufficient (and I'd seed the box on the local wired network).

The primary server is a Supermicro with ECC running ZFS on FreeBSD. I have plenty of hardware laying around to make a server-class backup system, but small and low power are also desirable so I've been looking at a few options and not sure what I should choose:
  • Server system with ECC, probably a G-series Intel but have plenty of Xeons laying around, would run FreeBSD/ZFS and just use NFS or rsync or snapshots over SSH. Practically free hardware-wise.
  • A small ARM system, rPi with USB external drives, Odroid HC2 or H2 (H2 is x86)
  • Synology NAS, probably a DS220j

Not running a full server I'd lose ECC and probably ZFS, but I only have one power outlet in the garage. As it's an apartment I can't do the fun garage stuff I'm accustomed to, but I do still work in it from time to time so I have some LED lighting and such that I run in there occasionally. Having a compact, low-power solution is pretty desirable. I don't need any extra features other than a NFS target or SSH, so a lot of the features of the Synology won't be used (hence the lower models). I even have a small UPS that just got orphaned that would probably run the Synology or Odroid long enough for any of the outages we have around here.

What are your thoughts on the best way to go? Do I really need redundancy in this situation? For true off site I've been thinking of adding static annual backups, is that severe overkill with the rotated backups?
 

likeman

Gawd
Joined
Aug 17, 2011
Messages
707
I have wanted to build a backup server for some time, but never thought it was useful to have a backup server on the same shelf sitting next to the primary server. Right now I have some USB drives in rotation on sneakernet off site, but it's not the best solution by itself. I'll keep using the offsite drives, but go to rotating them once a month. It dawned on me that I might be able to do a semi-off-site backup server in my garage. I live in an apartment on the third floor, and my garage is in the building next door. While it's not exactly off site, it's in a separate building. I think my most likely threat is fire or theft, and putting a backup system there does a pretty good job of mitigating it. The buildings are modern with sprinkler systems, and fire response is pretty quick so I think the odds of both buildings being damaged that much is minimal. The garage is not marked in a way that you can tell who it belongs to, and not everyone has a garage. Earthquake is the next most likely, but so far here there hasn't been any big enough to destroy things. If we have a flood that takes out my third floor apartment we're in biblical end-of-times so not super high on my list of concerns.

I have 3 USB externals right now, two 8TB and one 12TB (EasyStores). The 8TB are getting pretty full, so the idea is to shuck both of them and replace them with 12TB drives to continue full backups. As the 8TB isn't enough, I'd either just need to run a JBOD or use a mirror and only backup my most valuable data (currently around 2.5TB).

I've traded a few emails with Mikrotik and believe I have a solution for a wireless link for the system in the garage. It won't be GigE speed, but it should be sufficient (and I'd seed the box on the local wired network).

The primary server is a Supermicro with ECC running ZFS on FreeBSD. I have plenty of hardware laying around to make a server-class backup system, but small and low power are also desirable so I've been looking at a few options and not sure what I should choose:
  • Server system with ECC, probably a G-series Intel but have plenty of Xeons laying around, would run FreeBSD/ZFS and just use NFS or rsync or snapshots over SSH. Practically free hardware-wise.
  • A small ARM system, rPi with USB external drives, Odroid HC2 or H2 (H2 is x86)
  • Synology NAS, probably a DS220j

Not running a full server I'd lose ECC and probably ZFS, but I only have one power outlet in the garage. As it's an apartment I can't do the fun garage stuff I'm accustomed to, but I do still work in it from time to time so I have some LED lighting and such that I run in there occasionally. Having a compact, low-power solution is pretty desirable. I don't need any extra features other than a NFS target or SSH, so a lot of the features of the Synology won't be used (hence the lower models). I even have a small UPS that just got orphaned that would probably run the Synology or Odroid long enough for any of the outages we have around here.

What are your thoughts on the best way to go? Do I really need redundancy in this situation? For true off site I've been thinking of adding static annual backups, is that severe overkill with the rotated backups?
for simplelist solution Synology NAS boxes as they have built in Synology Drive for backup and file recovery (first time backup just do it in house then move it offsite or garage) Strongly recommend the Use of SHR 2 (2 disk reducanly) or RAID 6 if your not planning on expanding the array (SHR Synology Raid is more flexible, also all the drives don't have to be the same size), you need a 4 bay NAS and 4 drives,, i assume all backups on "Synology Drive" are read only to prevent ransomware form been able to delete backups
https://www.synology.com/en-uk/dsm/feature/drive

also if you get the Right Synology nas box there is a Free "Active Backup for Business" tool you can install on your nas that free (it can do Full system image backup and targeted backup (like Synology Drive targeted only) and to top it all off its by default configured for read only access so even ransomware can't delete the backups as they are read only) also make sure its a 4 bay NAS (DS420+) not 2 bay or you only get mirroring (SHR1 only or RAID1) the active backup is only on some models of Synology (the J version norm only have personal Synology Drive backup but still has history function and timeline search backup)

https://www.synology.com/en-uk/dsm/feature/active_backup_business
https://www.synology.com/en-uk/dsm/packages/ActiveBackup
https://www.synology.com/en-uk/know..._Backup_for_Business_with_DSM_backup_packages

or server running FreeNAS configured correctly for snapshots backups or windows/Linux servers with RAID 6 hardware LSI raid card

ideally should not ever RAID5, Z1 or SHR1 (depending on how much you want to keep your data) you need 4 bay nas for it
 

mwroobel

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Jul 24, 2008
Messages
4,994
How much space do you think you will need over the next 36-48 months? I agree with Likeman, if you want low power/easy to use then a 4 or 8 bay Synology is your best bet. Run Synology RAID/RAID6/SHR on top of their BTRFS implementation (This does NOT use BTRFS RAID which has issues.) This will give you the COW resiliency of ZFS with a much easier in-place upgrade path where you can add 1 drive at a time and not worry about your existing layout.
 
Joined
Jul 18, 2018
Messages
32
I am running a DL360 with 24TB DAS and MSL2024 library attached to it. I use Robocopy to copy data to the DAS on a schedule and let Windows 2012R2 dedupe take care of the backups to disk. From there I use VEEAM to encrypt and backup to LTO7 in the MSL. It's a bit overkill and power requirements are high so I only have it running when I'm doing the backups so it's a bit manual.

I agree with the 2 above, if you want something a little more effortless get the Synology NAS (I have one of those too but just don't have the space on it to do backups with it as it's my media server).
 

kirbyrj

Fully [H]
Joined
Feb 1, 2005
Messages
26,261
I'd definitely just get a NAS and call it a day. Lower power requirement and they are pretty damn simple to use. I had a i5-8400 based file/Plex server running for years, but then I switched over to a Synology 1019+, and I was surprised how little I notice the difference.
 

iroc409

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jun 17, 2006
Messages
1,338
Thanks for all the input, this is definitely something to think about. I wasn't really planning on going down a massive rabbit hole for this, and I have a ton of parts laying around, but this have given me a lot to think about and I am considering it carefull. Honestly I was just thinking a pretty basic system to use as a NFS, SSH, or iSCSI target for running rsync backups.

My file server isn't anything special but it's a pretty decent system. I have really been eyeing those new HP Microserver Gen 10+, but the thought of dropping $2k on a new server (with drives) is tough to swallow when mine works. I have always been interested in Synology though. The idea with the small Synology wasn't really complexity but small and low power. I've been using this server system now for years to where it's pretty easy to set up, since I keep it to just file serving and don't install anything else on it. The backup machine doesn't even need SMB or anything like that, I can backup over SSH or iSCSI or something.

The Synology would work well if I went with more of a client-server situation with the end machines. Most of them have to be that way anyway, but I've been mostly working off the server. Using local SSD, it is so much faster and going beyond GigE is probably not a real consideration while I live where I am.

Synology NAS "Active Backup for Business" tool you can install on your nas that free (it can do Full system image backup and targeted backup (like Synology Drive targeted only) and to top it all off its by default configured for read only access so even ransomware can't delete the backups as they are read only)
...
or server running FreeNAS configured correctly for snapshots backups or windows/Linux servers with RAID 6 hardware LSI raid card
Whoa, so this backup software looks like a pretty interesting piece. If I'm reading it right it said it can do agentless versioned backups of servers. That sounds like a pretty killer feature.

Thanks for those links, I learned a few things I didn't know, and actually logged into the demo virtual DSM and had a look around. It is definitely a nice interface, and makes everything look pretty easy to set up.

ZFS snapshots is something I've not really delved into, because managing them seems like a pain. I've used it to migrate servers, but honestly mostly use rsync. Snapshots would obviously be better, and having versioning would be really nice.

How much space do you think you will need over the next 36-48 months? I agree with Likeman, if you want low power/easy to use then a 4 or 8 bay Synology is your best bet. Run Synology RAID/RAID6/SHR on top of their BTRFS implementation (This does NOT use BTRFS RAID which has issues.) This will give you the COW resiliency of ZFS with a much easier in-place upgrade path where you can add 1 drive at a time and not worry about your existing layout.
Hard to say. Sitting at 6.4TB total, probably add 1TB a year lately I'd guess, with a possibility of having a few TB chunk I'll add in the near future. I have 2.5TB of documents (mostly photography), the rest is my media collection.

QNAP is an additonal option for ease of use on par with Synology as well.
Thanks, I will check out QNAP!

I am going to seriously consider the NAS. I think the next step is getting the wireless link in and making sure that works before I drop a bunch of cash on a new server system, but this is all pretty interesting.
 

IdiotInCharge

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jun 13, 2003
Messages
14,481
I am going to seriously consider the NAS. I think the next step is getting the wireless link in and making sure that works before I drop a bunch of cash on a new server system, but this is all pretty interesting.
You're already done the NAS 'toy' part; running a server and so on.

Now you just need a NAS 'tool', and really, almost all of the various NAS vendors make suitable products for this purpose.
 

likeman

Gawd
Joined
Aug 17, 2011
Messages
707
Thanks for all the input, this is definitely something to think about. I wasn't really planning on going down a massive rabbit hole for this, and I have a ton of parts laying around, but this have given me a lot to think about and I am considering it carefull. Honestly I was just thinking a pretty basic system to use as a NFS, SSH, or iSCSI target for running rsync backups.

My file server isn't anything special but it's a pretty decent system. I have really been eyeing those new HP Microserver Gen 10+, but the thought of dropping $2k on a new server (with drives) is tough to swallow when mine works. I have always been interested in Synology though. The idea with the small Synology wasn't really complexity but small and low power. I've been using this server system now for years to where it's pretty easy to set up, since I keep it to just file serving and don't install anything else on it. The backup machine doesn't even need SMB or anything like that, I can backup over SSH or iSCSI or something.

The Synology would work well if I went with more of a client-server situation with the end machines. Most of them have to be that way anyway, but I've been mostly working off the server. Using local SSD, it is so much faster and going beyond GigE is probably not a real consideration while I live where I am.



Whoa, so this backup software looks like a pretty interesting piece. If I'm reading it right it said it can do agentless versioned backups of servers. That sounds like a pretty killer feature.

Thanks for those links, I learned a few things I didn't know, and actually logged into the demo virtual DSM and had a look around. It is definitely a nice interface, and makes everything look pretty easy to set up.

ZFS snapshots is something I've not really delved into, because managing them seems like a pain. I've used it to migrate servers, but honestly mostly use rsync. Snapshots would obviously be better, and having versioning would be really nice.



Hard to say. Sitting at 6.4TB total, probably add 1TB a year lately I'd guess, with a possibility of having a few TB chunk I'll add in the near future. I have 2.5TB of documents (mostly photography), the rest is my media collection.



Thanks, I will check out QNAP!

I am going to seriously consider the NAS. I think the next step is getting the wireless link in and making sure that works before I drop a bunch of cash on a new server system, but this is all pretty interesting.
do make sure you buy the + versions of the synology (don't believe the business active backup its supported on any J or any nas boxes with a letter on the end) if not you still get Synology Drive backup on all NAS boxes which allows folder targeted backups , i believe 30 differential backups (so 1 per day)

i would strongly recommend using SHR2 (disk disk redundancy) so a min 4-5 Bay nas, also SHR raid allows you to easy expend the array whenever you add or replace 2 or more larger disks
 

ochadd

Gawd
Joined
May 9, 2008
Messages
994
I use a Dell T20 server w/ ECC memory and Pentium dual core running Server 2012 R2 and a RAID 1 array of WD Red disks. Storage spaces with Dedupe and compression. Then Easeus Backup writing machine backups to it.
Power consumption is 34 watts active with drive writes happening. Uses 24 watts idle sitting. Measured with a Kill-A-Watt meter

It is nearly inaudible and 5 years on, no failures of any kind. It's no speed demon but I have 2 security cameras and BlueIris running on it as well.
 

iroc409

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jun 17, 2006
Messages
1,338
I use a Dell T20 server w/ ECC memory and Pentium dual core running Server 2012 R2 and a RAID 1 array of WD Red disks. Storage spaces with Dedupe and compression. Then Easeus Backup writing machine backups to it.
Power consumption is 34 watts active with drive writes happening. Uses 24 watts idle sitting. Measured with a Kill-A-Watt meter

It is nearly inaudible and 5 years on, no failures of any kind. It's no speed demon but I have 2 security cameras and BlueIris running on it as well.
I have a T20 sitting here collecting dust. They are great machines! I had some video problems initially with mine, Dell sent me a new one and it's been solid ever since. It's a nice reminder how little power they use, although 30W is nothing to sneeze at, it's not a substantial amount of power. I think my current server, a Supermicro with similar dual core, 7 4TB disks and 3 SSDs runs at about 70W.

I received my wireless kit, now I just need to set it up and make sure it works and go from there. I picked up a pair of Mikrotik GrooveA 52ac's based on their recommendations. I'm a little nervous when the quick start guide says don't get within 20cm of it, but I'm sure it's fine to run inside. :woot:
 
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