Best backup method for home personal/home business files?

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Best backup method for home personal/home business files?

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Hello, I posted pretty much this same thread over on the "new" synology forum that everyone seems to hate. I appreciate the response there, but am hoping to find a little more active discussion here. The question below is a direct copy from the other forum up until the \\\.

So I'm sure this question has been asked umpteen times in different flavors, but I'm new to this and my head is kind of spinning as to what my best path to using my NAS for a backup is. My question is: which backup solution suits me best? Here's my situation:

I work from home. We have 2 laptops, plus mobile devices. I've purchased a DS918+ to act as my backup. It has (4) 2-TB drives in it Drives 1&2 are configured into Volume 1 via RAID1, while drives 3&4 are configured in Volume 2 via RAID1. Eventually I want to get another NAS and place it off-site to backup the on-site box, but my internet is pitifully slow and I'm afraid doing so will eat up all my bandwidth. Gotta keep Netflix running smoothly for the kids or I'm in trouble...

My plan is to use Volume 1 to backup/archive my business files, while Volume 2 will backup/archive personal files. I'm an engineer and my files get updated quite often because I constantly save them due to buggy design software I'm required to use. I want to be able to backup my engineering files from one specific working folder on my PC down to a specific backup folder within Volume 1. I want to be able to store up to say 10 versions of each file in the backup so that I have a history of work, in case I accidentally mess up a model. If a file gets deleted from the PC, I do not want it deleted from the backup until a set amount of time has passed (if possible). Once a project is complete, I plan to pull those files out of the working folder on the PC and store them in an archive folder in volume 1.

Volume 2 will be used for backing up all the rest of the files on the computer that are not in the engineering working directory, and will also be used as cloud storage for various personal files. In addition, it is going to be used as the main storage for 27000 photos we've taken.

So far, I've tried Cloud Station (because that's what is currently recommended if you search for backups in synology's help), Drive (because a Synology chat tech told me Drive replaced Cloud Station and would work better for me), and Active Backup (because another Synology chat tech told me it was probably a better solution for me). I didn't play with Cloud Station enough to know if I liked it or not, but I like some of Drive's mobile features for the personal side of things, so I don't plan on going back to Cloud station if I can avoid it. Drive Sync folders seem to do most of what I want, but I'm worried about what happens if I delete a file either on the NAS or the PC. I've played with Active Backup a bit, and it just doesn't feel like its quite what I want, but maybe I'm wrong.

I apologize for asking what I'm sure is an oft-repeated question, but there are so many different methods and options out there, I'm not sure which is the best for me. I've read through several threads and white papers and faqs and am getting bogged down in details and jargon. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

\\\ As a result of the feedback I got from the other forum, here's my plan:

1. Active Backup or Cloud Station Backup for backing up snapshots of the computer daily at midnight
2. Drive sync with only one-way sync (PC to sync folder) for backing up the working files in a specific PC folder.
3. Hyper backup for making a mirror of all data on the NAS to a USB HD.

What says the good people here? Solid plan, or does it need some work? I'm pretty new to this and didn't realize how in-depth setting this up would end up being. TIA.
 

jeyare

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do not forget:
  • RAID 1 can reduce written operations (and my files get updates quite offen), then proper disk hw choice is necessary. I ran 5y 7/24/365 Seagate Ironwolf with no troubles in same environment (10 peoples with offen updates of files with 32 versions)
  • to be sure, you have to count with possible RAID 1 degradation or data loss, when one of the RAID 1 disc will fly away, the second can do in same way 10 second after first. Then you have to count with (purchase new pair of discs, restoration time, ...). Then better is to chose two spare discs for the rest of discs positions and use them as Hot spare for primary RAID 1.
  • mixture usage of your idea for Volume 2 - as primary backup, cloud for personal, ... is not good idea, because you can lost all of the data with no redundancy - by lossing of the RAID 1, even USB HDD. Better choice as USB HDD is usage of another (two bays or more) Syno NAS and Backup plan between primary and secondary NAS, or for rest of environment (laptops, ...)
  • you can operate company and personal cloud in one system by different policy.
  • your concern about syncing between NAS and PC. When someone will do (accident or no) a data deletion, you have still choice of step back by Recycle bin of Drive (must be on the Versioning feature).
  • versioning in Syno drive is perfect for Win and Mac world integrated directly.
  • smart apps for iOS or Android are perfect choice for everyday data availability
 

Rusty

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@NAS Newbie 1st off welcome to the forum.

An extensive description of your NAS setup provides a nice and easy solution as well.

My personal setup for you would be in short a combination of Active Backup and Snapshot Replication packages (biz site), and on top of those, Drive (for personal side).

Active backup is Syno main new backup platform that you can use with all none Mac based OS. Give it a fair chance it's great. Snapshot replication is another package that does 2 things. Snapshot and replication. Considering you don't have a second NAS to replicate to, you can only do local snapshots of your shared folder. Keeping multiple copies for as long as you configure it (your history requirement). Also, this will help you restore any file if in any case you get hit by a crypto malware.

Drive is Synos latest syncing tool, so try and get used to it, others will be deprecated in the future so no point in getting used to them anyways.

So active backup for backups from your laptops to the NAS, Snapshot for backup and versioning already backed up files, and Drive for sync operations (as well as remote access for you or any other member to any file/folder of your choice).
 

fredbert

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Hi @NAS Newbie I think that I was the only one to reply to you on 'the community'. Must have missed you're responses as they only notify when replies or likes are made, not comments to replies.

If you want to use Snapshot Replication then your disks need to formatted as Btrfs, so if you want to use it then this is a fundament setup decision when adding the disks and making the volume.

Somewhere recently, may have been a different community thread, I definitely said that Drive one-way sync is not recommended because:

Drive tasks cannot have the same destination on the NAS.​
Meaning: if you want to have the Dropbox-like experience with your personal Drive folder then you need to back up PCs to a Team folder and that means you have to manually setup folder privileges to exclude all Drive users from read and/or write access to your data.​
Cloud Station Backup clients work with Drive and are fully 64-bit for supported OS (inc. Mac!! Hurray). They can back up to the Drive folder and have versioning, as setup in Drive Admin.

I couldn't tell you about Active Backup for Business as mine is a Mac house (ever since having a personal computer in mid 90's. And the Sinclair Spectrum isn't supported either). It looked like it had versions too. It would have been good if a Windows user on 'the community' had piped up and added help.

I did say to enable #recycle wastebaskets on the NAS as this provides a second level of recovery for Drive content.

I would definitely say to try using a Drive two-way sync task for 'dropbox' mode, just be aware that some applications may not work well if the same file is worked on concurrently: the sync state for which is latest can get confused. But I did say that this mode of working isn't backup of data since the working data is held on the NAS and sync'ed to client devices. Therefore, a backup of the NAS's Drive data would be sensible, and then that was why I'd use Hyper Backup with an off-NAS destination. The HBup destination can be whatever you have available: USB disk, rsync server, cloud service, etc.


The amount of backup and versioning, and where these are held depends on personal risk preference.



 
158
20
NAS
DS918+
do not forget:
  • RAID 1 can reduce written operations (and my files get updates quite offen), then proper disk hw choice is necessary. I ran 5y 7/24/365 Seagate Ironwolf with no troubles in same environment (10 peoples with offen updates of files with 32 versions)
  • to be sure, you have to count with possible RAID 1 degradation or data loss, when one of the RAID 1 disc will fly away, the second can do in same way 10 second after first. Then you have to count with (purchase new pair of discs, restoration time, ...). Then better is to chose two spare discs for the rest of discs positions and use them as Hot spare for primary RAID 1.
  • mixture usage of your idea for Volume 2 - as primary backup, cloud for personal, ... is not good idea, because you can lost all of the data with no redundancy - by lossing of the RAID 1, even USB HDD. Better choice as USB HDD is usage of another (two bays or more) Syno NAS and Backup plan between primary and secondary NAS, or for rest of environment (laptops, ...)
  • you can operate company and personal cloud in one system by different policy.
  • your concern about syncing between NAS and PC. When someone will do (accident or no) a data deletion, you have still choice of step back by Recycle bin of Drive (must be on the Versioning feature).
  • versioning in Syno drive is perfect for Win and Mac world integrated directly.
  • smart apps for iOS or Android are perfect choice for everyday data availability
Regarding RAID1 concerns: I thought the whole point of RAID1 was to place exact copies of files across 2 different drives to protect against drive failure. Am I misunderstanding how RAID works? If a drive does fail, I assume the DS918+ will notify me?

Edit: Also, to your 3rd point, I thought that using RAID1 would more or less give me a backup in the event of drive loss for the data that I was archiving?
 
Last edited:
158
20
NAS
DS918+
Hi @NAS Newbie I think that I was the only one to reply to you on 'the community'. Must have missed you're responses as they only notify when replies or likes are made, not comments to replies.

If you want to use Snapshot Replication then your disks need to formatted as Btrfs, so if you want to use it then this is a fundament setup decision when adding the disks and making the volume.

Somewhere recently, may have been a different community thread, I definitely said that Drive one-way sync is not recommended because:

Drive tasks cannot have the same destination on the NAS.​
Meaning: if you want to have the Dropbox-like experience with your personal Drive folder then you need to back up PCs to a Team folder and that means you have to manually setup folder privileges to exclude all Drive users from read and/or write access to your data.​
Cloud Station Backup clients work with Drive and are fully 64-bit for supported OS (inc. Mac!! Hurray). They can back up to the Drive folder and have versioning, as setup in Drive Admin.

I couldn't tell you about Active Backup for Business as mine is a Mac house (ever since having a personal computer in mid 90's. And the Sinclair Spectrum isn't supported either). It looked like it had versions too. It would have been good if a Windows user on 'the community' had piped up and added help.

I did say to enable #recycle wastebaskets on the NAS as this provides a second level of recovery for Drive content.

I would definitely say to try using a Drive two-way sync task for 'dropbox' mode, just be aware that some applications may not work well if the same file is worked on concurrently: the sync state for which is latest can get confused. But I did say that this mode of working isn't backup of data since the working data is held on the NAS and sync'ed to client devices. Therefore, a backup of the NAS's Drive data would be sensible, and then that was why I'd use Hyper Backup with an off-NAS destination. The HBup destination can be whatever you have available: USB disk, rsync server, cloud service, etc.


The amount of backup and versioning, and where these are held depends on personal risk preference.



Yeah, I was guessing I'd find you on here as well and I appreciate your replies. I was posting here to try and get a broader consensus on what to do. I've enabled the recycle wastebaskets on all my folders, but will have to look into the 2-way sync mode. It is really only going to be me and my wife working on files, and I doubt we'll ever use them at the same time, so file version conflicts shouldn't be an issue. Thanks again for the advice.
 

Rusty

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If a drive does fail, I assume the DS918+ will notify me?
It will notify you. RAID1 is mirror and it will prevent you from losing your data in case one drive fails but raid is not backup.
 

jeyare

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Regarding RAID1 concerns: I thought the whole point of RAID1 was to place exact copies of files across 2 different drives to protect against drive failure. Am I misunderstanding how RAID works? If a drive does fail, I assume the DS918+ will notify me?

Edit: Also, to your 3rd point, I thought that using RAID1 would more or less give me a backup in the event of drive loss for the data that I was archiving?
Exactly - As Rusty wrote: RAID is solution for data availability, not for the archive (in some kind of examples yes).
Plus:
RAID 1 is fast and reliable workaround for non-sensitive data (from loss point of view). Trouble is coming when you lose one from two discs in the Volume 1 and when you have no more time to repair = A Recovery Point Objective (RPO) is defined by business continuity. It is the maximum targeted period in which data (transactions) might be lost from NAS due to a major incident (RAID degradation). In my case = max. 8 hours (part of single work day). Why? Because data (e.g. created on Laptop) are stored in single point of failure (may be backed up in USB stick by Laptop). Plus we have a strong collaboration, then no data availability is for us big trouble. Then I have a solution with the Hot spare discs to shorten the time of RAID 1 rebuild. Synology has automated process for the RAID rebuild if you have Spare disc. You can assign each spare to different Volume (in your case to single Volume) And you can count with this feature, when you are spending time on vacation.

In your case (RAID 1) you have to count time of RAID rebuild by: a new disc purchase + delivery time of the disc to you, disc initialization, Volume rebuild (copy from the second operated disc in RAID 1). During this mentioned time you can totally lose all your data from RAID 1 when second disc will fly away also (as the first one). It is not a kind of paranoia :) based on expensive experiences.
Conclusion:
If you have sensitive data availability expectations, then no doubt you have to solve the RAID 1 "availability" by Hot spare. If no, then just use RAID 1 only with no Spare.
 

fredbert

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From my understanding, the point of RAID is to make bigger storage volumes than exist on a single disk (well except RAID 1 and two disks). Depending on the RAID type there is either:
  • no resilience: 1 disk fails and the whole array fails
  • some resilience: 1 disk fails and the array is intact, but is at risk from a 2nd disk failure
  • more resilience: 2 disks fail and the array is intact
  • higher resilience by mixing types
If your live data is on your PC then the NAS RAID volume is the backup, it takes both the PC disk and RAID volume to fail for total data loss.

But if you are wanting version history as a recovery option then that data is only on the RAID volume. The version history isn't backed up and relies on RAID resilience. Likewise if you use the NAS for archiving older data, off the PC, then it too relies on the RAID.

Having said this, my old DS215j recently alerted that one disk was in a degraded state and I was able to order a spare for next day delivery.

I've had fewer disk issues on all my kit since using UPS.
 

Rusty

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If your live data is on your PC then the NAS RAID volume is the backup, it takes both the PC disk and RAID volume to fail for total data loss.
If thats the case then yes, nas will be your backup destination.

Still worth mentioning is that redundancy is not a proper backup solution if you depend on it. No matter how much redundant your array is, some backup should still be in place.

Hard drives will fail it’s only a matter of time
 
158
20
NAS
DS918+
From my understanding, the point of RAID is to make bigger storage volumes than exist on a single disk (well except RAID 1 and two disks). Depending on the RAID type there is either:
  • no resilience: 1 disk fails and the whole array fails
  • some resilience: 1 disk fails and the array is intact, but is at risk from a 2nd disk failure
  • more resilience: 2 disks fail and the array is intact
  • higher resilience by mixing types
If your live data is on your PC then the NAS RAID volume is the backup, it takes both the PC disk and RAID volume to fail for total data loss.

But if you are wanting version history as a recovery option then that data is only on the RAID volume. The version history isn't backed up and relies on RAID resilience. Likewise if you use the NAS for archiving older data, off the PC, then it too relies on the RAID.

Having said this, my old DS215j recently alerted that one disk was in a degraded state and I was able to order a spare for next day delivery.

I've had fewer disk issues on all my kit since using UPS.
My working data is on my pc drive and then mirrored via a sync drive to volume 1. My understanding was that this gave me essentially 2 backup versioned copies of the working data via the 2 drives combined thru raid 1 into volume 1. Why isn't this acceptable? Would I be better off syncing to drive 1 only and then backing up to drive 2? Instead of 2 volumes across 4 drives I'd end up with 4 volumes (2 sync volumes, 2 backup volumes) across the 4 drives...
 

fredbert

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delivery is not problem :), the problem is when the disc needs to be replaced and your GPS position is too far from the NAS (e.g. vacation, weekend trip,..)
Assumes I have a life where exotic trips are the norm, or even happen! ;)
 

jeyare

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My working data is on my pc drive and then mirrored via a sync drive to volume 1.
This is the primary problem. When your PC will lost the internal HDD during the Volume 1(Raid 1) degradation with one disk (possible with both) = You will lost both sync spaces = data availability, no data backup site (mentioned night backup).
Then the primary question is simple: do you need available data during the day, or you can wait few days till problem will be fixed (back from vacation, business trip,...)? Both decision are right. But they have different solutions.
 

fredbert

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My working data is on my pc drive and then mirrored via a sync drive to volume 1. My understanding was that this gave me essentially 2 backup versioned copies of the working data via the 2 drives combined thru raid 1 into volume 1. Why isn't this acceptable? Would I be better off syncing to drive 1 only and then backing up to drive 2? Instead of 2 volumes across 4 drives I'd end up with 4 volumes (2 sync volumes, 2 backup volumes) across the 4 drives...
We're talking risk and probability here.

RAID 1 with two disks will lose the data when both disks fail, but data is intact if only one disk fails. The same is true for single disk backed up to a second disk.

Where the risk is: when you buy the disks together (maybe even the same batch) and run under the same environmental conditions: how likely are they to fail and within a reasonably similar timeframe?

My view is provided you backup from PC (one-way) to NAS then you have a backup, and your are in a better position than most people. By making an off-NAS backup of the NAS you have a separate equipment that is storing the data. You could backup PC to NAS on a daily basis and then off-NAS weekly.

For my Macs, I do Time Machine for ongoing updates plus Drive. Then I have weekly and monthly full disk clones to external disks. These aren't attached when not doing the backups. For may Firewire HDs I have a clone to other disks. All the clones retain changed files provided space allows. As such I have far more diskspace that is backing up than is primary storage. And I've had enough nights trying to save data off failing disks that it's worth investing in this!
 
158
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DS918+
We're talking risk and probability here.

RAID 1 with two disks will lose the data when both disks fail, but data is intact if only one disk fails. The same is true for single disk backed up to a second disk.

Where the risk is: when you buy the disks together (maybe even the same batch) and run under the same environmental conditions: how likely are they to fail and within a reasonably similar timeframe?

My view is provided you backup from PC (one-way) to NAS then you have a backup, and your are in a better position than most people. By making an off-NAS backup of the NAS you have a separate equipment that is storing the data. You could backup PC to NAS on a daily basis and then off-NAS weekly.

For my Macs, I do Time Machine for ongoing updates plus Drive. Then I have weekly and monthly full disk clones to external disks. These aren't attached when not doing the backups. For may Firewire HDs I have a clone to other disks. All the clones retain changed files provided space allows. As such I have far more diskspace that is backing up than is primary storage. And I've had enough nights trying to save data off failing disks that it's worth investing in this!
I'm a freelance mechanical engineer and am fortunate that I rarely have tight deadlines that I need to meet. When looking at risk analysis, I can afford to stop working for a day or two or just save data locally to my PC (and work without a backup for a bit) if I need to shut down the NAS for a couple days to preserve any remaining drives to get a new drive shipped in. I am not in an environment where I need 24/7/365 connection and backup. At the moment, I do not want to spend more on another NAS, although that is my plan for the future.

That being said, we're kind of back to square one, which is fine because I feel like I have a better understanding of the risks and hopefully those helping have a better understanding of how I intend to use the NAS.

Sooo… Correct me if I'm wrong, but I see two basic setup options to begin with, and then if you guys are still willing to help, we can circle back to which software/apps will best create my backups.

First option: Continue using RAID1 as currently set up. This results in 2 volumes of 2 drives each. Volume 1 is Engineering Business sync/archive, while volume 2 is Personal sync/archive, and I'd probably point full-PC backups to Volume 2 as well.

Second option: Drive 1 is Engineering Business sync/archive drive, Drive 2 is backup to Drive 1. Drive 3 is Personal sync/archive drive, Drive 4 is backup to Drive 3. I'd probably set up full-PC weekly backups to be driven to Drive 3 as well.

What are the pro's/con's to each option? Will one allow for easier drive replacement than the other if a drive does fail? Thanks again for everyone's help.
 

jeyare

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Re backup SW:
this is another topic, but most important for “final” architecture of your NAS services. From 2009 as satisfied user of Acronis True Image (work and personal). Integrated with NAS by iSCSI LUNs. Then you have lots possibilities for Backup of the LUN. This works well for Acronis also. But lots of solutions you can find on the market.

Re your final questions:
You have a decision- the data availability is not a driver your final choice. Then you need solve just backup. And as I understnad, this is budget driven solution discovering.
Then, there is no need to explain how is difference between HDD for backups or for cloud (frequent W/R) and budget driven HDDs.
The backup is strong how much effort/investments you can put into backup, in your case do it the First option, because the Second is total disaster from the each point of view (do not take it personaly). For the Second option is better and cheaper use two USB sticks for your PC.

Recommendations:
do not mix on single Volume different services like cloud and backup. It is same like use glass + concrete for a beer glass building. The better configuration (budget driven) is:
Volume 1 for the file services (company, private, photos, ....)
Volume 2 as backup for the Volume 1 and rest of backup services (laptop, ...)
Do you understand, that Volume 2 must be with x-time larger capacity? Because data growth in Volume 1, initial backup of “clean” devices, min. two last full backups with daily increments, ...
Check your yearly data consuption and use data prediction for 4 years (optimal). It will help you to provide answer to HDD size. If you have photos, use multiple of 2x.
Good luck
 
158
20
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DS918+
Re backup SW:
this is another topic, but most important for “final” architecture of your NAS services. From 2009 as satisfied user of Acronis True Image (work and personal). Integrated with NAS by iSCSI LUNs. Then you have lots possibilities for Backup of the LUN. This works well for Acronis also. But lots of solutions you can find on the market.

Re your final questions:
You have a decision- the data availability is not a driver your final choice. Then you need solve just backup. And as I understnad, this is budget driven solution discovering.
Then, there is no need to explain how is difference between HDD for backups or for cloud (frequent W/R) and budget driven HDDs.
The backup is strong how much effort/investments you can put into backup, in your case do it the First option, because the Second is total disaster from the each point of view (do not take it personaly). For the Second option is better and cheaper use two USB sticks for your PC.

Recommendations:
do not mix on single Volume different services like cloud and backup. It is same like use glass + concrete for a beer glass building. The better configuration (budget driven) is:
Volume 1 for the file services (company, private, photos, ....)
Volume 2 as backup for the Volume 1 and rest of backup services (laptop, ...)
Do you understand, that Volume 2 must be with x-time larger capacity? Because data growth in Volume 1, initial backup of “clean” devices, min. two last full backups with daily increments, ...
Check your yearly data consuption and use data prediction for 4 years (optimal). It will help you to provide answer to HDD size. If you have photos, use multiple of 2x.
Good luck
I understand what your recommendations are. The reason I was trying to leave the engineering data on one volume separate from personal data is because I wanted to make it easy to remove a drive and send it on to my boss in the event something happened to me. Given what you are telling me, I'd probably be better off going the route you recommend and leave specific written instructions for which folders need to be copied over in the event something did happen. Thanks for the advice.
 

jeyare

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NAS Newbie:
You can share all the important data (specific folders) with your boss by:
# Syno Drive
# Syno Cloud sync
Have a good NAS project!
Cheers
 

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