Protecting a NAS - Backups



  • So there's a couple ways I could go about redoing this. We have 2 SANs, and we're getting a third (we have 3 colos across a couple states and we're expanding). We currently have 2 Windows servers that use File Services to act as our central DFS shared space for users.

    The cost and functionality for Windows servers that are only being used as file servers I don't find to be justified... I'd rather save money and use some Synology NAS devices. Something like the RS815+ at each site (supporting 50-100 users) should do fine. But how to back them up? I am pretty unsure of using the Cloud Backup software: https://www.synology.com/en-us/knowledgebase/DSM/help/CloudStationBackup/cloudstationbackup

    I certainly can't install our System Center DPM agent so how else to protect the volumes should the appliance fail?

    The other option is carving out a separate LUN for shares (our primary LUN is used for VMs/etc). Or I could still just use 1 LUN and break out everything from there. That would push the file services role to another Windows server.

    I don't know. There's a few ways I could go about this. I just don't like how we're doing it now because I feel like we're overspending currently.



  • Why can't you simply off-load the backup's to a data service provider?

    Or you could backup to another NAS for this (not ideal we want to try and follow the 3-2-1 rule here)

    3 copies, 2 different media, and 1 offsite.

    So you could replicate the data between your COLO's (assuming they have a decent storage rental option) which would cover all of your needs and protection from a single COLO going up in flames.





  • @DustinB3403 said in Protecting a NAS - Backups:

    Why can't you simply off-load the backup's to a data service provider?

    Or you could backup to another NAS for this (not ideal we want to try and follow the 3-2-1 rule here)

    3 copies, 2 different media, and 1 offsite.

    So you could replicate the data between your COLO's (assuming they have a decent storage rental option) which would cover all of your needs and protection from a single COLO going up in flames.

    Right, and 1 copy isn't counted if it is on the user's workstation as the working copy.

    We can't completely get rid of our System Center DPM. It saves us a TON of money since going with Unitrends or Veeam has recurring costs, and DPM only cost us about $1600 total. It's kind of a pain sometimes, but I stay on top of it.

    So if you had 2 Synology boxes as the shares, DFS tying them together under one namespace, then "backup" both of those to one single larger Synology box to handle both of them... How do you even tie Synology boxes together? It has an underlying Linux OS that is modified but you don't have access to cron jobs or something... It's all done in the simple Synology interface but I'm not aware of that function unless you know of a way.

    Currently we have a DPM agent on each server (virtual Linux boxes are backed up by having the agent on the host, and backing up each VHD in one protection group).



  • @BBigford said in Protecting a NAS - Backups:

    @DustinB3403 said in Protecting a NAS - Backups:

    Why can't you simply off-load the backup's to a data service provider?

    Or you could backup to another NAS for this (not ideal we want to try and follow the 3-2-1 rule here)

    3 copies, 2 different media, and 1 offsite.

    So you could replicate the data between your COLO's (assuming they have a decent storage rental option) which would cover all of your needs and protection from a single COLO going up in flames.

    Right, and 1 copy isn't counted if it is on the user's workstation as the working copy.

    We can't completely get rid of our System Center DPM. It saves us a TON of money since going with Unitrends or Veeam has recurring costs, and DPM only cost us about $1600 total. It's kind of a pain sometimes, but I stay on top of it.

    So if you had 2 Synology boxes as the shares, DFS tying them together under one namespace, then "backup" both of those to one single larger Synology box to handle both of them... How do you even tie Synology boxes together? It has an underlying Linux OS that is modified but you don't have access to cron jobs or something... It's all done in the simple Synology interface but I'm not aware of that function unless you know of a way.

    Currently we have a DPM agent on each server (virtual Linux boxes are backed up by having the agent on the host, and backing up each VHD in one protection group).

    ...and actually, you can't even tie the Synology boxes together with DFS under a single namespace now that I think about it...



  • Synology can natively backup to another Synology.

    So you'd simply create a backup job on the "small Synology units" to backup to the larger one.

    From the larger one you could then have that backup to rotated USB drives or get pushed off to a data service provider.



  • @DustinB3403 said in Protecting a NAS - Backups:

    Synology can natively backup to another Synology.

    So you'd simply create a backup job on the "small Synology units" to backup to the larger one.

    Did not know that. That is good to know.



  • @DustinB3403 said in Protecting a NAS - Backups:

    Synology can natively backup to another Synology.

    So you'd simply create a backup job on the "small Synology units" to backup to the larger one.

    From the larger one you could then have that backup to rotated USB drives or get pushed off to a data service provider.

    How would you combine multiple Synology boxes under a single namespace, or is it not possible?



  • @BBigford I'm not sure you can add them under a single namespace.



  • How does moving to NAS save you money? You've already spend the money on Windows, so you can't un-spend it. Will you repurpose the licenses for something else?

    What about the hardware that's already in use for those shares? Is it using SAN storage today? What makes it worth putting on SAN yesterday, but not tomorrow? (the answer could be, it was never worth doing yesterday and I'm looking to fix that). Are the SANs syncing between locations for some purpose (i.e. backups/HA, etc) How will you replace this process with the new NASs assuming you need to?



  • @DustinB3403 said in Protecting a NAS - Backups:

    @BBigford I'm not sure you can add them under a single namespace.

    You might be able to through a third box (VM). Basically setup a Linux box to do what Windows currently does for you - assuming that's a real thing, never tried so I have no real clue.



  • You want to use then as a NAS or a SAN? As a NAS you can back them up using any normal method, it's very flexible. Many agents can even be installed if you don't want to back up over the share.

    But you mentioned LUNs and that changes everything.

    So you have to be crystal clear if we are talking SAN or NAS functionality as it totally changes what works and what does not. Basically the machine cannot reliably back itself up if it is a SAN.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Protecting a NAS - Backups:

    You want to use then as a NAS or a SAN? As a NAS you can back them up using any normal method, it's very flexible. Many agents can even be installed if you don't want to back up over the share.

    But you mentioned LUNs and that changes everything.

    So you have to be crystal clear if we are talking SAN or NAS functionality as it totally changes what works and what does not. Basically the machine cannot reliably back itself up if it is a SAN.

    I think he was talking about LUNs only if he was to dump the NAS and use his current SAN storage for this purpose...



  • @Dashrender Gotcha



  • @Dashrender said in Protecting a NAS - Backups:

    How does moving to NAS save you money? You've already spend the money on Windows, so you can't un-spend it. Will you repurpose the licenses for something else?

    What about the hardware that's already in use for those shares? Is it using SAN storage today? What makes it worth putting on SAN yesterday, but not tomorrow? (the answer could be, it was never worth doing yesterday and I'm looking to fix that). Are the SANs syncing between locations for some purpose (i.e. backups/HA, etc) How will you replace this process with the new NASs assuming you need to?

    Any seats would be repurposed for upcoming projects. We add about 1-2 servers per month so they would get added somewhere.

    The current setup is x2 SANs at different locations, presenting 1 LUN each (there were like 12 LUNs but I combined them when I joined the company). Now 1 LUN is presented to a site, then any storage handled on a file level and permissions set accordingly. The SANs are used for roughly 80-100 total databases, and 50-75 VMs. The NAS storage would just be for storing software installs, User documents, that type of stuff.

    I don't want to use the SAN storage for that kind of stuff because they don't need the performance, and the 4TB that is being used for shares would eat up the rest of the available SAN storage that could be used for more important things like VMs or databases.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Protecting a NAS - Backups:

    You want to use then as a NAS or a SAN? As a NAS you can back them up using any normal method, it's very flexible. Many agents can even be installed if you don't want to back up over the share.

    But you mentioned LUNs and that changes everything.

    So you have to be crystal clear if we are talking SAN or NAS functionality as it totally changes what works and what does not. Basically the machine cannot reliably back itself up if it is a SAN.

    I started considering a separate LUN but then quickly got away from that because of my most recent post to @Dashrender , it would make zero sense to use the SAN storage for this little amount of users (roughly 150) and wasting that space on trivial storage like documents/software repository/etc. (in my opinion)



  • One goal is to get away from using Windows servers for simple file servers. But for redundancy it's great to have DFS replication (which I understand is only a feature of Windows). You can add Synology boxes or other Linux boxes as namespace targets, but only DFS replication can happen with Windows servers. I suppose you could setup an rsync job between the boxes, and have them under the same namespace, effectively doing the same thing as DFS replication...

    I know I'm going to get told that Windows is easier because the rest of the team likes Windows. But if I can come up with a better solution for a lot less money and is easier to manage in the end, I'd rather do that.

    For instance, We have shares just dropping out under our namespace. They just disappear. I've gone through and made sure IPv6 privacy addressing was removed, as well as SLAAC cause that resolved another server doing the same thing but this time it didn't work (I guess this was addressed in later versions of Windows server passed 2008R2). Looked at DNS, replication works fine between the servers, diagnostics come back healthy, permissions are fine. Still, shares drop out. \namespace\departments, \namespace\users, etc.



  • You can do extreme high redundancy with Samba solutions, too. Not the same as DFS, but you can meet the needs.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Protecting a NAS - Backups:

    You can do extreme high redundancy with Samba solutions, too. Not the same as DFS, but you can meet the needs.

    Any good go-to articles you refer people to for such a thing? I'm currently just surfing Google but I'm sure you can set things up depending on the environment needs...



  • @BBigford said in Protecting a NAS - Backups:

    @scottalanmiller said in Protecting a NAS - Backups:

    You can do extreme high redundancy with Samba solutions, too. Not the same as DFS, but you can meet the needs.

    Any good go-to articles you refer people to for such a thing? I'm currently just surfing Google but I'm sure you can set things up depending on the environment needs...

    No, but that's on my how to list, but won't be soon as the lab is about to go down for an extended period of time 😞

    But just really quickly, you can handle Samba HA through...

    • DRBD and Pacemaker Clustering between two nodes.
    • RSYNC style replication between two nodes.
    • Putting Samba onto an HA platform like XS, ESXi, Scale or whatever where you have the high reliability provided by the underlying system.

    Fileservers are among the easiest things to make HA so you have more options than normal. Synology even has an HA option baked in.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Protecting a NAS - Backups:

    @BBigford said in Protecting a NAS - Backups:

    @scottalanmiller said in Protecting a NAS - Backups:

    You can do extreme high redundancy with Samba solutions, too. Not the same as DFS, but you can meet the needs.

    Any good go-to articles you refer people to for such a thing? I'm currently just surfing Google but I'm sure you can set things up depending on the environment needs...

    the lab is about to go down for an extended period of time 😞

    Why?



  • @BBigford said in Protecting a NAS - Backups:

    @scottalanmiller said in Protecting a NAS - Backups:

    @BBigford said in Protecting a NAS - Backups:

    @scottalanmiller said in Protecting a NAS - Backups:

    You can do extreme high redundancy with Samba solutions, too. Not the same as DFS, but you can meet the needs.

    Any good go-to articles you refer people to for such a thing? I'm currently just surfing Google but I'm sure you can set things up depending on the environment needs...

    the lab is about to go down for an extended period of time 😞

    Why?

    There is another thread about that. Colocation America is our new datacenter partner (there was no old one to replace) and the whole lab is being taken down this Friday evening and driven literally coast to coast as the whole shebang moves to Los Angeles and a brand new Tier IV datacenter!! We are very excited.



  • @chrisl is helping us out with the new setup.



  • @scottalanmiller It's gonna be sweeeeeeeet.



  • @ChrisL said in Protecting a NAS - Backups:

    @scottalanmiller It's gonna be sweeeeeeeet.

    Yeah, it is. We can't wait!!



  • I was thinking about Synology more last night... having 2 boxes, then a higher capacity box to hold both smaller capacity boxes data, in case one of them fail.

    Redundancy, check. Can make them a DFS target, check. But what about version control/backups? Oops. One thing I didn't take into account is that the redundancy between the boxes is there, but what about when someone deletes something by accident?

    I planned on talking to Synology today, about deleted files being archived for a length of time before they're really deleted. But, I can't remember with the last boxes I setup if that was a feature because honestly we never even needed it until now. If it's not, it comes down to Samba vs. Windows File Services and I know Windows will win by popularity.



  • Nothing that is replication and/or fault tolerance is a backup. Those are discrete ideas and have to be handled separately.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Protecting a NAS - Backups:

    Nothing that is replication and/or fault tolerance is a backup. Those are discrete ideas and have to be handled separately.

    Right, it would be getting more into an area of undelete rather than backup control.

    I think we're just going to end up virtualizing the file servers (they are old physical boxes that should have been virtualized years ago), keep them on Windows since we can continue to protect them with DPM, and call it a day.

    Not trying to reinvent the wheel, but when the wheel can be repurposed to do something more efficiently...



  • @BBigford said in Protecting a NAS - Backups:

    @scottalanmiller said in Protecting a NAS - Backups:

    Nothing that is replication and/or fault tolerance is a backup. Those are discrete ideas and have to be handled separately.

    Right, it would be getting more into an area of undelete rather than backup control.

    I think we're just going to end up virtualizing the file servers (they are old physical boxes that should have been virtualized years ago), keep them on Windows since we can continue to protect them with DPM, and call it a day.

    Not trying to reinvent the wheel, but when the wheel can be repurposed to do something more efficiently...

    I still am wondering what is wrong with the old servers other than you don't have enough local storage since you're hanging a USB drive off at least one for cold storage.

    If you have the compute power in your VM host platform, you can easily put this there, the question is where will you store the data? You still might end up going with a NAS, sharing the storage to the VM fileserver itself, then shares from there.



  • @Dashrender said in Protecting a NAS - Backups:

    @BBigford said in Protecting a NAS - Backups:

    @scottalanmiller said in Protecting a NAS - Backups:

    Nothing that is replication and/or fault tolerance is a backup. Those are discrete ideas and have to be handled separately.

    Right, it would be getting more into an area of undelete rather than backup control.

    I think we're just going to end up virtualizing the file servers (they are old physical boxes that should have been virtualized years ago), keep them on Windows since we can continue to protect them with DPM, and call it a day.

    Not trying to reinvent the wheel, but when the wheel can be repurposed to do something more efficiently...

    I still am wondering what is wrong with the old servers other than you don't have enough local storage since you're hanging a USB drive off at least one for cold storage.

    If you have the compute power in your VM host platform, you can easily put this there, the question is where will you store the data? You still might end up going with a NAS, sharing the storage to the VM fileserver itself, then shares from there.

    After looking back over things, we're getting some new boxes for hosts to both replace EOL hosts and create another cluster (we have one cluster at one site, this would be a cluster at another site for different services), and what I'll end up doing is virtualizing the file servers. But then there was the question of storage. I'll move all the VMs and anything else off the local storage and move it over to the SAN, then increase the capacity on the local storage and dedicate that pool to the virtual file server, then backup that volume with our existing DPM. All in all, we'll end end up spending about $800 per server (just the cost of drives for some added local storage).

    The reason for getting rid of the old servers... They are old Gateway servers that sometimes don't come back when you reboot them so you have to drive 45 minutes (for one colo... if its the other one I can call the NOC where it's located) to bring it back. They are slow and sometimes stall during peak hours. Overall, they should be virtualized anyway. I even scrapped the Synology idea because it would cost more, was a bit more complicated with backups, and I can't justify physical boxes for storage. If we run out of storage on the hosts after I increase the capacity, I could just add another drive shelf but that will be about 2-3 years at our current growth rate.