Question Help with custom backup storage system, network, server

PrinceXizor

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Oct 4, 2002
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Need some experience and direction. I will try to provide as much background info as possible.

We just recently purchased a home. Between that, my relatively new computer, my wifes likely work from home new business, the latest google Kerfluffle and a job that can pay for it all, its well passed time for me to implement a structured backup system for our devices and data. Especially if my wifes business grows there will be a lot of pictures to archive.

Current used Devices: Two android tablets, two smartphones, two desktops and two laptops, one e-note device

Needs/Desires: Centralized file storage, device backups, wired network to main computer areas (I have a basement to run cables in), data backups (I need to develop a good plan including off site), system recovery, possible email hosting although my mental concept of what is involved is probably out of date. Any other interesting things that arent too much more work when you already have the infrastructure.

We have lowest tier Spectrum at the moment but will be upgrading when the business officially rolls out. No fiber in the area yet. tmobile claims to have there home service available (surprising since I dont think they have good coverage in our area). Our old modem flaked out so I bought a nicer new one in anticipation.

I can probably cobble together some very old components into another computer if need be.

I'm looking for guidance on storage, backups which is why I postal here but also on the home network side.
Sorry this is so open ended.
 

OlyAR15

Senior member
Oct 23, 2014
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Why not just get a NAS? That's what I ended up doing after struggling with setting up and maintaining a pc-based file server for years.
 

mpo

Senior member
Jan 8, 2010
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I have a Synology NAS. I do ~80% of what you require--daily backups of 4 desktops/laptops; photo backup and tagging; shared network drive, and monthly off-site backups. No mail server for me. Large user base and applications.

QNAP has similar offerings.

With any NAS, wired backups are much quicker than wireless. One large file will backup quicker than several smaller files of the same overall size.
 

Tech Junky

Senior member
Jan 27, 2022
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Well, if you want a FS / backup then a Linux PC will work well.

Flexibility is key when trying to tie together various functions into a single device. I setup mine to function as many different things.

Router /switch / firewall / AP
DVR - Plex
NAS - Raid 10 w/ 4 + 1 hot backup for 16TB @ 400MB/s over the 5GE 4-port NIC I'm using for the LAN / WAN
AP - NWA210AX provides ~1.5gbps to the server over WIFI

Backups - setup a cron job to run the command to duplicate my OS drive to a secondary drive that runs in the background and only copies files that have changed and acts as a live copy if the primary were to fail.

For the price you pay for a NAS w/o disks you can build or cobble together a PC from parts for less or the same and have more options to what purposes you want to design it for.
 

Muadib

Lifer
May 30, 2000
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You need a NAS. If you want to build it yourself, then look into Unraid or Truenas. If you want something prebuilt, look into Qnap or Synology.
 

PrinceXizor

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Oct 4, 2002
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Thanks for the initial information and posts. Does anyone have something a little more in depth I can review (such as a good article on NAS). I'm techy enough to recognize all of these options, but, there really isn't enough information to shape a decision. I do appreciate everyone's input. So, let me focus on the NAS for a minute.

If I'm understanding correctly, it's like a mini home cloud storage solution with decent processing to handle the overhead of the whole system and interface. Does it also manage the file serving/backing up or is it a separate service required to leverage the NAS?
 

Tech Junky

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Jan 27, 2022
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mini home cloud storage
It's the same as a FS as you put it in your OP. It's a slimmed down cute box that plugs into the network and provides a place for HDD's to be connected for storage.

Backups can be triggered from either the client or NAS with the appropriate software.

In Linux / PC you can do the same with a CRON command to sync the files that have changed with a folder / share on the PC.

If you want speed then a higher speed NIC + Raid will make it so you don't have to leave things powered on all of the time. With CRON you can set the timer to run the commands quite often say every 15 minutes or periodically in hours / weeks / months.

Each NAS and the OS that runs on it is different. Depending on how in depth you want to get with them is up to you though. Most common brands work about the same and GUI's are similar. DROBO though seems to go in a different direction in which if you want to get away from them you'll have to redo your data set due to how they setup the raid.

Common NAS devices though are underpowered for more than just file repositories / sync / backup. To get more out of a setup the PC option will afford you more options like running a VM remotely or additional functions like setting up a DVR that's actually able to transcode on the fly.
 

PrinceXizor

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Oct 4, 2002
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It's the same as a FS as you put it in your OP. It's a slimmed down cute box that plugs into the network and provides a place for HDD's to be connected for storage.
So, in other words, mini home cloud storage :tonguewink:
Cloud storage = networked storage I access through the internet
NAS = networked storage I access through my LAN

Everything else is software wizardry to make things run smoother, safer, more securely, do fancier things or GUI to make it easier to manage like dropbox.

It's good to know that it seems a decent NAS setup will allow me to manage the storage as well.
 

Muadib

Lifer
May 30, 2000
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Thanks for the initial information and posts. Does anyone have something a little more in depth I can review (such as a good article on NAS). I'm techy enough to recognize all of these options, but, there really isn't enough information to shape a decision. I do appreciate everyone's input. So, let me focus on the NAS for a minute.

If I'm understanding correctly, it's like a mini home cloud storage solution with decent processing to handle the overhead of the whole system and interface. Does it also manage the file serving/backing up or is it a separate service required to leverage the NAS?
When I was shopping for a NAS, YouTube was the best place for reviews. Look for NAScompares. He does reviews, and other related stuff. Qnap was just hit with ransom ware, and he talked about it. I have a Qnap, and that’s how I found out.
 

PrinceXizor

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Oct 4, 2002
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When I was shopping for a NAS, YouTube was the best place for reviews. Look for NAScompares. He does reviews, and other related stuff. Qnap was just hit with ransom ware, and he talked about it. I have a Qnap, and that’s how I found out.
Nice recommendation. Thanks! I've viewed some videos and read some articles. Filled in some gaps in my understanding nicely. Do you have another reviewer? I always like different perspectives.

When it comes to software, that was eye opening. A lot of information to digest. DIY NASers need to use 3rd party apps obviously, but do users typically use 3rd party apps with the main players (Synology, QNAP, Asustor, etc) or stick to the bundled app implementations? The latest Asustor offerings intrigue me but it looks like its bundled apps is a little lacking. But, software moves fast and a lot of reviews are from 12+ months ago.
 

Tech Junky

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There's always an APP involved whether it's native to the OS you're using or you run it from the "NAS" side.

Taking the Linux approach you just setup a "job" to run in intervals to pull changed files into the storage location. If you do it from the client side (PC) then you run a backup command to put the backup to the NAS location.

If you want more than just files i.e. photos, music, docs, etc. then making an image would be more appropriate for a full backup that you could pull from if your drive fails.
 

PrinceXizor

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There's always an APP involved whether it's native to the OS you're using or you run it from the "NAS" side.
Umm...we agree. I didn't think my post indicated any question about that. That's why I asked if users typically used the bundled apps on mature platforms like QNAP or Synology or if they still might roll a 3rd party app or one used on their PC. It was implied that there always is an app. My question is the source of that app and if there are gold standard apps that are used in spite of a "native" app on a NAS device.

Taking the Linux approach you just setup a "job" to run in intervals to pull changed files into the storage location. If you do it from the client side (PC) then you run a backup command to put the backup to the NAS location.
Running scheduled jobs is not a Linux only approach. In fact I use scheduled jobs and scripts at work constantly on our Windows environment.
If you want more than just files i.e. photos, music, docs, etc. then making an image would be more appropriate for a full backup that you could pull from if your drive fails.
Which, unless I'm masochistic, is going to be handled by an app of some sort. Which circles us right back to my original question. Do users of QNAP and Synology devices use the included apps with the NAS to manage such automation and configuration or are there gold standard 3rd party apps that are used? Of course, I'm sure the answer isn't one extreme or the other depending on each users needs and skill levels.
 

Tech Junky

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Obviously there are options built into most OS for this purpose w/o needing to install additional SW

I like Paragon SW for manipulating things on Windows based systems.
Linux using a variety of options

NAS - I never used the apps on them for this purpose / I simply used the NAS for storage / streaming
 

PrinceXizor

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I have a Qnap
Which one did you end up getting? I think I'm leaning towards a 4 bay so I can run RAID 5 over the 4 drives. Something like the 453D. Still a bit away from pulling the trigger at the next sale but its the current leader in the clubhouse.
 

Tech Junky

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I had a QNAP and sold it after many years of use. Worked fine but, with recent security issues NAS' have had I'm happier with not using a commercial product(s). Maybe I'm thinking of WD.

There's so many issues floating around with exposed HW and shotty SW with vulnerabilities. IIRC WD's response was to have users disconnect them from their network... With Network in the name though.... yeah, defeats the purpose.

For the price of the NAS enclosure w/o disks though it's creeping up to PC level prices especially with 4-6 bays.
 

OlyAR15

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Oct 23, 2014
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I have a Synology NAS, and only use a few of its apps. For me, I just wanted centralized mass storage. So I use Macrium's Reflect to backup my PCs to the NAS, and just map the network drives to the NAS for direct access to the files. I don't bother with access over the internet, since I'm usually home. Most of the other Synology apps, like music server, video server, etc, I don't use since I can just access the files directly.

Of course, you still have to back up your NAS to another drive. I back mine up to an external drive that I store in a fire-resistant safe.

Also, I use MS OneDrive for my "work" files. That is another way of backing up/syncing your files.
 

mpo

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Jan 8, 2010
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I mainly use the Synology apps. Used Plex for media streaming. Was overkill for my needs. The only other third party app I use now is Iperf3 in Docker.

Another thing to consider is getting a UPS for your NAS. Mine is USB tethered to a basic Cyberpower CP550SLG. They communicate if there is a power outage.

Also, consider dedicated NAS drives. The Seagate Ironwolf drives give a monthly health report. Decided against WD Reds because of their shingling issue.
 

aigomorla

Cases and Cooling Mod PC Gaming Mod Elite Member
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I built my own NAS using FreeNAS which is FreeBSD Distro. It uses Raid-Z file structure, which is supposed to be bulletproof if done correctly.
UnRaid is a paid software solution for a Linux Distro, sort of what Tech Junky states, but its all nicely preprogramed for you with a very polished GUI.

I opt'd out of using prebuilt NAS like Synology and Qnap, because i wanted something i could scale past 8 drives.
My current NAS is hosted via a Supermicro 36 Bay 4U rack.
Its LOUD AS HELL when blasting at full, but it sits at my guest house, so its not bothering anyone.

Prebuilt NAS's are mostly quiet, but if something fails on it, your SOL, and you probably will need to buy a new unit from the same vendor and migrate files.
A DIY NAS uses DIY parts, so if something fails, its hitting Amazon / Ebay to look for replacement parts.
They can cost a lot to cost very little if you have spare parts laying around.

Possibly if you have the parts, you could play with one and see if it fits you, i recommend you trying TrueNAS / XigmaNAS / Open Media Vault as they are all free. If you like the Linux Distro, again there is Unraid, which is highly recommended, but you have to pay for a license for it.

They each have there own pro's and cons.

The most important thing tho is the HDD which goes into the NAS.
Please and i say PLEASE, friends do not let friends buy SEAGATE. :eek:
Pay the extra and get WD Red PRO's or HGST/WD Helium Drives, if data is important.

The Seagate Ironwolf drives give a monthly health report.
EVERY NAS has SMART checks you can setup at schedule, with any drive maker as long as it supports SMART, which almost 99.999% of drives do now.

Seagate has the WORST failure rate in backblaze all years running, be careful with the seagate drive your running and make sure its not the one with the worst failure rate on backblaze.

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Ect... you should get my point... Seagate is definitely not on my recommendation list for drives period, even if they offer free data recovery, which they needed to do, after getting hit with such a bad reputation.

WD Red PRO's are all NOT SMR, Helium drives also by far have the best reliability as well.
 
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Muadib

Lifer
May 30, 2000
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Which one did you end up getting? I think I'm leaning towards a 4 bay so I can run RAID 5 over the 4 drives. Something like the 453D. Still a bit away from pulling the trigger at the next sale but its the current leader in the clubhouse.
I have the TVS-872XT, which is an 8 bay unit. It's been great for me, but others have had issues with the motherboard failing. Qnap has supposedly fixed the issue with a motherboard revision, but I'm not sure if my unit has it.

Nice recommendation. Thanks! I've viewed some videos and read some articles. Filled in some gaps in my understanding nicely. Do you have another reviewer? I always like different perspectives.

When it comes to software, that was eye opening. A lot of information to digest. DIY NASers need to use 3rd party apps obviously, but do users typically use 3rd party apps with the main players (Synology, QNAP, Asustor, etc) or stick to the bundled app implementations? The latest Asustor offerings intrigue me but it looks like its bundled apps is a little lacking. But, software moves fast and a lot of reviews are from 12+ months ago.
Sorry, but I don't have another youtube reviewer, but Qnap has a forum which I found useful. It's sort of setup like this one. https://forum.qnap.com/ . I'm sure that Synology has something similar, but I had settled on a Qnap so I didn't look into it.
As for 3rd party apps, Qnap has an app center that comes with their NAS units, and a third party app center that you can install. I found that Synology has the better software, but Qnap gives you better hardware for the money.
 

mpo

Senior member
Jan 8, 2010
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EVERY NAS has SMART checks you can setup at schedule, with any drive maker as long as it supports SMART, which almost 99.999% of drives do now.

Seagate has the WORST failure rate in backblaze all years running, be careful with the seagate drive your running and make sure its not the one with the worst failure rate on backblaze.
<snip>
Ect... you should get my point... Seagate is definitely not on my recommendation list for drives period, even if they offer free data recovery, which they needed to do, after getting hit with such a bad reputation.

WD Red PRO's are all NOT SMR, Helium drives also by far have the best reliability as well.
Seagate Ironwolf health information is complimentary to SMART. It will report out excess heat, vibration, or shock. It also saves codes in case data recovery is needed.

WD was going through not disclosing its shingling issue for Reds when I got my NAS. Wasn't going to touch those drives knowing it was going to be set up with RAID or a RAID-like structure.

Doing a query of Backblaze's 2021 Q4 data, they don't appear to be using any flavor of WD Red or Seagate Ironwolf (whether regular or Pro) showing up in their list of ~200,000 drives.
 

Tech Junky

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Every drive will fail eventually.

SMR-gate only applied to drives under 8TB.

I've got 5 WD Reds from different batches and have run them for several years now w/o any issues. I did have one that arrived DOA and was promptly replaced though by the seller.

When it comes to spinners being picky makes sense. On the flip side with SSD / NVME drives there are different things to look for but, I've yet to have one fail. I do have an older SSD that's on its last legs though as it's starting to act a bit funny but, it's not in a system at this point.
 

PrinceXizor

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Oct 4, 2002
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Thanks for the info and thoughts. I focused on pre-built, let's focus on diy. How hard is it to set up freeNAS or something similar?

I've built a few computers and upgraded many more (in fact I have an old 4u server case that could be perfect for this. So I'm mostly asking about the software side of things.
 

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