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Old 01-03-2014, 08:53 AM   #1
Grischuna
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NAS / Backup solution used by Slackware users


Hello all,

Over the holiday season I got an issue with my external hard disk (WD with one disk) that I use as a NAS and also to backup four computers. Luckily I lost no content also because I backup a part of the external hard disk on another disk in one of my computers.

Now I am interested in the NAS/backup solutions that other Slackware users have at home. I have three Slackware boxes and one Windows XP. I use rsync for Slackware and a freeware backup solution for the Windows PC. Also I use NFS and Samba for 'public' shares.

One of the Slackware boxes is used as a small server (P4, 10 years old) where I host a small webpage and also use for Zoneminder with two IP cameras and as well as my media server (Plex).

The possible solutions that I investigated for now are:

#1 - buy a real NAS (Synology, example DS214) and use it with RAID1
pros: can also be used as a webserver and a surveillance system
cons: in case of a broken disk I loose no content (I know that RAID1 is not a backup solution)but I have to buy the same kind of disk and again a single point of failure for my content

#2 - create a new small server with better hardware and add a couple of disk to it and create backups between the disks
pros: it will run Slackware
cons: in case the server goes bad I don't know if the disks would survive, again a single point of failure for my content

#3 - a mix of #1 and #2 but use cheaper products
pros: no single point of failure, I can backup important files in two places
cons: I need more hardware, overall cost still higher


I would appreciate any comment from you about what you are using and for which reason and if possible even give me your product details so I get a wider choice.

The overall storage space that I use is under 2 TB (pictures, documents, media)

Happy New Year,
Silvio
 
Old 01-03-2014, 09:25 AM   #2
flokofcgulls
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I have a similar setup that I have been working on a good backup solution for recently.

I considered a NAS but I felt they were just too expensive for my budget, even for the lower cost ones. What I ended up going with was portable USB hard drives in protective cases, and a set of rsync scripts that I run manually.

I'm using the Western Digital My Passport drives, and the WD Nomad shock-resistant cases. I purchase them in identical pairs, backup everything to a drive, and then backup that drive to an identical drive. That way if one drive ever fails, I can replace the bad drive, rsync again, and all is well. Conceptually I think of it as a sort of manual USB-based RAID1 setup.

I must say that although I sacrificed some convenience to save money, I've been very pleased with this setup so far.
 
Old 01-03-2014, 09:26 AM   #3
tux_dude
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Is there a reason why the your P4 server could not be used as a NAS? Can that box take additional hard drives? I would replace the bad external WD and add another disk to the existing server. Backup all PCs to the server, then sync the server with the external disk. For a bit more reliability, you could run RAID1 on the server.

My Slack server does all the above and is used as backup for all other systems. The backups are then synced to external and offsite locations.
 
Old 01-03-2014, 09:41 AM   #4
Grischuna
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@ flokofcgulls, thank you for your suggestion. Are your disks USB 2 or 3? May not an issue when using the disks for backup only and use the server internal disks for all the rest.


Quote:
Originally Posted by tux_dude View Post
Is there a reason why the your P4 server could not be used as a NAS? Can that box take additional hard drives? I would replace the bad external WD and add another disk to the existing server. Backup all PCs to the server, then sync the server with the external disk. For a bit more reliability, you could run RAID1 on the server.
I cannot add any other disk to my server. Also the overall technology changed a lot in the last years (SATA, etc.). Even so that newer disks still should work on older hardware I don't know if it makes sense to upgrade a system from year 2001.

Regards,
Silvio
 
Old 01-03-2014, 09:55 AM   #5
enorbet
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grischuna View Post
<snip>
#2 - create a new small server with better hardware and add a couple of disk to it and create backups between the disks
pros: it will run Slackware
cons: in case the server goes bad I don't know if the disks would survive, again a single point of failure for my content
<snip>

The overall storage space that I use is under 2 TB (pictures, documents, media)

Happy New Year,
Silvio
I favor the above #2 solution and further ask why you worry that the disk(s) would survive? Even though iirc hard disk failure is under .01% (within MTBF standards) of total disks manufactured, by far the number of disks I've owned that ultimately failed (usually after 6-10 years service) exceeds the number of any other component but I suppose 1) They are the mechanical weak link, and 2) I have owned more hdds than any other single component, so statistically they should fail more often (and most did outlast warranty).

That said it is important to remember that this is one of the main reasons RAID was invented (back when the "I" stood for "inexpensive") and that 6-10 years is very common for hdd longevity. If a power supply is properly protected against spikes and the system is even reasonably protected against vibration and shock, no other failure should kill the drives. 5 Year guarantee drives are fairly commonplace and manufacturers couldn't afford this if the odds against early failure weren't high.

So why not make a better, more modern and useful server that also handles backups? A simple mirrored raid is trivial anymore and would offer additional redundancy. When the warranty period comes to a close, simply replace those drives if you still worry. I don't see this as "single point of failure" once you have mirrored and I don't think one can view the entire server as some whole, single point wherein all can suddenly "go bad". Not only does this seem a safe and effective solution but offers double duty in that you already employ an older server that this could replace.

Last edited by enorbet; 01-03-2014 at 09:56 AM.
 
Old 01-03-2014, 10:01 AM   #6
flokofcgulls
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@ Grischuna: My disks are USB 3.0, although the only time I get the increased speeds is when doing the drive-to-drive backup. I had picked up an Anker PCI card to add some USB3 ports to my old server, and while it works fine I don't get USB3 speeds on it. I suspect it may be limited by the bandwidth on the PCI slot but I haven't looked into it any further.

I connect the drives to my laptop (which has native USB 3.0 ports) and mount the folders to be backed up over a samba share, and then run rsync that way. Personally I don't worry too much about the speed unless it's abnormally slow for some reason, I'll usually kick off the script and leave it running while doing something else. If performance was an issue, I could put a gigabit ethernet card in the older machine which would improve my backup speeds.
 
Old 01-03-2014, 10:22 AM   #7
mostlyharmless
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I agree with #1 and #2. I use a small NAS with RAID 1, a ix2-200. However, I put Slackware in it as a replacement for the OS, allowing me to customize it to my exact needs without the cruft. It's quiet, low power and reliable, though a newer NAS would undoubtedly be faster. My advice: research the hardware to make sure putting SlackwareARM on it is relatively straightforward and get a relatively faster CPU with more memory.
 
Old 01-03-2014, 10:50 AM   #8
Grischuna
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mostlyharmless View Post
I agree with #1 and #2. I use a small NAS with RAID 1, a ix2-200. However, I put Slackware in it as a replacement for the OS, allowing me to customize it to my exact needs without the cruft. It's quiet, low power and reliable, though a newer NAS would undoubtedly be faster. My advice: research the hardware to make sure putting SlackwareARM on it is relatively straightforward and get a relatively faster CPU with more memory.
You point me in a direction I have not thought about yet to upgrade the NAS OS with SlackwareARM to get more out of it.

Regards,
Silvio
 
Old 01-03-2014, 12:54 PM   #9
kikinovak
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grischuna View Post
#1 - buy a real NAS (Synology, example DS214) and use it with RAID1
pros: can also be used as a webserver and a surveillance system
cons: in case of a broken disk I loose no content (I know that RAID1 is not a backup solution)but I have to buy the same kind of disk and again a single point of failure for my content

#2 - create a new small server with better hardware and add a couple of disk to it and create backups between the disks
pros: it will run Slackware
cons: in case the server goes bad I don't know if the disks would survive, again a single point of failure for my content

#3 - a mix of #1 and #2 but use cheaper products
pros: no single point of failure, I can backup important files in two places
cons: I need more hardware, overall cost still higher
#4: buy an HP Proliant Microserver (currently on offer for 179,00 euros at Amazon). Put three more 250 GB hard disks in this machine. Install Slackware64 with a software RAID 5 setup. The result is 650 GB storage space on real server hardware, which will not cost you much more than your NAS. For the really low-cost solution, buy only one extra 250 GB hard disk and use RAID 1.
 
Old 01-03-2014, 02:05 PM   #10
Grischuna
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kikinovak View Post
#4: buy an HP Proliant Microserver (currently on offer for 179,00 euros at Amazon). Put three more 250 GB hard disks in this machine. Install Slackware64 with a software RAID 5 setup. The result is 650 GB storage space on real server hardware, which will not cost you much more than your NAS. For the really low-cost solution, buy only one extra 250 GB hard disk and use RAID 1.
I started looking into this kind of solution as well today. I also checked out a Shuttle Barebone system but this gets also higher in prizing.

Regards,
Silvio
 
Old 01-03-2014, 02:42 PM   #11
Alien Bob
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I use a real server for all data storage in my house. The desktops and laptops can sync their important data to the server using Dropbox (which saves an additional copy in the Cloud) and OwnCloud (which runs on my server).
Then I use rsnapshot to make incremental backups every night, of all the important data (home directories, client backups, photo archives, music files etc). The rsnapshot backups are written to an external USB-connected drive.

Eric
 
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Old 01-03-2014, 04:36 PM   #12
Grischuna
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Thumbs up

Thanks to all that posted so far. I got many good information and ideas from you.

I tend to invest a little bit more money and go for a new server with a couple of new hard drives in it for redundancy. If needed, external storage can be easily added to be used as backup solution. A ThinkServer TS140 with i3 CPU or a HP Proliant Microserver is about the same prize as any other solution that I calculated today (location Canada) and will last quite a long time.

I will do some more investigation if I am able to re-use my old IBM chassis and add a new motherboard/CPU, etc. Have to be careful that power supply connectors, etc. are still the same. Have not build any PC for a very long time ;-)
 
Old 01-03-2014, 05:28 PM   #13
TobiSGD
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Just for completeness, there seems to be a misconception here: If you fear that your content will be lost if your backup system dies (for whatever reason) then it seems that your backup system isn't actually a backup system, but rather a simple storage system. A backup is always an additional copy, never the only one.

Also:
Quote:
If a power supply is properly protected against spikes and the system is even reasonably protected against vibration and shock, no other failure should kill the drives.
It is not necessary to kill the drives to loose content, if that is your only copy of the data. You can for example loose your data due to faulty memory, a defective storage controller, a bug in the filesystem driver or simply user error. A RAID, regardless which level, will not protect against one of these causes.
 
Old 01-03-2014, 09:11 PM   #14
Grischuna
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TobiSGD View Post
Just for completeness, there seems to be a misconception here: If you fear that your content will be lost if your backup system dies (for whatever reason) then it seems that your backup system isn't actually a backup system, but rather a simple storage system. A backup is always an additional copy, never the only one.
You are correct. My WD disk was NAS/media center and backup device in one and for this reason I saved some important files on my small server (still have the files on my laptops, etc.). I cannot use my server for now to fulfill the tasks that the NAS provided because I do not have enough storage.
 
Old 01-03-2014, 09:27 PM   #15
enorbet
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TobiSGD View Post
Just for completeness, there seems to be a misconception here: If you fear that your content will be lost if your backup system dies (for whatever reason) then it seems that your backup system isn't actually a backup system, but rather a simple storage system. A backup is always an additional copy, never the only one.
Emphatically agreed

Quote:
Originally Posted by TobiSGD View Post
Also:It is not necessary to kill the drives to loose content, if that is your only copy of the data. You can for example loose your data due to faulty memory, a defective storage controller, a bug in the filesystem driver or simply user error. A RAID, regardless which level, will not protect against one of these causes.
In all fairness that's not what I was implying. Assuming it is a true backup system, the failure of a drive controller, faulty memory or the like is easily fixed and all goes on normally with only a few hours or days, at worst, lost to existing without backups.

My response that you quoted was in direct response to

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grischuna View Post

#2 - create a new small server with better hardware and add a couple of disk to it and create backups between the disks
pros: it will run Slackware
cons: in case the server goes bad I don't know if the disks would survive, again a single point of failure for my content
where it seemed OP assumed drive failure would accompany server "going bad". In the vast majority of cases the last backup would still be good and accessible with just a little work and/or some replacement hardware. This I did not interpret as temporary loss but rather catastrophic failure, requiring not the simple replacement of a stick of ram or a drive controller but rather a "clean room".

Thus mine and others' recommendation of improving OPs server with a real, mirrored backup system.
 
  


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