Homelab Synology backup strategy

A while ago I finally had some attention for my much beloved data. I gave some thought on how my data would be safe if disaster would struck, like my Synology NAS catching fire. Or worse, my house…

So when I speak of ¬†‘my beloved data’, I am talking about:

  • Homelab data (VM’s etc.)
  • Personal documents
  • Photos & videos

I could live with my homelab data being lost. I would not be a happy man, but a complete homelab reinstall would be possible without any backup. However, if one can avoid the loss of data, one should. ūüôā

More important however, are my personal documents and my photos/videos. Those are invaluable to me! I wanted to make sure that all this data is centralized on my Synology NAS and I have the requirement for¬†an off-site backup. The off-site backup¬†would have to be affordable while growing in GB’s. The RTO would not matter that much as long as I’m able to recover the data.
Also, I would like to reduce the number of cloud storage solutions (Google Drive, Onedrive, Dropbox) and their associated clients.

The diagram below shows the setup I came up with:

synologybackup

Crashplan

To make sure all data is back-upped to an off-site location, I use¬†Code42’s Crashplan. Normally used for computer backup¬†, but perfectly capable to backup my data residing on my Synology. Crashplan’s continuous data protection for endpoint is available for $5 per month. Do however note that this is not a supported solution by Code42.

It requires some additional configuration. First of all, you will need Java installed on your Synology and the community Crashplan package from PCloadletter. The trick after this, is to let the Crashplan client on your computer to communicate with the backup engine running on your Synology.

You can do so by updating the ui_info key on your Crashplan installation on your computer. First you will need to retrieve the key on your Synology using command:

cat /var/lib/crashplan/.ui_info ; echo

The output will look like this:crashplankey

Next you will need to update the ui_info key for the Crashplan client running on your computer with the key extracted from your Synology. The .ui_info file is typically located here:

  • C:\ProgramData\CrashPlan\.ui_info ¬† (Windows)
  • /Library/Application Support/CrashPlan/.ui_info ¬† (Mac)

 

You may need to update this key if you update or upgrade the Crashplan client. Next up is to tell your Crashplan client on you computer to NOT connect to the engine running on the local computer but to the engine on the Synology. You will need to edit the ui.properties files, located here:

  • ¬†C:\Program Files\CrashPlan\conf\ui.properties ¬† (Windows)
  • /Applications/CrashPlan.app/Contents/Resources/Java/conf/ui.properties ¬† (Mac)

Uncomment and adjust to following lines accordingly: crashplanip

 

When done, the Crashplan client will let you choose which folders/files from your Synology you would like to backup!

The positives are that you are not bound to any storage limits and your data is continiously protected! The downsides¬†however are the impact on memory usage on your Synology because Java. You could opt for memory expansion if your model lets you. Another thing could be the additional configuration, but that won’t be to much of a hustle for a IT enthusiast.

Other great options for off-site backup are i.e. Amazon Glazier or another Synology NAS on a remote location.

Synology Cloudstation & Cloudsync

As for my documents, I want those to be included in the off-site backup as well a sync to one cloud storage provider. I opted to go for¬†Google Drive as I’m already a paying Google Apps customer.¬†Synology Cloudstation is used to synchronize my documents from my endpoint devices (laptop, tables) to my Synology.

Once there, the Synology Cloud Sync app will the replicate the data to my Google Drive account. This really does work like a charm and it provides a near-zero RPO for my most important files.

cloudsync

Synology DS Photo

Last but not least I want my mobile pictures and videos to be safe. If I were to lose my phone, the only thing that would matter to me are my pics and vids. I used to use Google but the number of GB’s required for my media would require me to buy more Google storage.

I now use the Synology DS Photo app to automatically upload my pictures and videos to my Synology NAS. Of course under the protection of my off-site backup mechanism. ūüôā

 

To conclude…

I must say I really dig the Synology platform. The DiskStation series is¬†the perfect fit for my home¬†environment. From providing NFS and iSCSI datastores to my VMware lab to serving my important files and media. I don’t like it… I love it! ūüėČ

 

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I am a virtualization enthusiast with a love for virtual datacenters! About 15 years of experience in IT. VMware VCDX #212. Working at HIC (Hagoort ICT Consultancy) as fully independent consultant/architect!

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Comments (2)

  1. Why not use the easy way and drop a backup from your Windows workstation data to you Synology with Veeam Endpoint backup FREE?

    1. Hahaha, because I want my data from my Synology off-site. Not perse my workstation data, only my documents… which are synced to the Synology. I’m not looking for complete endpoint backup. ūüėČ

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