How-to backup data with the Synology DS1515+ and DS214+
Ever experienced that moment of horror when your hard disk drive crashed or you accidentally deleted the wrong file or some other unforeseen event happened resulting in data loss? Well, it’s a good thing you had a backup right? Unfortunately, in this day and age, neglecting to backup important data is still an issue for individuals and businesses alike.
Before we get much further, it should be pointed out that RAID != backup. Sure RAID gives you drive redundancy and speed but if the RAID array is the only location your data is stored than you have no recovery option should you lose the whole array
For the purpose of this article, we will look at how the 2 common scenarios of data storage:
- Data is stored across multiple devices
- Data is stored in a central location (i.e. NAS (Network Attached Storage))
Where data is stored across multiple devices, the most ideal outcome is a single backup solution that can cater for them all. In the home or SOHO (Small Office Home Office) market, this is where the NAS and/or cloud become a popular choice. Similarly, when data is centralised, using a secondary NAS or the cloud is also a feasible option. Cloud functionality in a NAS will vary from vendor to vendor but for now, the Synology DS1515+ and DS214+ will be used to demonstrate examples of various backup strategies.
The DS1515+ is a 5-disk Intel Quad Core 2.4Ghz powerhouse that we recently reviewed and it’s baby brother, the DS214+ is a Marvel processor based 2-disk NAS. A quick specifications summary of both units:
|CPU||Intel Atom Quad Core 2.4GHz||MARVELL Armada XP MV78230 Dual Core 1.33 GHz|
|DRAM||DDR3 2 GB (Expandable up to 6 GB)||DDR3 1 GB|
|Hard Disk Drive||3.5” or 2.5” SATA(III) X 5 (6TB HDDs supported)||3.5” or 2.5” SATA(III) X 2 (6TB HDDs supported)|
|LAN Port||Gigabit X 4||Gigabit X 2|
|External Ports||USB 3.0 ports X 4, eSATA X 2||USB 2.0 ports X 1, USB 3.0 ports X 2, eSATA X 1|
|Dimensions (HxWxD)||157 mm x 248 mm x 233 mm||157 mm X 103.5 mm X 232 mm|
|File System||Internal: EXT4|
External: EXT4, EXT3, FAT, NTFS, HFS+
External: EXT4, EXT3, FAT, NTFS, HFS+
Both devices were configured with Toshiba 3TB HDDs.
The Synology makes for a great choice to show backup examples as the out-of-the box data backup module provided in DSM 5.1 (DiskStation Manager) offers four flexible backup solutions:
- Desktop Backup
- Backup & Replication
- Cloud Backup
- iSCSI LUN Backup
The desktop backup solution is ideal for the scenario of data being stored across multiple devices. The Synology has support for PC and Mac platforms along with external USB drives. Windows machines can back up to the NAS via the Synology Cloud App or any other backup app that’s available.
Mac users can configure TimeMachine and take advantage of the native TimeMachine capability on OSX.
Backup & Replication
If your data is stored on a centralised storage device such as a NAS, this is the solution for you. Whether you have a Synology NAS or another NAS, the Backup & Replication software utilises rsync to replicate the source data to another Synology NAS or rsync compatible server. The destination server can be local or at an offsite location. The following steps show how to configure the DS214+ as a rsync server or destination\backup NAS.
If you are going to be using a non-Synology rsync client, it’s a good idea to setup a user id on the DS214+ for this purpose.
The next thing that needs to be done on the DS214+ is to set up the shares that the rsync client will be syncing to.
The last couple of things to configure on the DS214+ and the rsync server side of things is complete.
Finally, for offsite servers, if you do not have a static IP address, it’s highly recommended that a dynamic DNS (DDNS) service be used. Like everything else, configuring a DDNS service on the Synology is fairly easy.
Cloud solutions are fast becoming a popular choice for many as it’s cheap, has plenty of storage options, is on managed infrastructure and is accessible at high speeds from any device anywhere in the world with internet connectivity. The Synology NAS comes with support for the following public cloud services: Amazon S3, Amazon Glacier, Microsoft Azure, SFR, and hicloud.
Synology’s CloudSync application also provides support for syncing with other cloud services such as Microsoft’s OneDrive.
iSCSI LUN Backup
For anyone using iSCSI LUNs with virtual machines, Synology DSM comes with the capability of backing up data stored on a LUN (files, OS and/or apps). This is a great feature for those wanting to use the Synology in the enterprise.
As you can see, a range of back up options is available for a range of scenarios. Whilst some of the discussed features are available on other NAS platforms, the advantage of the Synology was that everything was included out of the box at no additional cost. The Synology is also extremely easy to install and configure for the novice user. When deploying a robust backup solution, it’s definitely easier and more supportable by pairing with devices from the same manufacturer, in this case Synology.