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Does NAS allow for this?

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May 22, 2010 6:26:00 PM

I've been wanting a 2 disk NAS at my home for quite a while, but keep putting it off due to cost. I'm thinking about it again and realize my needs have changed a bit.

1) The most important task I want done is to automatically backup the computers on my home network, and to have that data duplicated via RAID1.

2) I'd like to be able to file share several small Excel documents amongst family members living elsewhere. We all update these files and email them now, but version tracking is becoming too much.

3) At least one person in the household is planning to move to a laptop full time. I'm concerned about this b/c they have financial files on the laptop that really shouldn't be travelling around in case the laptop is stolen. I'm thinking that I should just have their data files moved to the NAS (or should it be a local USB drive instead?) so that when they are on the road they will not have all the files from home that aren't needed on the road.

If I have a 2 disk NAS, are each of these needs met by partitions on the first HD of the NAS, and then the RAID 1 takes care of all the backups and duplicates?

If internet access is given to one of those partitions, are the others protected from hacking?

Or, am I mixing up technology applications?

More about : nas

a c 415 G Storage
May 22, 2010 6:54:48 PM

NAS is not a backup, even with RAID 1. If you value your data, then there are too many risks to it to rely solely on a NAS with RAID 1 to protect it. For example, if you accidentally delete a data file or if the data file gets corrupted, it's instantly and perfectly deleted or corrupted on both RAID volumes.

The best assurance against data loss is generational backups to at least two OFFLINE copies, with one of them preferably stored OFFSITE. Take it from someone who's been robbed.

In terms of the laptop data, keeping it on the NAS won't help if the NAS is stolen. The best solution to data theft is encryption, no matter where the data resides.
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May 22, 2010 8:57:57 PM

What I had in mind for the data backups is software that would run as sched'd to copy to the first drive of a NAS and then let the second drive be the mirror. It is not offsite I know, but would provide something better and less time comsuming than what I do now.

I'm trying to determine if the same device can also be a server for photos and for documents and a local HD for a laptop, but not allow access outside to the local drive or the backups.
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a b G Storage
June 8, 2010 5:01:13 PM

This one slipped by me. imho YES the NAS will do exactly what you are asking, and do it well. Although it will not work the way you describe.

There is an issue with some of the NAS devices out there in that, although you have RAID 1 protecting against disk failure you do not have redundancy with the NAS. ie your DNS 232 is running RAID 1 and the disks are fine but the psu in the 232 fails. Now you need a DNS 232 to read those disks (potentially) ubuntu can save you sometimes but I'm just sayin'. As long as you are prepared to eat the potential down time until the DNS is fixed and/or replaced this would be a good way to go.

RAID is not backup but the NAS with RAID can be.
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June 8, 2010 8:07:27 PM

Thank you. Are there NAS devices that utilize NTFS so the HD's could be popped in a computer if the NAS died?

Also, can the same NAS with RAID 1 work as this backup device and also provide file serving?
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June 13, 2010 12:40:10 AM

Original Questions

1) this can be done automatically using backup disk imaging software eg norton ghost

2)most NAS (eg freeNAS) can have 'offsite tunneling in" - setup various users which have access to certain folders. eg admin is all the drive (ie you) then say Tom is just C:/public documents.

3) yep just give them a folder on the NAS. Password protect it if needed. They can access easily when on local LAN, and can tunnel in as per #2 above for offsite access if needed.

Other Questions:

Software backup tends to produce image files of the disk(s), which means the data within the image file isnt accessable. eg norton ghost produces (i believe) ISO files. You would copy this ISO file to the harddrive if it got formatted etc. Then you would just schedule regular backups.
If you want to beable to use the data (a la NAS style) you are going to need to make folders etc, ie use the harddrive in the NAs like you would in a PC - its just attached to the LAN/internet to make a network drive.

freeNAS doesnt like NFTS, but there are NAS'es which can do NTFS.

The same NAS with RAID1 : The RAID is for protection against drive failure. RAID spreads your data across multiple drives, and maintains a redundancy. If you like "internal backup". The use of NAS is where backup is: you would backup your computer to the central NAS harddrive or you would maintain a central "cloud" which has documents on instead of on the individual computers.

Again, backup offsite too.

I would suggest: using NAS as central data server, RAID to maintain redundancy with the NAS device and then offsite copies of important data that you would be upset to loose (eg home photos and movies). This setup means no multiple copies of files on diff computers (so no version tracking needed), a central place for all backup ISO's for diff computers, drive redundancy within NAS device, and then offsite copies of important *** protects against cataclysmic disaster (eg power surge/fire/theft/etc)

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June 14, 2010 1:49:24 AM

Let me give you a second (or third) opinion. (Yes, I like ZFS and no I don't work for Oracle or gain anything, just spreading the word.)

ZFS is a new file system that allows for many advanced features, what you will be most interested in is easy raid setup and snapshots. Here is a good article talking about the advantages:
http://features.techworld.com/storage/2744/zfs--the-fut...

To use ZFS you need to use the OpenSolaris OS, but its not as hard as it may sound. There is a version of it called NexentaStor that has an easy to use web interface for managing your drives (up to 12TB). See the screenshots here (look down about half way when you see the web interface):

http://www.linuxdynasty.org/nexentastor-screenshots.htm...


With that in mind let me go through your questions:

artesian79 said:

1) The most important task I want done is to automatically backup the computers on my home network, and to have that data duplicated via RAID1.

There is plenty of free software that will let you do this. You can make incremental backups, or full backups at your discretion copied to multiple locations if you want. For Windows, this comes to mind:
http://www.educ.umu.se/~cobian/cobianbackup.htm

But maybe others can suggest better software.

NexentaStor allows you to easily set up a windows share (its called CIFS or Samba). In the screenshots you can see that you just have to click the checkbox. That will allow any windows computer to access the drive (or portion of the drive). In windows the easiest thing to do is map the network drive and then just get to it from My Computer.

artesian79 said:

2) I'd like to be able to file share several small Excel documents amongst family members living elsewhere. We all update these files and email them now, but version tracking is becoming too much.


NexentaStor allows FTP and many other web protocols that will let anyone with the password access the files.

Note, that this is not the correct way to version something. The proper way of versioning files is to use a content versioning system. One of the most popular is SVN (short for subversion). It keeps detailed records of who modified the files and lets you look at old versions. An SVN server can be set up on Windows or any other OS (including NexentaStor). Google for a tutorial and you will find plenty. The point is that if you want, you can set up the SVN server on the NexentaStor as well, though that will require some mild command line work.


artesian79 said:

3) At least one person in the household is planning to move to a laptop full time. I'm concerned about this b/c they have financial files on the laptop that really shouldn't be travelling around in case the laptop is stolen. I'm thinking that I should just have their data files moved to the NAS (or should it be a local USB drive instead?) so that when they are on the road they will not have all the files from home that aren't needed on the road.

You could make the laptop a 'dumb terminal'. So it carries no important information itself, only has software that lets it access it from a server (excel, ssh software, etc...). However I would suggest encrypting your files. Truecrypt is the best way. It will let you make a file that acts as a container. You then 'mount' the container and it appears to be a driver letter in My Computer. You can then use the drive letter normally (think USB drive), but then when you are not using it you unmount it. It can use high grade encryption to make it impossible for normal people to break.
http://www.truecrypt.org/




To set this up you need any computer that can accommodate two hard drives. If you are building a new one I would suggest a mini-itx board like on of these (the AMD 2+ one for $65 looks very good with gigE and 4 SATA ports):
http://www.zotacusa.com/products/motherboards

The advantage here is that the total build cost will be able the same cost of a NAS, but it will be a complete computer (so you can run SVN and anything else you might want). Not to mention it will take very little power.

If you have an old computer lying around that will work just as well. ZFS requires no special hardware, and NexentaSTOR can run on pretty much anything with 512MB of ram.

So what you will need is a case that can fit that mobo, a 2GB stick or ram (its pretty cheap so might as well), any dual core AMD that fits 2+ socket and 2 hard drives. (reply if you need help picking parts)

Then you install NexentaStor, run through the web setup of your drives. ZFS doesn't use partitions. It uses file systems that can grow to any size as needed. So make as many file systems as you want and then only share the ones you want.

With two drives you will set up a mirror raid so if 1 drive dies you are still good to go. It will email you if this happens to that you know.

For deleting files, ZFS snapshots let you roll back the entire drive or individual files. You can make it take snap shots automatically every week or day or whatever you want. For home setups, having two backup systems located in different locations is usually too expensive. This will offer protection against pretty much everything short of physical damage or theft. For that I would suggest getting a web service that lets you upload files (or maybe set up a similar system at a friends house and allow each other to backup)


I don't mean to link to another forum, but the guys at the opensolaris forums are very knowledgeable and very quick to reply in case of questions specifically related to ZFS or opensolaris. Those guys are real experts and can help you out with esoteric questions.

It will certainly take a fair bit or learning and adventurism, but there is lots of help available. I hope this also helps other people searching through the forums.
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