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NAS auto-backups and FTP control

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December 13, 2011 9:14:36 PM

I'm planning on buying a NAS which will be used as an FTP server for file sharing with friends but I'm wondering if I buy a larger NAS can I set up auto backups for all the pcs on my network?

I like to simple backup all drives of a computer using copy paste.

I have reasons for this I don't need to be told it's the wrong way to do it.

Would it be possible to do this automatically using software but also only keeping one backup for each computer e.g. on a weekly backup schedule it does a copy paste of all hard drives of a pc into one folder then deletes the one from the previous week?

Also if a computer is off when the scheduled backup occurs is there a way to make it simply happen next time the computer starts?

I assume its possible but can I set restrictions so that users inside the network can access everything on the NAS but external users can only access certain folders?

I ask because if I'm sharing minecraft stuff (I run a server) with friends I don't want them having access to the backups of the pcs on the network.
a c 82 G Storage
December 13, 2011 11:32:17 PM

If using Windows, I'd consider Task manager and Robocopy to perform backups. A clever batch file can do what you want. Delete the previous folder, rename the current folder to old, create a new one and copy files to it. Repeat the job several times per day and check if the new folder date is current or not to determine if the job should run or not.

Protecting the NAS should be simple, but it depends on the NAS.
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December 14, 2011 1:59:33 AM

GhislainG said:
If using Windows, I'd consider Task manager and Robocopy to perform backups. A clever batch file can do what you want. Delete the previous folder, rename the current folder to old, create a new one and copy files to it. Repeat the job several times per day and check if the new folder date is current or not to determine if the job should run or not.

Protecting the NAS should be simple, but it depends on the NAS.


All computers are running windows 7 64bit except one which is vista 64bit so using batch files and task manager/scheduler definitely sound like the way to go.

Can you copy files to an FTP server (the NAS) using a batch file or do I need to use a different format for the NAS?

Also since I would have no idea how to create such a batch file where should I look for help?

This is only for backing up a home network of 4 comptuers so it only need to happen once a month.

Any help is appreciated as I want to know I can do this before spending the $1000 to set up this NAS server.
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a c 82 G Storage
December 14, 2011 11:59:57 AM

You can set a UNC path to an FTP server, but why use FTP for local users? Most NAS support CIFS/SMB for Windows. If you really want to use FTP, then I suggest that you look into http://www.ftpcontrol.com/purchase.html. I use FTP Control Power to script connections to hosts, transfer files, etc.

Since you wrote "I have reasons for this I don't need to be told it's the wrong way to do it. ", I'm not gonna try to convince you that your solution isn't ideal. If you want to automate it, you'll have to code or script your solution. Writing batch files isn't that difficult even for people who aren't very experienced programmers. You could also use Windows Script Host (WSH) to achieve your goals.
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December 14, 2011 8:20:14 PM

GhislainG said:
You can set a UNC path to an FTP server, but why use FTP for local users? Most NAS support CIFS/SMB for Windows. If you really want to use FTP, then I suggest that you look into http://www.ftpcontrol.com/purchase.html. I use FTP Control Power to script connections to hosts, transfer files, etc.

Since you wrote "I have reasons for this I don't need to be told it's the wrong way to do it. ", I'm not gonna try to convince you that your solution isn't ideal. If you want to automate it, you'll have to code or script your solution. Writing batch files isn't that difficult even for people who aren't very experienced programmers. You could also use Windows Script Host (WSH) to achieve your goals.


The reason I wanted to use ftp is I have no experience with the others and the NAS I plan on buying is considerably faster with ftp 125MB/s vs. 75MB/s for SMB.

Remember that this is a home network and since the backup script will most likely be run when the computer is turned on but the reason the computer will be on is because someone is expecting to use it, speed is important.

And I know a normal HDD wouldn’t saturate the 75MB/s anyway but I run an SSD and a RAID 5 array in my pc and I'm defintely the least patient in the house.

I most definitely fall into the not very experienced category in terms of programming. I’m much more of a hardware person and when I’ve tried to learn python and C I’ve given up in a few hours.

The most advanced command I know for windows or any language is set appdata.

If you think SMB will be easier then I’m all for using it but can I still use ftp?

The FTP is the priority as I need it for file sharing with external computers but I wanted to see if auto backups were possible.

At this point it seems like auto backups are fairly beyond my abilities to set up which although annoying is definitely cheaper if I only need a single drive NAS enclosure rather than the 4 drive I’ve been looking at for the backups.

I should also point out that the price I said earlier is for the NAS enclosure and 4 HDD's in AUD.

The enclosure I plan on getting is still a consumer level one, a QNAP TS-412 which is $400 is both aus and the US.
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a c 82 G Storage
December 14, 2011 9:13:35 PM

Unless QNAP have a bad implementation, I doubt there is such a significant difference between CIFS/SMB and FTP. Could you provide the link where you read that info?

If I were you, I'd use CIFS/SMB and backup software to archive data from the PCs to the QNAP TS-412. Transferring compressed data should be much quicker than copying files from the PCs to the NAS.
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December 14, 2011 9:31:55 PM

GhislainG said:
Unless QNAP have a bad implementation, I doubt there is such a significant difference between CIFS/SMB and FTP. Could you provide the link where you read that info?

If I were you, I'd use CIFS/SMB and backup software to archive data from the PCs to the QNAP TS-412. Transferring compressed data should be much quicker than copying files from the PCs to the NAS.


There is a graph ¾ of the way down this page showing the FTP vs. SMB performance of the NAS enclosure;

http://www.qnap.com/pro_detail_feature.asp?p_id=193

Also you didn't say if I can use ftp as well as SMB on the same NAS.

I need FTP unless I completely wrong in thinking SMB is only for internal networks?
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a c 82 G Storage
December 14, 2011 10:41:15 PM

I checked the graph, but my point still is valid. Since you'll write to it when performing backups, the performance is similar (~50 MB/s). Even though reads are faster when using FTP instead of SMB, that won't help with backups. The NAS can support several protocols at the same time; Embedded Linux isn't limited to a single protocol. You are correct; SMB should be limited to an internal network or VPN connections.

Before buying, I recommend that you should download and read the manual.
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December 15, 2011 12:58:56 AM

GhislainG said:
I checked the graph, but my point still is valid. Since you'll write to it when performing backups, the performance is similar (~50 MB/s). Even though reads are faster when using FTP instead of SMB, that won't help with backups. The NAS can support several protocols at the same time; Embedded Linux isn't limited to a single protocol. You are correct; SMB should be limited to an internal network or VPN connections.

Before buying, I recommend that you should download and read the manual.


I looked at the manual and the info on the backup software included with the NAS is extremely limited.

Assuming I can set up SMB and FTP in the configuration I want what's the easiest way to set up the auto-backups?

Software I'm assuming, if so anything you can recommend?

Or do I need to learn how to make a script or batch file?
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December 15, 2011 2:26:48 AM

GhislainG said:
Windows Vista and 7 include backup software that could meet your requirements. You could perform a monthly full backup and then incremental backups on a daily or weekly basis.

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows7/products/fe...

You could also check http://www.todo-backup.com/backup-resource/free-windows... and other free or commercial backup software like Acronis Home.


The problem is the software all compress the files into archives or system images which I don't want.

I am really looking for software to copy all the files onto the NAS.

I don’t mind if it zips some folders or files but I still want to be able to navigate the files on the NAS like my Hard Drive.

The benefits of system images aren't enough to outweigh the con of not being able to access your files while a computer is being repaired.

The backups are mainly for photos and work for the rest of the family where I like a complete copy of all my HDDs.

Also my computer would need system images every 10 minutes to actually be of any use to me as my computer usually only crashes when I'm doing a lot on a very short time.
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a c 82 G Storage
December 15, 2011 1:47:08 PM

Then use Robocopy to copy whatever you need. It's relatively easy to use and you can even find GUI interfaces.
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December 16, 2011 12:02:55 AM

GhislainG said:
Then use Robocopy to copy whatever you need. It's relatively easy to use and you can even find GUI interfaces.


Well I'm pretty confident I've got a working robocopy batch file and I'll order the NAS and HDDs very soon.

  1. Robocopy C:\ D:\backup /MIR /XD "Documents and Settings" /R:0 /W:0 /MT:64 /V /LOG:Backup.log /TEE


Thanks for your help.
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