Time to revisit my backups

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MrRoadster
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Time to revisit my backups

Post by MrRoadster » Fri Jun 11, 2021 6:54 am

I originally posted this in the "Presales" forum, but have not had a response, maybe the users can help...

I currently have a 2TB drive connected to my iMac, it is partitioned so that 1TB is a TimeMachine and 1TB is archive storage. My iMac is about to be replaced by a MacBook, so I would like something on the network to act as my TimeMachine and archive storage. My storage requirements have also increased, so I will be looking at 4TB (or maybe 6TB). This has led me to QNAP, however, I still have a few questions:
  • I am not looking to write the same data to 2 drives, this will be one element in a backup solution covering local, remote, and cloud. Is NAS overkill?
  • Am I best starting off with 1 big drive, or 2 smaller drives?
  • Can I run 2 smaller drives as separate volumes, or am I best using RAID to make 1 volume, then split it in the QNAP tools?
  • I keep a further set of data on AWS S3/Glacier, can I automate zipping and copying to S3 when a folder has been added (or look for new files each day etc)?
  • I have a regular CAT5e (I think) network, so just 100Mbit, going through a standard broadband router, is this going to be fast enough for TimeMachine backups?
  • Which model (or alternative to QNAP) would you suggest for this sort of scenario?
All media content is streamed, so not looking to run any servers/transcode etc, just do TimeMachine backups and store photo archives.

Mousetick
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Re: Time to revisit my backups

Post by Mousetick » Fri Jun 11, 2021 8:20 am

MrRoadster wrote:
Fri Jun 11, 2021 6:54 am
I am not looking to write the same data to 2 drives, this will be one element in a backup solution covering local, remote, and cloud. Is NAS overkill?
If there is only one computer that's actively used and needs to be backed up, then yes a NAS is overkill (IMHO). If the change in your backup requirements is only increased capacity, I don't really see where the consideration for a NAS comes from... you could just replace your external backup drives with higher capacity ones (6 TB, 8 TB, 10 TB, and higher).
Am I best starting off with 1 big drive, or 2 smaller drives?
Doesn't matter. You can split 1 drive into multiple volumes if desired. Two drives will generate marginally more noise and heat than one.
Can I run 2 smaller drives as separate volumes, or am I best using RAID to make 1 volume, then split it in the QNAP tools?
See above. You can run 1 big drive and divide it into separate volumes, or 2 smaller drives as separate volumes. With 2 drives the only RAID mode available is RAID1 which has the same capacity as 1 drive, so provides no benefit in terms of storage capacity and is overkill for your needs (IMHO).
I have a regular CAT5e (I think) network, so just 100Mbit, going through a standard broadband router, is this going to be fast enough for TimeMachine backups?
100 Mbit is not fast enough, but I doubt that's really the speed of your router. Are you sure it's not 1 Gbit instead?
Which model (or alternative to QNAP) would you suggest for this sort of scenario?
If you're not in a hurry, I'd recommend you read this e-book to guide your decisions: Take Control of Backing Up Your Mac. You can download a free sample including the complete Table of Contents. It's written in plain English for Mac users, with a very pragmatic mindset.

For your needs as a Mac-only user, I wouldn't recommend a NAS, and certainly not a QNAP NAS.

MrRoadster
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Re: Time to revisit my backups

Post by MrRoadster » Sat Jun 12, 2021 4:41 am

Thanks for the honest feedback.

The reason for looking at NAS is twofold, increased capacity and moving from a desktop with permanently attached HDD to a laptop, which will be used all over the house. I want to be able to have Time Machine backups running wherever I am in the house. The last time I had a laptop as my main machine I had an Apple Time Capsule, which was good, but I also want to automate sending files to S3. I have another laptop currently backing up to a very slow LaCie Networkspace, so I guess that would back up to the NAS too.

I have checked the spec on my router, it is gigabit.

Mousetick
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Re: Time to revisit my backups

Post by Mousetick » Sat Jun 12, 2021 11:50 am

It's difficult to give pertinent advice if your goals/requirements are not clear. Now you have another laptop, which initially wasn't there, and should also be backed up to the same centralized storage. In that case a NAS would make a lot more sense. Is this other laptop a Mac too or something else?

As the name suggests, a NAS involves a network which adds a bit of complexity in setting up and managing. Not a lot, and it varies depending on brand/model, but the fact that you weren't even aware of the actual speed (100 Mbit vs. 1 Gbit) of your home network is not a good start. There is nothing wrong with that, but you'll want to select a NAS product that is as easy and simple to setup as possible.

If you go with a QNAP NAS, you'll end up with a product that provides a smorgasbord of features that you don't need, or even don't want but can't get rid of, while the basic essential features that you want and need are overly complicated to setup, poorly documented with a horrible UI loaded with technojargon and ridiculous names, and not particularly reliable. You'll spend a lot of time learning how to set it up, and once something goes wrong some time later and you need to troubleshoot, you'll be lost again because you forgot everything.

Take a look at these product recommendations:
https://www.macworld.co.uk/feature/best ... c-3674321/
https://appleinsider.com/articles/18/05 ... ipad-users
Neither of them include a QNAP NAS in their lineup.

If you want to be able to perform Time Machine backups wherever your laptop is in the house, that implies your laptop will be connecting to your home network over Wi-Fi rather than Ethernet cable. In that case the speed and quality of your Wi-Fi network will be the bottleneck for network speed.

Regarding S3 backups, are you currently performing such backups, or is that only a wish at this stage?

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Moogle Stiltzkin
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Re: Time to revisit my backups

Post by Moogle Stiltzkin » Sat Jun 12, 2021 1:27 pm

the benefits of a nas is a few fold.

1. a box to put in extra hdds
2. it can automate proceses for your hdd maintenance/monitoring such as, scheduled smart tets (short/long) and also monthly raid scrubs)
3. networking capability. The NAS and it's shares can be accessible very easily on the Lan, which is probably one of the core reasons for getting a nas. This is unlike external usb storage devices where you have plug in directly to access and use. All NAS cares about is that it's on the same lan.
4. you can use a NAS for remote access. However i only suggest doing so via VPN server setup your router, and have client devices access via a vpn client. You can also do plex streaming remote for contents hosted on the nas (according to others, this seems safe to).
5. Quts hero with zfs can go further using their raid z1 and z2 solutions to help alert you when your data becomes corrupted. If you simply store data on a single HDD, there are NO indication that the data stored on it went bad. You just one day access it then noticed music has weird noise artficacts, or pictures having visible artifacts in them. ZFS aka quts hero protects from this gradual corruption of data. This is why i prefer storing my data on a nas rather just a non raid solution.

if you don't need many of the things i highlighted above, then usually an external usb storage like a WD elements or seagate expansion should be able to handle your backup needs.

Just remember though that a backup is having the SAME duplicate of data stored on DIFFERENT storage devices. So if one goes back, you refer to the other storage device.



Also why still using CAT5e? switch to cat 6 or higher. the prices are quite affordable these days. However even if you do upgrade cables this does not mean you will jump from 1gbe to 10gbe. For that, you would need to also upgrade your switches, and also devices with 10gbe port capabilities on BOTH ends e.g. from device A to device B (both must have 10gbe, ontop of the switch between having that also. ONTOP of the ethernet cables also supporting 10gbe capability). Only reason to get better than cat5e is just for future proofing.

I recently had a faulty cable, so i switched that out for a cat7, since it was cheap and 10gbe ready if later i do get switches to support that. Anyway i managed to fix my problem and the switch reported a steady and stable 1gbe wired connection when tested from 1 room to another :D

also in regards to ethernet cables get reputable brands. i use the local online retailer so i also check the reviews to see what issues others reported with the cables BEFORE buying.
NAS
[Main Server] QNAP TS-877 (QTS) w. 4tb [ 3x HGST Deskstar NAS & 1x WD RED NAS ] EXT4 Raid5 & 2 x m.2 SATA Samsung 850 Evo raid1 +16gb ddr4 Crucial+ QWA-AC2600 wireless+QXP PCIE
[Backup] QNAP TS-653A (Truenas Core) w. 4x 2TB Samsung F3 (HD203WI) RaidZ1 ZFS + 8gb ddr3 Crucial
[^] QNAP TL-D400S 2x 4TB WD Red Nas (WD40EFRX) 2x 4TB Seagate Ironwolf, Raid5
[^] QNAP TS-509 Pro w. 4x 1TB WD RE3 (WD1002FBYS) EXT4 Raid5
[^] QNAP TS-253D (Truenas Scale)
[Mobile NAS] TBS-453DX w. 2x Crucial MX500 500gb EXT4 raid1

Network
Qotom Pfsense|100dl/50ul MBPS FTTH | Win10, WC PC-Intel i7 920 Ivy bridge desktop (1x 512gb Samsung 850 Pro SSD + 1x 4tb HGST Ultrastar 7K4000)


Guides/articles
[Review] Moogle's QNAP experience
[Review] Moogle's TS-877 review
https://www.patreon.com/mooglestiltzkin

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