HomeTECHNOLOGYBacking Up Data In The Enterprise: Become A Storage Pro With QNAP

Backing Up Data In The Enterprise: Become A Storage Pro With QNAP

The best strategies to protect corporate data are by ensuring its availability, integrity, and confidentiality. How to use Hybrid Backup Sync and Snapshots for Backup, restore, and synchronization. It’s easy to say Backup. In many cases, however, between saying and doing…

A correct backup strategy must recognize a multilevel approach that considers all the possible incidents in the company.

Buying a NAS, connecting it to a local network, and configuring it in RAID may not be enough: in the event of damage affecting the entire device (think of lightning strikes or disasters such as accidents and floods but also the theft of the NAS), the data present may not be recoverable.

And if malware or ransomware damages the data being backed up, how can you be sure that the backups saved on the NAS are not overwritten with encrypted, and therefore unreadable, copies of the same data?

And again, what happens if a malicious component directly compromises the data integrity of the Backup archives? This is not a rare eventuality and can happen if the resources used for storing backups are shared without passwords or if they are accessible with usernames and passwords that can be recovered by drawing on the content of local systems.

Data Backup: Why You Need A Multilevel Strategy

QNAP NAS offers a concrete answer to the backup needs of professionals and businesses precisely because they allow you to implement a multi-layered data protection and recovery strategy. The advantage is that there is no license to pay and periodically renew; no monthly or annual subscriptions to manage. All backup solutions built into QNAP NAS can be used without limitations: buy one or more NAS, and you’re done.

QNAP backup solution adapts to all business systems by interfacing with Windows, Linux, and macOS PCs, virtual machines, cloud services, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS ) platform, and file servers with access that can be through the RTRR ( Real-time Remote Replication ) protocol, rsync, FTP, SMB/CIFS, and WebDAV. Among the flagships of QNAP NAS, we mention the possibility of integrating them with the solutions already chosen and used in the company, including ecosystems from other manufacturers.

What Is Hybrid Backup Sync, And How Does It Work

The keystone is Hybrid Backup Sync, a complete, versatile, and flexible tool that allows you to transfer data from local systems to remote resources (including cloud storage services) and vice versa: it combines the functions of Backup, restores, and data synchronization with a compact and easy to use interface.

Hybrid Backup Sync helps to successfully implement the 3-2-1 Backup rule, i.e., create and manage 3 backup copies on 2 different types of storage and 1 off-site, i.e., outside the physical structure where the NAS is located. The only thing to do with Hybrid Backup Sync is to schedule the backup task: QNAP solution takes care of the rest.

A Single Platform Based On QNAP QTS And QuTS Hero Operating Systems

We used two QNAP TS-464 NAS to make the article and video, but you can manage advanced backups using any QNAP data storage product. All QNAP NAS share the same operating system, QNAP QTS, of which QuTS hero represents the most “enterprise” incarnation.

QTS is QNAP’s “historical” operating system that is continuously updated and enhanced with new, interesting, and innovative features. Facilitates management of folders, volumes, storage pools, shares, creation of personal cloud services, and much more. With QTS, for example, volumes – manageable in thin, thick configurations or as static units- are grouped within storage pools.

The QNAP NAS that looks to a more distinctly enterprise use is instead based on the QuTS Hero operating system, which stands out for some differences compared to QTS. In this case, instead of grouping the volumes, “folders” are available on which, for example, it is possible to activate data compression and deduplication.

An approach that derives from using the ZFS file system and allows you to manage hybrid configurations in terms of storage that combines hard disks and SSD units of different sizes. Thanks to ZFS, QuTS hero can ensure a capacity of up to 5 Petabytes for each shared folder.

Local And Remote NAS Backup With Hybrid Backup Sync

Hybrid Backup Sync can handle jobs that merge multiple Backup and restore tasks with the ability to start at the click of a button. A simple wizard allows you to choose the local folders to be backed up and then choose the Backup destination, which can be local or remote.

To use RTRR ( Real-time Remote Replication ), you need a network-connected QNAP NAS to perform Backup, optimize data processing, and reduce time. The remote NAS receiving the data should be adequately secured: if you choose to use the RTRR server listening on the default port 8899 or other ports, it should not be publicly reachable on the WAN or public IP address.

Instead, the remote NAS must be connected to a router that, via firewall and NAT, does not make the NAS publicly visible outside the corporate infrastructure. Remote access to the NAS for making backups can be done securely via VPN ( Virtual Private Network ) and for those who choose the QNAP ecosystem with the help of a QuWAN multi-site VPN. We will return to the correct ways to network your NAS and avoid publicly exposing it on the Internet in the next article of the ” Storage Professionals with QNAP ” initiative.

By clicking on Services in the left column of Hybrid Backup Sync, you can activate the RTRR, rsync servers, and the options related to Apple Time Machine support of “one-touch “copy from USB media. In the example, we have configured data backup to a remote NAS. The Scheduling section allows you to schedule the automatic execution of each Backup with a certain frequency or as soon as a previous job is completed. The advanced filters allow you to avoid the Backup of hidden files and symbolic links, exclude or include certain types of files or modify them before the indicated number of days.

Data Synchronization With Hybrid Backup Sync

With a very similar interface, Hybrid Backup Sync allows you to configure data synchronization tasks. Synchronization can be bidirectional, unidirectional, or active: in the first case, the data is updated on both storage devices involved in the activity ( mirroring ); in the second, the data transfer always takes place in a single direction from the local NAS to another storage device and can be done in real-time or when the QNAP NAS detects a file system level change.

On the other hand, active synchronization involves copying the data from the destination set to the local NAS on which the process is configured. This is useful for requesting a sync from remote servers, such as those that don’t support the RTRR protocol.

Transfer Large Backup Archives Over A Local Network And To Remote Devices

Hybrid Backup Sync meets the needs of professionals and companies because it sweeps away all the typical difficulties encountered in Backup management. Transferring quantities of data to local and remote systems can become extremely difficult not only if a network infrastructure is used that is not up to the situation but also when the Backup solution does not use advanced techniques to move the data.

As regards the first point, it is important to have an ultra-broadband connection to connect to remote servers and set up a LAN that looks at a Multigigabit Ethernet approach. For this reason, we used QNAP TS-464 NAS with two 2.5GbE ports and a local area network capable of supporting intensive data transfers with routers and Ethernet cables capable of maximizing the available bandwidth.

With so many backup solutions, you often face an estimated time to complete the operation that sometimes exceeds 24 hours. This certainly depends on the amount of data to be transferred and the (inadequate) strategy used by the Backup tool. Hybrid Backup Sync uses the data deduplication system called QuDedup: it allows you to optimize the occupied network bandwidth and significantly reduce the amount of data involved in each transfer.

Thanks to the possibility of concatenating backup and synchronization activities, it is possible to manage them independently without manual intervention. Furthermore, the problem of Backup consistency is largely underestimated: creating a simple copy of the contents of the folders saved in a certain memory location, for example, on a server or a workstation, can lead to the generation of inconsistent backup archives.

For example, if there is a change in the content of the files while they are being backed up, the result is an inconsistent archive because the content will be different from the original.

A transaction- consistent Backup lets you create a copy of your files while your system and applications are running, with no downtime or data loss.

QNAP provides tools to create consistent backups and verify data integrity: Quick Check checks the existence, size, modification time, and hash value of each file; Content Check compares the existence, size, modification time, and hash value of each file or download all files and calculates the hash values ​​​​to compare each item contained in the backups.

BackUp Data Locally And Remotely With Snapshots

Another tool designed to protect corporate data effectively is using snapshots: you can thus take an image of the configuration and content of each NAS. In case of problems or accidents, restoring the NAS to a previous state is possible by recovering the data and undoing any unwanted changes. Thanks to the high efficiency in managing data storage space and the greater flexibility compared to traditional Backup methods, snapshots are an excellent tool for protecting data.

Block-based snapshots keep track of the contents of all the blocks that make up a volume or LUN ( logical unit number ), a term used to identify different partitions of the same RAID set.

The changes made to the contents of a data block can thus be undone to recover the state of the volume and return it to the configuration used in the past.

QNAP snapshots combine Copy-on-Write (CoW) and Redirect-on-Write (RoW) techniques: the former involves copying a block of data to another medium before it is overwritten; the second involves copying the contents of a data block to a different memory location as soon as it is modified.

QNAP uses the RoW scheme to better manage the available space (modified blocks are copied from the volume inserted into the storage pool). At the same time, CoW is adopted to ensure snapshot consistency during data transfer phases. To access snapshot management, click Storage and Snapshots to configure the Backup function, set the frequency to create new snapshots, and set versioning.

Snapshots can also be created from QNAP’s file manager or file Station app; they are also recoverable on demand, invertible with the current NAS image, and “browsable” in the contents so that individual files and folders can be restored at any time. Snapshots can be stored locally and remotely: in this second case, Vault Snapshot asks you to specify the IP address of the NAS that can be reached remotely.

To create a new snapshot, click Snapshot in the Storage & Snapshots window and enable Guaranteed Snapshot Space, which takes care of reserving space on the NAS for storing more snapshots. Alternatively, click the File Station interface’s Snapshot Management button.

The Snapshot Manager window allows you to instantly take a snapshot of the contents of the NAS ( Take Snapshot button ), restore a snapshot, and access its contents.

Select the Snapshot of interest, click Open in File Station, right-click on its name, and select the Open item from the context menu. The Snapshot Schedule button allows you to define automatic snapshot creation periodically. It is possible to opt for very frequent snapshot updates because, after the first Snapshot has been created, the generation of subsequent ones will be much faster, almost instantaneous: using an incremental approach, only the changed files are copied.

Also, by turning on Enable Smart Snapshot, the QNAP NAS refrains from creating a new snapshot if there has been no file system level change since the last Snapshot previously generated. The smart versioning feature allows you to keep multiple snapshots for different periods. You can keep many hourly and daily snapshots to protect the most recent data you have worked on most frequently in the last period while keeping a small number of older snapshots (weekly and monthly) for long-term data protection.

You can decide how many snapshots to keep inside the NAS through the Snapshot retention tab. The Snapshot Replica section allows you to schedule a periodic copy of the image saved on the NAS using the storage device as a destination or on a remote NAS. Using a remote NAS is advisable to avoid data loss due to accidents that may affect the entire local NAS.

The following screen allows you to set the snapshot destination: choose a remote NAS that must allow connections via SSH (by default on port 22, freely customizable). The following screen allows you to schedule replication only or simultaneously create a new snapshot ( Take a new snapshot on a schedule and run a replication job box ). The last phase of the replication setup procedure allows you to request encryption of the data exchanged with the destination storage and enable compression.

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