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Topic # 230767 12-Mar-2018 14:31
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Over the years I've made attempts to tidy up and improve on my how I manage and back up data across my various devices, and while things are a little better, I think I can do much better.  I'm hoping there might be some good suggestions or advice from the GZ community.

 

 - I currently have a single bay QNAP NAS, which was fine to get started about 8 years ago, but really doesn't cut the mustard now.  It has a 4TB WD Red drive, which is about a third full.

 

 - I am quite embedded with Onedrive (as is my wife) - we pay $165/year for 1TB storage for up to five accounts, and each of those accounts has access to the full Office 365 suite, which suits us nicely.  For the most part, we are happy with Onedrive, though occasionally finding and retrieving data (e.g. a photo) using the web interface can be a mission (to say the least).  But value for storage and services is hard to beat.  I have used just over half of my 1TB allocation.

 

 - I have a Surface Pro 3 as my main PC.  With 256GB storage, it limits how much I can sync from Onedrive to my Surface.  My wife has a full blown desktop PC, so has no such limit.

 

When I last reviewed how I was going to set things up, I came up with the following structure:

 

1. All my personal files (as opposed to those I "shared" with my wife - family photos, videos, music collections, etc) were in Onedrive in the expected folder groups (Docs, Music, Pictures, Videos).  These were selectively synced to my Surface Pro 3 (selectively, as there isn't enough space on the SP3 to hold all my Onedrive files).

 

2. My Onedrive was "backed up" to the QNAP NAS using the Cloud Drive Sync app on the NAS.  This meant that when I was on my home network, I was able to easily access the full content of my Onedrive as a mapped drive on my SP3.

 

3. The entirety of my NAS was backed up to iDrive (Crashplan, until they ended their non-Commercial service), providing a level of redundancy against my NAS failing.

 

This was all set up based around my data setup, but the idea was that my wife would also migrate to a similar setup (eventually, when we had time to migrate things over).  So we would each have a separate account on the NAS where were stored our own personal files, synced to our separate Onedrive accounts for on-the-go access (and in my wife's case, also fully synced to her home PC for local access), with the whole NAS backed up to iDrive for redundancy against data loss.  In effect, this would be a second level of protection, in that all important files would already be in Onedrive.

 

The reason I'm re-looking at all this, is that while this sounds reasonably good (to me, at least), it doesn't work smoothly.  Onedrive can be slow at times, and syncing Onedrive to the NAS is reliant on an app on the NAS which doesn't seem to work all the time.  I checked on things recently and found a bunch of files that weren't syncing.  Without doing a long and complicated audit, (which I can't/don't really want to commit the time to) I don't really know how much hasn't been synced.  Also, the backup from the NAS to iDrive seems to not work reliably.  I'm not sure if this is to do with iDrive or the NAS (or both), but it's worrying to not know how reliable is my back up.

 

Thoughts

 

I think the Onedrive to SP3 idea is okay.  I'm using the Onedrive functions built into W10 as a pretty safe way of syncing what I really need to have offline.  I can live with some stuff not being available on my SP3 offline.  If all my Onedrive files are available on the NAS, then making use of the mapped network drives is fine by me.

 

I think a NAS is pretty crucial.  But I wonder whether I need to look at something a bit better than the one-bay QNAP I've got.  A multi-bay NAS would be more expandable over time, obviously, and I understand that Intel-based hardware is faster when it comes to running some apps on the NAS.  But while shiny new hardware is nice, I don't know if that's the most important thing to fix.  Are other NAS better when it comes to syncing to a cloud service like Onedrive?  Or should I be looking at a different approach than NAS-Onedrive syncing?

 

Backing up the NAS gives me extra assurance of being able to recover data that might be lost.  It also recognises that Onedrive is a cloud storage, not a cloud backup service.  I like the idea of set and forget, rather than backing up to an external drive that I store at another location (which requires me to remember to do something on a regular basis - I don't know that I would be able to keep up that routine).  iDrive seemed a good option at the time - it had an app for my NAS, and the introductory offer for 2TB of storage was hard to beat.  But if the backup isn't reliable, then it's no value at all.  I've looked at things like Amazon S3, but the pricing is commercial-oriented and a bit hard to fathom.  Something like Crashplan for Small Business might be okay, but I'm not sure if they do backup from NAS natively, or if you have to do it via mapped network drives (like Crashplan Home used to require).  I guess the question here is firstly - with the rest of my setup, is backing up the NAS to a cloud storage service a good idea?  And if it is, then what's the best way to back it up?  Complicating things, it seems like native back up from within the NAS (set and forget) might be dependent on the NAS I have (which is why I'm wondering whether I should be looking at upgrading my hardware).  If a new/better NAS will make things a lot easier, then I'm prepared to pay for that, but if the problems are there no matter which NAS I use, then maybe I need to look at my overall setup.

 

Apologies for the rambling thoughts/questions.  It's a bit like trying to unpick the Gordian knot.  There a lots of things to balance - best value for money, reliable set ups with minimal maintenance, simple to use, etc.  Basically, I'm hoping that someone might be able to either validate some of the things I'm thinking about, or suggest some things to improve.

 

 

 

 


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  Reply # 1973331 12-Mar-2018 15:57
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I use OneDrive too but my concern is that in the event of a ransomware attack, the files on One Drive would also be encrypted.

 

When I looked into this (and gave up), it seemed to me that to be sure of surviving a ransomware attack, one needs a system that at least does incremental backs up into the cloud.  Even then you risk a small subset of files so doing full  backs ups regularly would be wiser.

 

 





Mike



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  Reply # 1973390 12-Mar-2018 16:19
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Interesting issue, and not one that I'd ever considered.  I guess it's an issue for any situation where local files are synced to the cloud, though, and the only real protection is to do a separate, non-automated backup.

 

Are there any cases of ransomware attacks getting into the cloud service and spreading from there?  While it's not something I know much about, I always imagined it getting a foothold through a PC (i.e. clicking an email etc), and from there it could spread to include files synced into the cloud.  If that's the case, then I think my risk of exposure is minimal given only a small (albeit important) portion of files are synced back to my Surface Pro 3 on account of the small storage space.

 

 

 

Through the process of writing all that stuff in my initial post, it's helped to crystallise a few ideas for me.  The more I think about it, the more I think that the NAS might be a bottleneck.  I find it painfully slow to run anything on the NAS, so possibly a beefier system for the NAS might make things a little easier.  Last time I tried to sort out issues with my cloud sync backup on the NAS it took most of the evening just waiting for things to load up on the NAS UI.  Moving to a device with more than 512MB RAM and a better CPU might help things.

 

I'm also looking at Backblaze B2 for backing up the NAS.  Based on the size of my current backup, it wouldn't be too expensive (~$3.5NZD/month), so might be worth a try, at least to compare the performance against iDrive.

 

Still happy to hear suggestions and advice from anyone about the best way to manage this rats nest of data needs.


IcI

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  Reply # 1973453 12-Mar-2018 18:32
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Lizard1977: ... Apologies for the rambling thoughts/questions.  It's a bit like trying to unpick the Gordian knotThere a lots of things to balance ...

Lizard1977, say hello to Fred99. He discussed a "wicked problem"

 

"Complexity—systems of systems—is among the factors that makes Social Messes so resistant to analysis and, more importantly, to resolution" According to Horn, the defining characteristics of a social mess are:

 

     

  1. No unique "correct" view of the problem;
  2. Different views of the problem and contradictory solutions;
  3. Most problems are connected to other problems;
  4. Data are often uncertain or missing;
  5. Multiple value conflicts;
  6. Ideological and cultural constraints;
  7. Political constraints;
  8. Economic constraints;
  9. Often a-logical or illogical or multi-valued thinking;
  10. Numerous possible intervention points;
  11. Consequences difficult to imagine;
  12. Considerable uncertainty, ambiguity;
  13. Great resistance to change; and,
  14. Problem solver(s) out of contact with the problems and potential solutions.

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  Reply # 1973735 13-Mar-2018 08:50
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I have a similar solution to you and I think it's fairly robust.

 

 

 

I've got a Mac environment at home and a single bay Synology NAS. So, I've got the following going on.

 

 

 

Timemachine creates backups from the Macs to the Synology NAS automatically. I've just set and forget this (apart from checking that it's working of course)

 

I sync the NAS to OneDrive directly. This is where all of my documents, pictures and so on are stored. I do not connect any of my Macs to OneDrive (in the theory that it reduces the chance of a ransomware attack being successful. So, when I am at home - I have to connect to the NAS in order to retrieve the files (and the Macs are not left connected to the NAS when they're not being used). I don't have a huge amount of files (I think I'll be dead by the time I hit 200Gb)...

 

When I'm at work (or elsewhere) and I want to access any of the files, I'll login to OneDrive directly to access them.

 

 

 

Pretty simple, but it seems to work ok...


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  Reply # 1973776 13-Mar-2018 09:41
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I have a NAS (home-built, Mini-ITX Atom processor and 2×2TB drives running OpenMediaVault) sitting behind my desk.

 

I used Create Synchronicity for daily backups of my main work computers to the NAS, and Cloudberry for real-time, background backups of work files also to a different drive on the NAS.
I also do daily mirroring of my entire data and work drives to a separate external drive which is swapped every week or so with an identical one hidden in a waterproof tupperware container hidden at the other end of the garden.

 

For ransomware protection, anything I care about is then backed up daily through Cloudberry to an FTP server in Europe, using Cloudberry's ransomware protection feature (in short, if it detects files encrypted in a certain way, it keeps backing them up, but cancels purging of old files)

 

This is pretty low-tech, but it works, it has multiple versions, and it is set-and-forget.


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  Reply # 1973780 13-Mar-2018 09:46
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Gurezaemon:

 

For ransomware protection, anything I care about is then backed up daily through Cloudberry to an FTP server in Europe, using Cloudberry's ransomware protection feature (in short, if it detects files encrypted in a certain way, it keeps backing them up, but cancels purging of old files)

 

 

This I like the sound of.





Mike

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  Reply # 1976427 14-Mar-2018 11:38
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If one of your storage options supports snapshots that is a great way to protect against ransomware.




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  Reply # 1976941 15-Mar-2018 09:03
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In the wake of writing up the opening post to this thread, I decided to delve back into my NAS and try and fix some of the problems with the current sync arrangements.  I think I managed to fix the Onedrive sync issues by updating the app on the NAS.  I've now been able to re-establish the sync between the NAS and Onedrive, but it's taking a long time for some of those synchronisations to complete.  Admittedly, there are some large folders to compare (46GB of photos for instance), but I'm hoping that once it's finished comparing, the sync will be solid.

 

However, this process has just highlighted how painfully slow the NAS is.  I set up 5 folders to sync with Onedrive, and each setup had about 4 screens of settings to navigate through.  It took about 5-10 minutes for each of those folders to be set up to sync, with a frustrating "loading" message after each screen and at the end.  I also tried to set up a NAS backup to Backblaze B2 using the Hybrid Backup Sync app on the NAS, but it took so long (20+ minutes) that I eventually gave up and went to bed.  Reflecting on this, I suspect the underwhelming hardware of the NAS is probably to blame here - a Marvell 6282 1.6ghz CPU and just 512MB of RAM may not be grunty enough to run the OS in a smooth fashion - and maybe it's time for an upgrade?

 

Before I shell out, though, I wanted to do a reality check.  I'm pretty sure the NAS OS should be snappier than what I'm seeing, but wanted to check with others.  Should I be waiting as long as I am for things to happen in the Dashboard, or is that pretty standard?  Is it reasonable to think that a newer NAS with a better CPU/RAM config will run things faster/more smoothly?


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  Reply # 1976943 15-Mar-2018 09:08
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Lizard1977:

 

In the wake of writing up the opening post to this thread, I decided to delve back into my NAS and try and fix some of the problems with the current sync arrangements.  I think I managed to fix the Onedrive sync issues by updating the app on the NAS.  I've now been able to re-establish the sync between the NAS and Onedrive, but it's taking a long time for some of those synchronisations to complete.  Admittedly, there are some large folders to compare (46GB of photos for instance), but I'm hoping that once it's finished comparing, the sync will be solid.

 

However, this process has just highlighted how painfully slow the NAS is.  I set up 5 folders to sync with Onedrive, and each setup had about 4 screens of settings to navigate through.  It took about 5-10 minutes for each of those folders to be set up to sync, with a frustrating "loading" message after each screen and at the end.  I also tried to set up a NAS backup to Backblaze B2 using the Hybrid Backup Sync app on the NAS, but it took so long (20+ minutes) that I eventually gave up and went to bed.  Reflecting on this, I suspect the underwhelming hardware of the NAS is probably to blame here - a Marvell 6282 1.6ghz CPU and just 512MB of RAM may not be grunty enough to run the OS in a smooth fashion - and maybe it's time for an upgrade?

 

Before I shell out, though, I wanted to do a reality check.  I'm pretty sure the NAS OS should be snappier than what I'm seeing, but wanted to check with others.  Should I be waiting as long as I am for things to happen in the Dashboard, or is that pretty standard?  Is it reasonable to think that a newer NAS with a better CPU/RAM config will run things faster/more smoothly?

 

 

 

 

What kind of NAS is it?

 

I've got a Synology DS115j with a Marvel Armada and 256Gb of RAM - It isn't the fastest around but seems solid and does what I want for home. That being said, my old job we had a 4 bay Synology NAS with an Atom processor (can't remember exactly what the configuration was) and in comparison, it was much quicker.


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  Reply # 1976957 15-Mar-2018 09:13
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I have a 4 bay Synology currently with 8TB (Soon to expand) that I was looking at backing up. The only viable solution I could work out (Cost affective) is to purchase a second JBOD configured NAS and locate it at a family members house. I am yet to do this.
I do back up a very small subset to one drive of important files. I also back surveillance video to Amazon.



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  Reply # 1976958 15-Mar-2018 09:13
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QNAP TS-112P.  I guess my tolerance for lag and delay is pretty low, and if I have to spend more than 10 seconds waiting for the computer/NAS to respond to a command then I lose patience.  While I've used lots of PCs over the years and can remember the days when a PC routinely took 3+ minutes to boot into Windows, I don't have any experience of a NAS other than the one I've got, so I don't know whether this is standard performance, or if it's sub-par compared to modern devices.  My instinct tells me that anything with specs as modest at that will struggle under load, but I also know that NAS are specifically designed to run on modest specs.  I just don't want to spend ~$600 on a new NAS with more RAM/better CPU only to find marginal improvements in performance because that wasn't actually the bottleneck.


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  Reply # 1976961 15-Mar-2018 09:21
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If one says NAS/server, he should immediately say ECC (and possibly ZFS/BTRFS) as well. Sync is syncing faults too and RAID is NO data safety (it's just saving time ). Don't ignore bit rotting.





Nope, English isn't my mother tongue. But that's why I'm here. smile


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  Reply # 1976962 15-Mar-2018 09:24
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Lizard1977:

QNAP TS-112P.  I guess my tolerance for lag and delay is pretty low, and if I have to spend more than 10 seconds waiting for the computer/NAS to respond to a command then I lose patience.


Where the drives configured to sleep? There is no delay on my Synology.

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  Reply # 1976963 15-Mar-2018 09:24
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Lizard1977:

 

QNAP TS-112P.  I guess my tolerance for lag and delay is pretty low, and if I have to spend more than 10 seconds waiting for the computer/NAS to respond to a command then I lose patience.  While I've used lots of PCs over the years and can remember the days when a PC routinely took 3+ minutes to boot into Windows, I don't have any experience of a NAS other than the one I've got, so I don't know whether this is standard performance, or if it's sub-par compared to modern devices.  My instinct tells me that anything with specs as modest at that will struggle under load, but I also know that NAS are specifically designed to run on modest specs.  I just don't want to spend ~$600 on a new NAS with more RAM/better CPU only to find marginal improvements in performance because that wasn't actually the bottleneck.

 

 

 

 

I've only ever had experience with one Q-NAP and looking at the picture, it looks very similar to yours. I found it slow and didn't like the interface at all. That being said - I'm sure that there will be others here and they'll feel differently.

 

I'm possibly more tolerant of the performance of the web interface to the NAS but always operated on the theory that as long as it's dishing up the files at a decent speed, I can cope...




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  Reply # 1976964 15-Mar-2018 09:27
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fearandloathing:
Lizard1977:

 

QNAP TS-112P.  I guess my tolerance for lag and delay is pretty low, and if I have to spend more than 10 seconds waiting for the computer/NAS to respond to a command then I lose patience.

 


Where the drives configured to sleep? There is no delay on my Synology.

 

I'm not sure.  Would need to check when I get home.  Don't think so, though.


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