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Can a FreeNAS server back itself up to a FreeNAS Server? Or how would you do it?

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Piggie

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Jul 2, 2011
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This question is actually related to using the HP Proliant Microserver, but I guess that does not matter.

As we know, a server, even with RAID is not to be treated as a backup as a server can fail. Your backup would naturally be hard drives, and to house the hard drives you need some kind of box, and the most simple and neat answer would be another HP Microserver.

So, let's set the picture:

We have 2 HP Microservers running FreeNAS of USD sticks.
Both have four identical hard drives and both on the same Gigabit network.

One of them is the one you actually write to yourself. Your Server let us say.

What kind of setup would you need to have the second identical machine hold exact copies of all the data of the 1st machine?

If you had a RaidZ1 setup on both then this would be ultra secure would it not?
As if one drive in one machine went down, then no only would you have time to replace the dead drive, but also if the array did go down due to a second drive going, then you could always swap over and use the other machine.

I guess you could always risk not having any raid on either as it's unlikely both machines would fail at the same time.

Would the only way to have this working, say on Windows, would be to set up the exact same shares on both identical microservers and use something such as the Msoft powertoy to sync both servers. So as far as you are concerned you have free access to both machines.

Or would it be better to have some automatic thing in place where one Microserver is set to backup to the other Microserver?

I'm thinking of making an identical machine to the one I have just put together, and doing as I suggest above and wonder what your thoughts were.
 

Piggie

Dabbler
Joined
Jul 2, 2011
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26
Ok, perhaps my question was badly written, so I'll simplify it :)

Say you had two identical machines (servers) set up with FreeNAS.

Is there anyway to make one of these FreeNas machines sync itself to the other when you wanted.

So (after the sync) you always had two identical machines in case one of them failed?
 

bisi

Cadet
Joined
Oct 14, 2011
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7
Any luck with this?

I am about to attempt what (I think) you described.

I'm walking down a trial-and-error path that is proving to be full of traps and gotchas. I'd like to learn from some others' mistakes, as well. The link in post #3 has been barely useful as a starting point (maybe when I get this working, I'll return to fix the omissions in that reference, too. I don't think I've found them all, just yet :-/).
 

speacock

Cadet
Joined
Oct 13, 2011
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5
Any luck with this?

I am about to attempt what (I think) you described.

I'm walking down a trial-and-error path that is proving to be full of traps and gotchas. I'd like to learn from some others' mistakes, as well. The link in post #3 has been barely useful as a starting point (maybe when I get this working, I'll return to fix the omissions in that reference, too. I don't think I've found them all, just yet :-/).

The documentation is pretty poor for replication. If you have a look at the 'Talk' pages for the online manual, I've made some comments about the problems I had which will at least get you past the first hurdles, however, I'm still having problems as described in my post reference above.
 

bisi

Cadet
Joined
Oct 14, 2011
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I'm approaching the point you are at. I've successfully replicated most of the 'local' box manually (make manual snapshots, use the cli to send/receive and destroy snapshots). In order to make this work, I've had to do things that the GUI seems incapable of doing (careful naming of the received snapshot for instance). The iscsi file created in the root of my vol0 by the GUI (when I made an iscsi target) has resisted all attempts to be replicated to the other box, other than the most horrendous kluge, which resulted in the iscsi target on the 'remote' box showing use of 500GB (the nominal size), instead of the 73 GB actually used.

I'm actually thinking now, after a few days of dedicated replication work (fixed rate work, sadly), that I've found some unworkable limits for freeNAS, and that I should look at freebsd/solaris w/o the pretty GUI. Or else just give up on iscsi on freenas and stick w/ NFS & CIFS, 'cause the manual method works OK (you have to be careful to create the datasets in the GUI on the remote box before you replicate, else they never show up in the GUI). Or maybe I can find a way to make the iscsi file get created in its own dataset that can be snapshotted and sent/received to/on the remote. I'll be trying, but I have other clients I need to attend to as well. And I need to decide if I'm going to invest my time pursing the freenas replication or something else at those other clients, too.
 

mikeyr

Dabbler
Joined
Sep 19, 2011
Messages
20
Wow, this is exactly what I want to do... I've got my boxes set up and am trying to get snapshots working (no success yet). If it's as hard as you make it sound I don't think I want to go there.
I have successfully used RSYNC to copy between older FreeNAS boxes (r.69) and also when I upgraded to a new machine I was able to use RSYNC to copy the entire contents of my raid array from the old machine to the new one (r.69 to r8.0.1).
Maybe I'll stick to RSYNC for now, I think that will make an acceptable remote backup plan for my box. It's not quite as cool as zfs, snapshots, and replication; but I don't really need to capability of keeping old versions of files around, I mostly just want to have a remote off-site backup.
Besides being able to keep old versions of files around in the snapshots, is there any other advantage to snapshot+replication over RSYNC for putting a backup copy of my raid array on a remote machine?
 

jgreco

Resident Grinch
Joined
May 29, 2011
Messages
18,681
Personally, I think the ability to roll back to old versions of files is probably the compelling feature. However, it looks to me like ZFS snapshots are also very efficient on network bandwidth. rsync is good of course, but it doesn't maintain state.
 

mikeyr

Dabbler
Joined
Sep 19, 2011
Messages
20
OK, reverse course. I got snapshots and replication working; and it seems really cool-- so for the moment I'm trying that instead of RSYNC.

I still need to verify a few things-- like what happens when the link goes down and it can't replicate? Or what happens if the link goes down _during_ a replication?? (RSYNC handles this pretty well)
You can follow my progress here:

http://forums.freenas.org/showthread.php?2548-Snapshots-not-working
 

jgreco

Resident Grinch
Joined
May 29, 2011
Messages
18,681
If it can't replicate, it'll report via e-mail. Seen that already. As for interruption, it's supposedly robust. I've seen no reason to doubt that. You can check manually on the target to see if the snapshots are being kept current.
 

softy783

Cadet
Joined
Nov 15, 2011
Messages
1
thanks for the feedback very helpful

question: i am currently on a glan data storage exceeds 5tb how would i link the two nas to get better tx results,
bk are incremental but sometimes a full backup is warrant and glan takes hours to accomplish this

thanks inadvance
 
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