backup my backup

  • I regularly backup the media and documents stored on my server to a portable HD, and then take it offsite. I rotate a few portables into this mix, so I'm mostly following the 3-2-1 rule. Recently I realized that the backups of the windows PCs I run via Urbackup are not included in that drive rotation scheme. This means there are only 2 copies of that data and both are onsite. If my house burns down, I'm partially screwed.


    So the other day, I tried to include the Urbackup folder in the OMV USB-backup sync I've been using. Unfortunately, it went on for days (even using usb3) and the result was HUGE, 4x the size on the server. So, I'm lost as how to make this more efficient. What could I leave out of the Urbackup dataset that would make this manageable and still allow me to recover the PCs data if my house burned down?


    Side note, I use Snapraid. When setting up Snapraid, I tried to include my backup directory and found it impossible. The memory usage was massive and it chewed up space way more space than I expected on the parity drive. Eventually, I found that Urbackup makes a metric crap ton of little files and directories and all those little files and folders were a huge burden. I have a feeling I'm running into the same issue here...:/

  • This means there are only 2 copies of that data and both are onsite. If my house burns down, I'm partially screwed.

    In this case, you'd be partially screwed in any case. In the case of fire, there would be no machines left to restore their full backups to.

    So the other day, I tried to include the Urbackup folder in the OMV USB-backup sync I've been using. Unfortunately, it went on for days (even using usb3) and the result was HUGE, 4x the size on the server.

    Do you have 4 workstations?
    I believe this is because Urbackup de-duplicates files. Where the workstation OS's are concerned, there are multiple copies of the same file on multiple machines. Urbackup only needs to store one copy of, for example, a windows system file that might exist as four separate copies on four machines. When attempting to copy in the manner you tried, I believe you're copying what Urbackup de-duplicates as individual files.

    Eventually, I found that Urbackup makes a metric crap ton of little files and directories and all those little files and folders were a huge burden.

    To do de-duplicate and save space, Urbackup would almost have to hard link files in a similar manner to what ZFS uses in Snapshots. When looking at the ZFS hidden Snapshot folder (.ZFS) there's a full "referenced" copy of the entire filesystem, nested in each and every snapshot. (There may be several dozen snapshots.) In the same manner, if the .ZFS folder is exposed and the server is backed up, the resultant data would explode into several multiples of what is actually stored on the server, as multiple versions of the same files and folders in each snapshot are copied as individual files.
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    Outside of a fire or some other disaster at your house, you have two copies of the workstation OS - what's on the workstation and what Urbackup stores. Further, there would be no need to restore the OS to the workstation if it's lost in a fire or, otherwise damaged. What is truly important is the user data stored on the workstation (not the OS which can be rebuilt).


    On a windows box, that would be the data that's stored under C:\Users\Username. (Documents, Pictures, etc.) In the case of Linux, whatever is under /home. If those locations are on your OMV server, user data is backed up and could be restored to a new machine. Backing up this way removes the OS clutter from unique user files which are important and usually a very small amount of data overall.


    Some possibilities:

    - Redirect user files to a network share. For Windows, this might help -> Configuration of My Documents. A sub-dir of a server network share could be mapped to the workstation and used for storage. I.E. Netbackups\wkstations\laptop\Documents\*
    - Windows Task Scheduler and / or Sync center could be set to sync data between a workstation and a server. Various methods ->here. Setting a sync on wks shutdown seems to make sense.


    There are other ways to do this but the main point is, separating and backing up user data, versus (re)-backing up the entire workstation and creating massive file and folder duplication.

  • If your off-site place has fast internet access and you can do some simple port forwarding... Build omv on an sbc (about 100 for an hc2 kit), add a drive, set up some remote backup service (rsnapshot, duplicatti, syncthing, even rsync), you're done. No more sneaker backups, you can do it all from your home.


    I know people use sbc's for their main server (I'm still not totally sold on that), but to me they really shine as a small remote backup.server

    Air Conditioners are a lot like PC's... They work great until you open Windows.


  • crashtest - excellent feedback and explanation. Thanks for going into such depth. I DO have 4 windows workstations. I guess I didn't realize the dedup process went that deep.

    In the case of fire, there would be no machines left to restore their full backups to.

    Very fair point. I had always played it ultra conservative, assuming that if I save everything, I'm sure to be able to recover what I want, even stuff that doesn't laned in the user directories. But, I suppose that's a minor inconvenience compared to a house fire...


    What is truly important is the user data stored on the workstation (not the OS which can be rebuilt).

    - Windows Task Scheduler and / or Sync center could be set to sync data between a workstation and a server. Various methods ->here. Setting a sync on wks shutdown seems to make sense.

    You've convinced me of this. It's easy enough and won't take up much space on the portable drives, especially compared to the urbackup set. I love the simplicity.

    If your off-site place has fast internet access

    KM0201, Safe deposit box, no internet :D I could put a single board in the garage, which is detached, but only connected by wifi... I'll have to give this some thought.


    Thank you both!

  • KM0201, Safe deposit box, no internet :D I could put a single board in the garage, which is detached, but only connected by wifi... I'll have to give this some thought.


    Thank you both!

    Understandable.. :)


    My HC2 is behind my Mom's entertainment center, wired to her router. I'm honestly not even sure she knows it is there and if she does, she probably thinks it's something her provider put there. I actually used to do the old sneaker backup at er place like you do, and just put the drive up in a closet.

    Air Conditioners are a lot like PC's... They work great until you open Windows.


  • I'm sure to be able to recover what I want, even stuff that doesn't laned in the user directories.


    Thinking about stuff that's stored outside of the typical locations in Windows, you might want to look at where your mail profiles/data is stored. Being able to restore e-mail to a new machine is kind of important.

    Other workstation items that fall into this category are my Contacts and Calendar. I use a little file sync app for these items.


    Build omv on an sbc (about 100 for an hc2 kit), add a drive, set up some remote backup service (rsnapshot, duplicatti, syncthing, even rsync), you're done.

    That's my plan, maybe using an R-PI4. (Or maybe a new HC4! :))
    I have a few choices and a shed with power in it so I might as well use them.

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