Backing up FreeNAS to external drives

in freenas on (#2THV)
I love this little device: it's an iXsystems MiniNAS running FreeNAS 9.2, with tons of disk space, RAM, fast network connections, all on a low-profile device that uses precious little energy (30W). Nice! And having all my important stuff on one box not only gives me the freedom to screw around with my desktops but simplifies and centralizes the work that goes into backing up my information.

It's tempting to be lulled into security by a hefty NAS running the ZFS file system on RAID-6. Yes you've got some redundancy and a resistant file system. But RAID is not backup - a mistake too many make. And here I ran into some trouble. FreeNAS gives you tons of options for transferring zpool datasets around, and since it's networked you can rsync your heart's content to other systems, but what if you just want to back the stuff up to a hard drive locally? Like an external, USB hard drive? Turns out, there's a way, but it requires a bit of Unix-foo.

Fortunately, this is FreeBSD, so lots of things are possible. The rest is at my website,

Re: Removable File System (Score: 2, Interesting)

by on 2014-10-22 16:06 (#2TK5)

Ext2 is more compatible than you'd expect. There are 3rd party drivers for Windows and OS X that work very well. The problem is, Windows won't read anything but the first partition on a USB drive, so you can't have a small FAT partition with the drivers, and the rest Ext2. Some firmware tricks could do it, but no companies seem to care about the patent licenses and other problems with FAT32/exFAT, so I end up carrying around two USB thumb drives.

Plus, a surprising number of embedded systems are Linux based, and the developers just don't disable Ext2, so it sometimes works even when not mentioned anywhere.

It would just take a couple digital camera manufacturers to adopt Ext2 (instead of exFAT) and include it in their drivers, and Google making Ext2 the default for Android. Then Microsoft and Apple would quickly be forced to include it by default to avoid being left out and seen as OSes that don't "just work" with accessories.
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