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: Use ZFS send/receive. (Score: 1)

by on 2014-10-23 16:42 (#2TMN)

Good tips - that's my future strategy, once this one "ages" out. For the moment though, it's working well and I'm happy with it. You're right that backups don't have to be read by anyone other than the receiving system, but it's a nice bonus if you can test the drives' readability on a different machine/system, just to verify the writes are happening and the data is being correctly backed up. I had a database nearly get destroyed because I didn't verify the backups, and when it came time to use them I discovered to my horror they were bad. I won't forget that feeling soon, let me tell you.

Bryan makes some good points about the lack of universal file systems, too. NTFS, UFS, ZFS, HFS+ all have their positives and negatives, but it would be nice if manufacturers and systems-builders took into consideration of the need for something more transversal. FAT as a lowest common denominator is really f*cking low.
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