How should I backup remote family PC's to my home server?

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How should I backup remote family PC's to my home server?

Postposted on Thu Aug 14, 2014 11:16 am

I am in the process of setting up a FreeNAS server (more like acquiring the drives for the server at this point). I will a raidz2 setup with 8tb of available space striped across 4x2tb + 2x2tb parity. This will serve my home backup and media sharing needs well, but I would like to extend the purpose of this storage to also include backing up the computers that reside on my parents network. I have enough space for it, but I don't know how to logistically go about setting up something like this.

I would be more inclined to use some sort of easy client-server software, but setting up ssh tunneling for a backup isn't out of the question either. The main thing is automation on the client side. I would like for the backup process to be hands off on my parent's end.

Does anyone have any suggestions other than going with a commercial cloud solution? They are currently backing up all of their data to crashplan, but a semi-local offsite backup would be nice too.
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njenabnit
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Re: How should I backup remote family PC's to my home server

Postposted on Thu Aug 14, 2014 11:19 am

Maybe you could set up Owncloud on your server and install the client on your parents' computers.
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bthylafh
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Re: How should I backup remote family PC's to my home server

Postposted on Thu Aug 14, 2014 11:21 am

You can use Crashplan to backup to a different computer on their free version.
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Re: How should I backup remote family PC's to my home server

Postposted on Thu Aug 14, 2014 11:24 am

Setup's like that will always be hampered by internet caps on both your ends. To me that's the biggest issue. Everything else can be learned or asked.

Now, if you do regular visits, may be just easier to bring an external drive, bring the new diffs, go home and then "deposit".
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Re: How should I backup remote family PC's to my home server

Postposted on Thu Aug 14, 2014 11:56 am

I second CrashPlan. I use their Pro plan (to their cloud) but their software is free and you can backup as much data between computers as you want. I don't know if it'll work with your NAS, but maybe if you have it installed on your local computer and use the NAS as a local drive you can save the family computer backups there.

You can also setup alerts so that if you don't have a backup in a certain amount of time it'll notify you. This way you just set it up and forget it.
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Re: How should I backup remote family PC's to my home server

Postposted on Thu Aug 14, 2014 11:58 am

Sorry - I just saw your last sentence that they're already using CrashPlan. The client will let you backup to multiple destinations, so set your local computer/NAS as another destination on their end and you should be set.
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Re: How should I backup remote family PC's to my home server

Postposted on Thu Aug 14, 2014 12:09 pm

Guide to install Crashplan on FreeNAS:
https://github.com/sirkkalap/freenas-crashplan-howto
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bthylafh
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Re: How should I backup remote family PC's to my home server

Postposted on Thu Aug 14, 2014 12:09 pm

The main problem is making a connection between your parent's network and your network. I'm assuming they are two physically separate areas.

This can be worked around by setting up some sort of VPN tunnel between the two routers. This is the simplest way, and it gives you the most options. With a VPN, it would be a route entry on the router.

You could go with SSH tunnels, but things get messy if the clients are Windows due to Windows not having most of the needed tools to really take advantage of it.

The next problem is throughput, as Flying Fox mentioned.

Upstream bandwidth is a problem. Cox may not throttle like some, but they aren't going to prioritize outbound traffic either. They've also started nagging people about reaching usage caps, so they may, or may not, start clamping down on "excessive usage" even though they don't mention usage caps in any of their advertising.

Finally, dynamic IPs and firewalls.

Unless you're paying for a business class line, you're going to have a dynamic IP, many ports will be filtered, and this would be in violation of the ToS. None of these are really problems, but they will make things harder.
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Re: How should I backup remote family PC's to my home server

Postposted on Thu Aug 14, 2014 2:15 pm

Flatland_Spider wrote:The main problem is making a connection between your parent's network and your network. I'm assuming they are two physically separate areas.

I may have implied it but didn't specifically mention it. Yes, these are on two different physical networks.

Flatland_Spider wrote:This can be worked around by setting up some sort of VPN tunnel between the two routers. This is the simplest way, and it gives you the most options. With a VPN, it would be a route entry on the router.
You could go with SSH tunnels, but things get messy if the clients are Windows due to Windows not having most of the needed tools to really take advantage of it.

SSH tunnels are an option. The CrashPlan FreeNas plugin essentially builds the sshd tunnel from my understanding and the client connects via the crashplan desktop tool. I will explore this option a little more.

Flatland_Spider wrote:The next problem is throughput, as Flying Fox mentioned.
Upstream bandwidth is a problem. Cox may not throttle like some, but they aren't going to prioritize outbound traffic either. They've also started nagging people about reaching usage caps, so they may, or may not, start clamping down on "excessive usage" even though they don't mention usage caps in any of their advertising.


Good point. I wouldn't think that I would get close to any caps, but I suppose that is an options. The initial backup will be a physical external drive that I load from, then incrementals will stream online (which really shouldn't be a whole lot I'm thinking).

Flatland_Spider wrote:Finally, dynamic IPs and firewalls.
Unless you're paying for a business class line, you're going to have a dynamic IP, many ports will be filtered, and this would be in violation of the ToS. None of these are really problems, but they will make things harder.

Noted! I am using duckdns for my dynamic IP addressing without issue for a few other things right now. I'm familiar with maintaining the ports on my router and redirecting them if needed. I will check on the ToS to see if this type of thing is frowned upon.

bthylafh wrote:Guide to install Crashplan on FreeNAS:
https://github.com/sirkkalap/freenas-crashplan-howto

Thanks for the link! Do you know if Crashplan allows internet backups to another PC? I know it does LAN, but not sure on WAN.

bthylafh wrote:Maybe you could set up Owncloud on your server and install the client on your parents' computers.

This is probably my leading option right now. It looks like a pretty neat tool! Do you have any experience with it that you could speak to? I would assume that once I get my port forwarding setup, it is open to WAN devices for connecting as well (such as my phone at work, my parent's desktop on their network, etc)?
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Re: How should I backup remote family PC's to my home server

Postposted on Thu Aug 14, 2014 3:01 pm

Yes, Crashplan allows backups to any PC, local or internet. You don't have to deal with dynamic DNS or anything. You're using their systems to locate the PCs you want to backup to, but that's it.

And like you said, you can seed the initial backup (the software walks you through this) and then just sync differences from there.

I'm not a CrashPlan shill (I've posted many times about them), but just a happy customer of almost 4 years. I also use SpiderOak, used to use Mozy (went downhill when acquired by EMC), and a couple others which I can't remember right now. But for friends and family, I usually recommend CP due to ease of use and reasonable prices for their cloud backup.
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Re: How should I backup remote family PC's to my home server

Postposted on Thu Aug 14, 2014 4:16 pm

njenabnit wrote:
bthylafh wrote:Maybe you could set up Owncloud on your server and install the client on your parents' computers.

This is probably my leading option right now. It looks like a pretty neat tool! Do you have any experience with it that you could speak to? I would assume that once I get my port forwarding setup, it is open to WAN devices for connecting as well (such as my phone at work, my parent's desktop on their network, etc)?


I haven't used it much myself, but yes, it should be friendly to port-forwarding. AIUI it operates as a web server, so you'll want to forward port 443 and enable HTTPS mode. There's iOS and Android clients for it, so it might be useful if your folks have a smartphone or tablet.
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