Best Free NAS Backup Software

Best Free NAS Backup Software

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Network Attached Storage (NAS) is a sophisticated technology that can be connected either to your home network or to the office network. As with almost any normal storage, NAS is capable of storing all kinds of different files, including photos, videos, music, text documents, and so on.

At the same time, NAS is accessible via either web browser or via a mobile app, making the interaction with your files easier, and giving you access to the wide range  of services that NAS can provide via the Internet.

One of the prime purposes of NAS is file consolidation, for both home and office storage systems. And yes, while both USB drives and free cloud storages can address the same problem to an extent, you may sometimes not be able to access your data that’s being kept on the USB drive, and cloud storages amount to your files being stored by someone else, along with quite high monthly fees.

A lot of different NAS providers also offer different services tied to their own NAS systems. Here’s what Synology NAS can offer in terms of different things that NAS can do either automatically or with a relative ease:

  • Using NAS as your centralized media streaming service – with Synology’s “Video Station”. It can stream all kinds of media content from your NAS to mobile devices, Apple/Android TV, etc. There’s also subtitles, posters, video sharing, and more.
  • Synology backup software “Drive” allows for seamless file synchronization between a NAS and your different PCs. You can also restore those files afterwards and share files from your “backups” directly from NAS, as well.
  • File sharing from NAS in general is also relatively easy, with both File Links and File Requests available for all of the Synology NAS users.
  • Mobile devices specifically can have both videos and photos being backed up to NAS automatically, using Synology’s “Moments”. Those files can then be grouped based on a number of characteristics by taking the advantage of technology such as AI.

Let’s look at one example of using Bacula as an open source NAS backup software, together with a Synology NAS appliance.The starting setup is a VM that runs CentOS 7 with Bacula File Daemon installed and connected to Bacula Director.

The first step is to mount all of the NFS (Network file system) shares that you want to backup onto this system and double-check that the mount was performed correctly. Next step after that is directly tied to the first one – giving NFS permissions to the IP address of the new server (so that it can both access and mount the share), and it’s critical to give both read and write permissions so that Bacula can do both backup and restore jobs within the system.

Next we’re moving to our open source NAS backup software – Bacula and its interface, creating a File Set for all of the freshly mounted NFS (since we’re using CentOS, both of the screenshots below are from Webmin). The compression level is up to the user but in this example we’ll be using LZO since it shows a good speed and the average compression rate is about 15%. It’s also recommended to save the etc/bacula folder beforehand to avoid any troubles that might result in a corrupted bacula-dir file.

file set creation

Logically, after creating a File Set we have to create a backup job for the new server using the File Set we’ve just created. After that our backup job with NAS would proceed according to the schedule.

backup job creation

This concludes our backup creation process with Bacula and Synology. As you can see, while this process is a bit longer than just everything working from the get-go, it’s still a relatively easy process that comes down to three main steps and literal minutes of work. And the various advantages of Bacula as one of the best free NAS backup software solutions make this process even easier.

If you’re also interested in Oracle Backup, check out Bacula’s solution.

About the author

Rob Morrison

Rob Morrison started his IT career with Silicon Graphics in Switzerland, which developed into a wide variety of IT management roles for almost 10 years. He has subsequently held various management positions in professional open source companies such as JBoss, Red Hat and Pentaho, contributing to the growth of these well-known companies. He is a graduate of Plymouth University and holds an Digital Media and Communications BSc Honours degree, and completed an Overseas Studies Program.