If you're in a family with a computing need that's changing or you're running a small business where employees and computers come and go, your backup strategy is likely to be a little chaotic. You probably also count on your users to be careful if their data is actually backed up safely. One of my recent experiences, where we realized that a laptop backup of our company was running for a month, motivated me to deepen and set up a centralized backup system so I could easily manage and monitor backups of our computer. In fact, I did it in two different ways, using a NAS-centric approach and another more traditional backup suite, so we could compare them in this article.
How centrally managed backups work
A typical centrally managed backup solution comprises at least three elements. First, there is a backup server, which keeps the database of clients, tasks, and storage locations. In addition, there are one or more console applications. Some systems offer a management console for administrators and another for users, allowing them to perform some self-service operations, such as file recovery. Finally, there must be a type of client software (often called an agent) that can respond to server requests and start backups. With Windows clients, it is often a custom application installed on each client. However, existing system utilities such as rsync can also work as an agent, depending on the product.
In any case, you must create a new account with administrator privileges on each client or provide the credentials of an existing account. Eleven server and client (s) are in place, then the console (which can be an application or just a web interface with the server) can be used to create backup jobs and deploy them to clients, if any. Most packages include predefined templates that can be used as a starting point. For example, if you have multiple laptops with a simple configuration, you can have a template that is limited to a system backup of the operating system and the boot drive.
Back up PCs with Easeus Todo Backup
There are many backup products for Windows PCs, but for this project we were looking for one that would allow us to move from the typical stand-alone entry-level offering to a centrally managed, low-cost business class solution. cost. For our first solution, we chose Easeus Todo Backup Workstation, because the desktop software and the management console are inexpensive, and we already use it autonomously on several machines. For the moment, however, Easeus can only centrally manage Windows client computers. Acronis offers a much wider range of solutions, but at a much higher price for its professional products.
You can start with the management console, which is backup, installation, and deployment, or take a more incremental approach and install Backup Workstation on your client computers and make sure that they work primarily for your satisfaction. When you install the clients, you can create a separate backup from other users of the system. This is useful for creating a unique identifier to use for backup tasks. When you install Backup Center, be sure to also select the option to install the server on the computer of your choice. Unfortunately, Easeus Backup does not support the NAS package for its server, which would be a good option.
After the clients and the Backup Center console are installed, you can use the console to create, customize, and deploy template backup tasks to some or all of your clients. You can even put them in groups. In our case, we have created a simple model for most of our laptops, which only have one System ("C") drive, and a few other models for more complex desktops that also have data drives. . It was simple to create a plan for each model and deploy them. I wish the software provides an easier way to combine full and incremental backup schedules, but you can choose the type of backup you want, the schedules, and the retention strategies.
Backing up your network with Synology Active Backup for Business
If you have a NAS, you may already have access to all the software needed to back up your network. Most NAS vendors bundle at least one backup solution with their hardware and may offer additional options. Synology did something pretty well last year, including its Active Backup for Business (ABB) software in many of its units. It includes the server package, an active client for Windows, a user portal for self-service recovery, and the ability to back up other types of hardware and specialized virtual machines. I'm using ABB with the Windows client and with my Jetson Nano Linux machine with rsync as the agent.
Among the areas in which ABB goes beyond the other backup solutions provided with the network servers, let's mention the possibility of recovery without operating system – as can be expected with a backup package to separate cost. You simply create and start on a recovery drive, and then restore your complete system image. You can also perform the expected backup set on the drive, partition, and files to take fuller control of your system. There are even additional packages for the specific backup of G Suite and Office 365, although I have not used them.
Consider belt and suspenders
In addition to noticing that backups are not working properly, not realizing that they are corrupt is the second biggest problem with backups. While large companies have policies in place to regularly test the integrity and usefulness of their backups, most small businesses and families do not. So in our case, we save all our machines in two different ways, on two different servers.
NAS devices with five bays are very convenient in this regard because shared data can be stored on a three-disk RAID array and backups can be performed in separate, mirrored two-disk arrays. We use Synology DS1517 + as our main data store – since it supports 10 Gbps – and a destination for system backups generated by Active Backup for Business. Then we also need DS1019 + where we can keep a clone of our most important shared data on the first three disks, and our Easeus backups on the other two. Or if you have the ability to keep your data and backups on the first three disks, the other two are ideal for mirrored security snapshot archives. Of course, having two systems locally is not a perfect solution either, so you'll want to have a backup type off-site too.