New hardware is released every few months like clockwork. To this end there is almost a lack of relevancy to hardware specifications anymore, the fight has moved to functionality and user experience.
Synology has focused a lot of effort on their OS, DiskStation Manager (DSM). Over the years, there has been a steady flow of improvements and increase of ecosystem to extend the base functionality.
Synology has been kind enough to provide a DS218+ for review. Instead of the usual hardware focus, DigitalReviews is looking at some specific data protection with Hyper Backup in DSM.
What is Hyper Backup?
Hyper Backup is an optional free package in DSM Package Center. In brief, it helps backup data and LUNs, retains multiple data backup versions to keep your information safe.
For Data Backup tasks, Hyper Backup supports three modes:
- File Server
- Cloud Service
These further breaks down into the following supported backup targets.
- Local folder and USB
- Local folder and USB (single-version)
- Remote NAS device
- Synology C2 cloud backup
- rsync copy (single-version)
- OpenStack Swift
- Amazon Drive
- Google Drive
- IBM SoftLayer
- JD Cloud
- Microsoft Azure
- S3 Storage
- SFR NAS Backup
- hicloud S3
What is Synology C2?
Data protection is an important but broad topic. In this review the focus will be on Hyper Backup, specifically with the Synology C2 cloud backup.
Synology C2 Backup is a backup service on Synology Cloud² (Synology C2) for both enterprise and home users. It is designed to offer the most integrated and cost-effective cloud backup solution for the Synology NAS devices. With data jurisdiction increasingly in the spotlight, it is important to note that the Synology C2 data center is located in Frankfurt, Germany, and is govern by the privacy standards of the EU regulations.
It is a subscription based service linked to your Synology account, there is a 30 days free trial available. The subscription plans are shown in the picture below. Plans are available in 2 tiers – Plan I and Plan II. Common across Plan I are file versioning, AES-256 data encryption, daily backup (only) and restoration from browser. The only difference is the amount of cloud storage available.
The higher Plan II tier features hourly backup, data rotation, client side version control and data deduplication. This tier starts at 1TB and tops out at 99TB.
The Hyper Backup wizard guides you through the process for selecting the data stored on the Synology requiring backup. It then provides a list of applications that are installed via DSM that can be backed up. These include (but not limited to) Note Station, OAuth Service, Photo Station, Synology Application Service, Calendar, MariaDB. The list varies depending on what applications are installed. It is important to note that the applications are stopped during backup for database integrity.
The app permits throttling of bandwidth for backup, backup schedule (naturally), and a backup integrity check schedule.
Life after backup
Backup is one of those things that people pay lip service to, and live in blissful ignorance after their backup is set. In a previous life as a IT disaster recovery consultant, I’d be rich (and then lose it all in the divorce) if I was paid a dollar every time someone told me they have a “disaster recovery plan” and they don’t need any help.
Like insurance policies, you only really know how good it is when you actually need to rely on it. In this situation, a backup is only useful if you can successfully restore your data.
Hyper Backup has a Backup Explorer function. There is a timeline function at the bottom of the dialog box where you can drag it back to the point in time of your backup.
The application permits the following functions:
- Copy to
“Copy to” permits copying of directories and files from the Synology C2 cloud backup location to your local Synology NAS.
“Restore” restores directories and files from the Synology C2 cloud backup location to your local Synology NAS original location.
“Download” permits download of files from the Synology C2 cloud backup location to anywhere.
There are two particular issues I have with the solution, one is more important than the other.
The first issue I have is that unless I have an activated Synology NAS, there is no way of doing a bulk download of files from the Synology C2 cloud.
In disaster recovery terms, if my site is lost, then the only way I can restore large amounts of files quickly is to get another Synology NAS up and running. If I need a number of files for insurance claim purposes, prior to securing a new NAS, then it is a single file download.
The second issue is the inability to schedule data restores. Personally I would love the ability to schedule restores as a basic means of knowing that the loop is closed in the most cursory way. I can always manually do more substantial testing with data restoration.
To get around my first gripe, I could use a scheduler task to compress the key files I always need to begin my recovery process. However Hyper Backup does not give me the ability to execute scripts pre and post backup. Not an insurmountable obstacle but it gets into area where it is less user friendly rapidly.
This review has focused on Synology C2 cloud backup via Hyper Backup. As noted in the article the application caters for many different endpoints and the process is similar. The Hyper Backup app is free to use, the only cost is dependent on the endpoint.
While it is feasible to maintain backups via USB for free, it does not negate the risk of having all your data stored in the same geographical location.
Like most IT processes, the human part of the chain is always the weakest. Even the most robust solution requires a human factor. In this case it is the need to regularly test the restore process. Secondly if data encryption was enforced, the loss of the encryption key will result in total loss of data.
There are some limitations to the current implementation of Hyper Backup, none of it is a deal breaker considering the benefits it offers. It is a no-brainer to go the extra mile and protect your data with minimal effort required.
DigitalReviews would like to thank Synology for their support and patience.