Storage Management

Managing storage starts with making the right choices when you first set up your NAS. If you're using the smikBox service your NAS volumes would be set up for you in pre-delivery, so now you only need to know how to backup and manage your NAS storage.

During pre-delivery  your NAS will be partitioned and then automated backup, sync and snapshot facilities configured.

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After initial configuration of the Physical disks as RAID 1, 5 or 10 the operating system configuration begins, and during this stage you must choose the volumes spread across the LUN's. The choices made here effect a number of facilities such as your backup options, ability or inability to use snapshots as a backup and recovery option (more on this later), ability to effectively use and sync storage to/from services e.g. Dropbox, Amazon S3 and Glacier, Google Drive.

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The way you partition your NAS, and the way you choose to organize folders has a direct impact on backup, synchronization and performance.

The NAS (behind the scenes) sets up all your data in a folder named /share, the share folder is then used to load all the programs, data and folders. When you view folders through a Windows share or File station you see a folder structure that physically resides under /share in the NAS.

 

These folders reside in a Volume. When allocating the available disk space you also decide how many volumes, their name and the proportion of available disk they are allocated, and by completing the pre-delivery questions smikBox has the information needed to decide how the available disk is to be allocated. Imagine getting all your files on your NAS only to discover you have to get it all off, re-partition your volumes and put it back (that's no fun at all).

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It's easy to overlook backup in the flurry to get your new NAS in place and transfer then re-organize your files, but if the days turn into weeks, then months you're putting all that effort and your digital assets at risk. Equipment is more reliable than ever, but there is still theft, natural disaster, flooding, physical damage and a variety of other environmental circumstance you cannot control.

That's why at smikBox we get your backup working from the beginning, so you're protected as your digital assets grow!

Terry MastersChief Technical Officer

To discuss backup we need to discuss these issues:

  • Backup of documents (WP, Spreadsheets, presentations) small files but change frequently
  • Backup of large files that rarely change (e.g. Movies/Music because you store it once and read  many times)
  • Backup and storage of surveillance footage
  • Confidentiality of information
  • Security of information
  • Web content and images
  • Backup of software and database in a way that would allow re-instatement (to last know best state) (NOT a complete re-install)
  • Backup of the computer itself so in case of disaster you can re-instate the entire machine
  • Disaster recovery planning. Hope it never happens to you, but if it does, smikBox has your back!
  • Incremental backup where possible of only what is changed
  • Store some files on separate machine (in case of failure) on your site or separate site
  • Store some files on external cloud services (So we have another copy elsewhere for peace of mind)
  • Sharing files from NAS QSync software (equivalent to Dropbox)
  • Sharing files from Dropbox, Google and other services
  • Some backups make the server unavailable while running (So best schedule at night)
  • Scheduling updating and information gathering services around backup times (e.g. Schedule send of email but VM is doing backup, Google can't find robots.txt when website is down)

TIPS: 

The more information you provide in the pre-delivery forms the better. smikBox has a standardized structure for folders and the services setup, that will alleviate the need for you to understand the technology behind these decisions, and you are encouraged to work with your build buddy during the pre-delivery NAS setup.

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A snapshot is a very different way of managing your storage. It starts by taking a complete copy of the source volume, and then only takes snapshots of the changes made. As a consequence the subsequent snapshots don't take as long, but they also allow you to restore individual files that are at previous point in time, a feature more difficult for conventional backup.

 

 
 

Snapshot manager is useful for maintaining a complete point in time backup of your files, but it also allows you to clone an entire volume on your NAS as a new volume in case you need to use it for testing or examination. When you're finished, just delete the clone, the other users of the original volume are unaffected. You can also replicate your snapshot on another NAS or Unix server providing a means to store your files on a separate machine even in a separate location for extra peace of mind.

Related information

Understanding Snapshot (How does it work)

A snapshot starts by making a full copy and then making incremental copies of only the information that has changed. This allows you to restore any part of your information, just as it was at a point in time. For example, imagine someone accidentally deleted information in a document. A backup will just continue to backup that degraded file assuming it's ok. Snapshots will make copies also, but it retains the copy just prior to that corruption, so you can trace it back and restore that specific file.

Can't I do that with backup you ask, well yes, but a backup is a backup of everything, so it's much larger, slower to restore, and hard to find just one file. With snapshots you're only searching smaller backup snapshots that have changes so restoring your corrupted file is simpler and faster. Furthermore, since snapshots are smaller, you can keep them for longer period of time without using up as much space on your NAS.