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markpaterson

Backup Idea: BTSync + FreeNAS + ZFS

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I have 2 Macs in my house that need a good backup strategy. Time Machine is ok but after a while it always stops working for one reason or another and I have to erase the Time Machine drives and start over. Lame. Plus I've heard problems persists with Time Machine on a NAS drive.

I'm thinking about building a FreeNAS system, mainly for the wonderful ZFS snapshot feature. I'll have BTSync installed on the FreeNAS, as well as on the Macs of course.

I'll have both Mac home folders synced to folders on the FreeNAS ZFS filesystem. (Also, i'll be sharing some larger media files from the FreeNAS back to the Macs over AFP that wont be part of the BTSync).

So, the FreeNAS will have a constant 1:1 backup of all my files on the Macs, plus a way of rolling back to earlier / deleted files via ZFS snapshots.

This sounds like a great setup. Maybe too good to be true? Are they any pitfalls I might run into?

Also, does ZFS play nicely with BTSync and vice versa? I've seen a thread about how Zevo, the Mac version of ZFS, causes Mac BTSync to hang. I'm wondering if this is mac specific, or if the same issue exists on the FreeNAS version of BTSync.

Advice? Thoughts?

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Hi there,

I have btsync running on my FreeBSD server with shares located on ZFS and have experienced no problems so far. If you want to make a full backup, make sure the share on the FreeNAS server is read-only or that btsync is not running if you rollback a snapshot to circumvent problems with syncing. A better option would be clones of snapshots, which you could access without destroying the current btsync share and then replace files as needed.

Off topic:

I am still running time machine backups as they give me a simple interface to retrieve historical files if needed. This is missing in BTsync so far and I am not sure there will ever be something similar to what you would get with the tight integration of the Time Machine UI. I have had problems with my Time Machine Backups in the past and had the infamous corrupted backup message coming up. Snapshots with ZFS have made my Time Machine Backup impervious against this, as I create hourly, daily, weekly, etc snapshots of my Time Machine image file and can just rollback in case OS X thinks it is corrupt again.

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