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A backup drill with Synology Active Backup for Business

As a disclaimer, Synology was gracious in providing a DS1621+ with 10GB PCI adaptor to test out.

For all consumers running a Synology NAS at home with virtual infrastructure or to the business requiring an easy-to-use method to backup to a private cloud (your own datacenter). The Active Backup for Business is a great way to get started with creating some type of Disaster Recovery & protection for systems. For my home lab, I run a VM infrastructure at home on some SuperMicro E300 servers with Ubiquiti gear. Once you install Active Backup for Business on DSM and go through the activation process (this part requires a Synology.com account). There was no issue with registering both of my NAS models under the same account.

  • Synology DS1621+ running DSM 7.0.1-42218
  • Active Backup for Business 2.3.0.-12153
  • VMware vCenter 7.0.3 19480866 (U3d)
  • VMware ESXi 7.0.3 19482537
  • Synology joined to home AD domain
  • Windows 10 & Windows 11
  • Ubiquiti networking gear.

Once Active Backup for Business is installed, from the main launch screen
We want to add a VMware environment by clicking ‘Virtual Machine’

You do have the option to add VMware vSphere or Microsoft Hyper-V, for today we will remain on vSphere & click ‘Manage Hypervsior’

Click ‘Add’ and populate with your vCenter environment, I was able to authenticate with a domain account.

Once connected it should give a Success status and then finally should talk to the vCenter.

Now Active Backup can read all my hosts and the individual VMs running on the hosts at the time. Also during this time, I did do a vMotion, once it completed, I clicked refresh and the screen reflected the change.

From here you can click to highlight a single VM, or hold down ‘Ctrl’ key and use the mouse to select multiple objects and then click ‘Create Task’ **Please note that if you have VM Templates when you select the object, the ‘Create Task’ button will be greyed out.
The next screen will bring up a wizard-like interface, you can create a custom Task Name and then the option to select VM objects. I also noticed that the Template initially discovered does not appear in this list. There is a little ‘i’ icon next to some VMs which gives some insight into VMTools awareness and functionality.

The next screen will be to select a landing location, I will select the default folder that Active Backup created in my ‘Shared Folders’

The next step will be backup destination settings, I will proceed with enabling ‘compression’ but no encryption.
I will leave the defaults, however please share experiences with other options.

The next screen will check to ensure all services are successful on the VMs and click ‘Next’ and then you are presented with an option to ‘Schedule Backup Task’ I will keep Manual.
Depending on your needs and what industry you are in, that industry may have compliances on data retention, Tax Office? Healthcare? Legal? these are just a few of the professionss that should ensure retention and backup is set.

The next screen will be specifying permissions for Restores and finally confirm Task summary.
You are prompted to take a backup, I selected Yes.

Various ways of monitoring activity for backing up

My backup for the 3 VMS took about 38 minutes. This is going over 10GB network, I feel performance can be tuned to be better. My initial backup was showing 280GB in my Shared Folder. I have other things inside the home network I’m working through.

Active Backup did great with deleting snapshots from my VM after backups were completed.

My other thought was, why backup VMs to the same storage array my iSCSI storage is on? Well, that is when Synology’s Snapshot Replication tool came in handy, I created a replication between my backup target NAS over to another Synology NAS (DS 1515+).

Performed a sync between nasstore02 (source) and nasstore01 (destination), Ran a quick Test Failover, and then performed a ‘Switchover’ to make my new destination the ‘active’.

On my new destination NAS (nasstore01) I was able to go to the ‘Storage’ section in Active Backup and Relink a shared folder containing my replicated backups.

Now let’s restore from our new destination of Active Backup, highlighting the desired VM, click ‘Restore’ I followed through the prompts and left all the settings default, and in advance I renamed my original VM so that I can do a full restore.

Monitoring status, I performed a ‘Full Restore’ and by the way, this is coming from a NAS with only 1GB and I have port bonding configured (4 1GB links) with LACP on the switch.
The restore was successful, took about 18 minutes

and my VM was restored back to my vCenter from my other Synology and I was able to log in with preserved IP.

Along with the Active Backup application, there is a web interface to the tool that allows file browsing for restore and downloads, this can be accessed from the Applications menu in DSM.

Overall I’m pleased with the flexibility and feature sets of the DS1616+ and more importantly Synology’s software that was able to work with a slightly older Synology NAS with different network backing.

If there is anything you are curious about or would like to see, please do not hesitate to reach out.

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