Thursday, March 3, 2011

A disk-based backup solution: Bacula, ReadyNAS NV+

I decided to set up a new backup system. I don't like tapes, so I started looking at disk-based backups. I also settled on Bacula for handling the backups. I found I could buy a ReadyNAS NV+ for $380, then 2TB disks for $125... allowing for a cold spare, that means $625 for disks... total cost for one storage unit, about $1000 for 5.4TB of RAID-backed, hot-swappable storage. That's outstanding value!

Better yet, I discovered that some helpful people had compiled and packaged Bacula for the Sparc ReadyNAS units (of which the NV+ is one) so all I need do is install it. Then I can run the Director on my basic HP server, the Storage Daemon on the ReadyNAS, and the File Daemon on the clients to be backed up.

I also figured we'd get better redundancy by using a pair of ReadyNAS units, and writing alternate weeks' backups to each.. so weeks 1 3 and 5 go to nas-1, and weeks 2 and 4 go to nas-2.

After trying 3 different web UIs for controlling the backups, I settled on bweb, which seems to work pretty well (only a few broken bits).

I'm still part-way through the final implementation, but when I get the config all sorted out, I'll post a follow-up. So far, I have one of the ReadyNAS units running the Storage Daemon, and I've got my desktop computer backing up to it as I type. W00T!

At this stage, we're doing simple backups of user's network drives on a range of servers situated at 6 sites, to a central facility. If this scheme works out well, we may look at adding more storage, and expanding into doing bare-metal restore support for critical machines... could be exciting stuff ahead!


  1. Did you continue with this? Did the fact that the bacula version that is available for ReadyNAS is only version 3 (now unsupported) cause any issues for you?

    1. Hi Lokke, yes, the project is complete, and now in production. In fact, I used it to recover a server that suffered a total hardware failure this week.

      The bacula version for ReadyNAS definitely was an issue. I found the hard way that you shouldn't mix versions:

      I then tried to cross-compile the sparc binaries, with no luck.

      I ended up installing the build toolchain on one of the ReadyNAS units, and compiling my own 5.0.1 binaries:

      Would you like a copy of the binaries I compiled?

      I've also recently set up a Sun Ultra 10 running Debian Linux (the ReadyNAS is based on Debian) so I'm going to try using that as a build host for a native Sparc compile.

  2. I just put version 3.0.3 of Bacula on my ReadyNAS nv+ v1. All I am trying to do is get a backup of my ubuntu laptop to I can blow it away. I have been stumbling through documentation, but I was wondering if you did a full write up on how to get bacula fully working on the nv+ and if there is a little guidance on setting it up and getting the clients to play correctly. Any pointers would be greatly appreciated!