[CentOS] NFS vs SMb vs iSCSI for remote backup mounts

Rudi Ahlers Rudi at SoftDux.com
Thu Jan 28 11:28:10 UTC 2010


I would like to get some input from people who have used these options for
mounting a remote server to a local server. Basically, I need to replicate /
backup data from one server to another, but over the internet (i.e. insecure

Currently we have been mounting an SMB share over SSH, but it's got it's own
set of problems. And I don't know if this is optimal, or if I could setup
something better. We don't have much control over the remote server, so I
couldn't setup a VPN, or iSCSI or anything else. My options was FTP & SMB.

But I want to move the backups in-house, to save bandwidth and have more
control over what we do.

So, with a new CentOS server & 2x1TB HDD's in RAID1 configuration, I can do
pretty much whatever I want. The backup server(s) will serve backups for
multiple servers, in different data centers (possible in different counties
as well, I still need to think about this), so my biggest concern is

We mainly use cPanel & DotNetPanel (Windows ServerS) , but also WebMin &
VirtualMin, so I need to stick with their native backup procedures and don't
really want to use a too technical backup system.

The end users need access to the data 24/7, so having the remote share
permanently mounted seems to be the best for this, then our support staff
don't need to SSH into the servers and download the backups. With the mount,
I can also use rsync backups, so an end user could restore only a single
file if need be.

NOW, the question is: Which protocol would be best for this? I can only
think of SMB, NFS & iSCSI
The SMB mounts have worked well so far, but it's not as safe, and once the
SMB share is mounted, I can't unmount it until the server reboots. This
isn't necessarily a bad thing, but sometime the backup script will mount the
share again (I think this is a bug in cPanel) and we end up with 4 or 5 open
connection to the remote server.

NFS - last time I looked at it was on V3, which was IMO rather slow &

iSCSI - this doesn't allow for more than one connect to the same share.
Sometimes I user might want to download a backup directly from the backup
server via FTP / SSH / a web interface, which I don't think will work. We
also sometimes need to restore a backup on a different server (if for
example the HDD on the initial server is too full), so this isn't possible.

The remote shares also need to be mounted inside XEN domU's, or directly on
CentOS / Windows servers.

what would be my best option for this?

Kind Regards
Rudi Ahlers

Website: http://www.SoftDux.com
Technical Blog: http://Blog.SoftDux.com
Office: 087 805 9573
Cell: 082 554 7532
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