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

Les Mikesell lesmikesell at gmail.com
Thu Jan 28 13:49:00 UTC 2010

Rudi Ahlers wrote:
> Hi, 
> 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 channels) 
> 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 security. 
> 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 & 
> insecure. 
> 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?

Anytime someone mentions backups, I have a knee-jerk reaction to mention 
backuppc because it is simple and will likely do anything you need.  Docs are 
here: http://backuppc.sourceforge.net/ It is packaged in epel.  It can use rsync 
  (with/without ssh), smb, or tar for the backup transport.  Generally for 
anything remote, you'll want rsync, and you'll want it badly enough to set it up 
even on windows targets - which is not all that difficult.

   Les Mikesell
    lesmikesell at gmail.com

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