Macrium Site Manager now has Image Guardian?


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lovelyjubbly
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Just noticed MIG has been added to Site Manager.

What does this mean for Network Drives like the Synology NAS I use?

Cheers, Martin

Alex
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lovelyjubbly - 15 October 2020 2:59 AM
Just noticed MIG has been added to Site Manager.

What does this mean for Network Drives like the Synology NAS I use?

Cheers, Martin

Hi Martin,

Site Manager can protect any local drives used as Repositories - it won't be able to protect shares on other machines or NAS devices. We've included it in Site Manager because we have a significant number of users who have Site Manager installed on a machine that's also used as a backup repository.
There is a way to protect NAS-based repositories - if you configure your NAS to expose an iSCSI target and mount that in the Windows iSCSI initiator of the Site Manager server, it will appear as a disk in disk management and can be protected by MIG.
We've tested this against Synology NAS hardware, but it should work with any iSCSI target.

There's a short guide to setting this up in this KnowledgeBase article

Kind regards,
Alex,
Macrium Development.

jphughan
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@Alex That's a great indirect way to achieve Image Guardian protection for NAS-hosted backups!  Might I suggest making that KB article available in the standard Reflect documentation rather than just in Site Manager, given that I would expect this solution to be usable for regular Reflect installations as well?

Alex
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jphughan - 15 October 2020 4:12 PM
@Alex That's a great indirect way to achieve Image Guardian protection for NAS-hosted backups!  Might I suggest making that KB article available in the standard Reflect documentation rather than just in Site Manager, given that I would expect this solution to be usable for regular Reflect installations as well?

That's a good idea - I will pass that along. I believe the Reflect KB needs to be updated to document the new 'Volumes' tab of the MIG configuration tool, so it should be something we can add when that happens. 

We did also consider the same MIG protection manoeuvre with a mounted VHDX file on a NAS share instead of using iSCSI, but in that scenario, there's no way to stop ransomware on the Site Manager server from encrypting the VHDX file directly.
We're definitely open to any more suggestions on ways to configure indirect MIG support for Site Manager or Reflect if anyone comes up with some!

Kind regards,
Alex,
Macrium Development.

lovelyjubbly
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Thanks for the replies, I got an email from Macrium this morning which got me to the same KB Smile

I've never dealt with iSCSI on a Synology before.

Why was it chosen over say just protecting a mounted drive in Windows?

ie Map Network Drive.

https://www.synology.com/helpfile/help/DSM/5.2/dsm/enu/Tutorial/store_with_windows.html




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lovelyjubbly - 15 October 2020 8:36 PM
Thanks for the replies, I got an email from Macrium this morning which got me to the same KB Smile

I've never dealt with iSCSI on a Synology before.

Why was it chosen over say just protecting a mounted drive in Windows?

ie Map Network Drive.

https://www.synology.com/helpfile/help/DSM/5.2/dsm/enu/Tutorial/store_with_windows.html




Because it seems that whatever mechanism Image Guardian leverages is only usable for local NTFS volumes, and mounted network shares are neither local nor are they treated as an NTFS volume from the standpoint of the remotely connected client, even if they're hosted on NTFS volumes on the server side (which they wouldn't be on a Synology device).  By comparison, iSCSI exposes raw LUNs to the remotely connected client so that even though the storage is remotely hosted, the LUNs appear to the client as local disks on the client's system.  So whereas traditional NAS-hosted storage that's mounted as a remote share uses file-level access, iSCSI storage is block-level access.  If you want to learn more, reading up on NAS vs. SAN might be of interest to you, since iSCSI is a type of SAN technology.  There are pros and cons to each approach depending on your priorities, constraints, etc.  One major distinction here is that whereas a traditional NAS share can be mounted by multiple clients simultaneously, iSCSI SAN storage is typically exposed only to a specific remote client, unless the remote clients that are connecting to and sharing the LUN(s) are configured as a cluster.

Edited 15 October 2020 9:15 PM by jphughan
lovelyjubbly
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Thanks jphugan,

"One major distinction here is that whereas a traditional NAS share can be mounted by multiple clients simultaneously, iSCSI SAN storage is typically exposed only to a specific remote client, unless the remote clients that are connecting to and sharing the LUN(s) are configured as a cluster."

This could be a problem.
At the moment I backup all computers to their own folders on a Synology.
Macrium is the only software that has write access to these folders which is password protected.

Everyone else has Read-Only access to their backups so they can recover a file in their backup.

It sounds like I would lose this Read-Only access?

jphughan
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You wouldn't lose functionality, but you will have to shift things around.  If you were to use the iSCSI solution, whichever system was connecting to the iSCSI LUN exposed by your NAS would essentially become a file server for the purposes of your setup.  So after you connected one of your systems to that LUN, on that system you would set up file sharing on the LUN, since again the LUN is treated as a local disk for that system.  And then on your other computers, instead of having them back up directly to the NAS, you would instead configure them to back up to the file share you'll now be hosting off that LUN.  So essentially, the system that has the LUN connection becomes a NAS from the perspective of all other computers on the network.  And then you can set up the desired read and write permissions for various accounts on that system.

Note that this architecture means that instead of backup traffic going straight from the source system to the NAS, it will go from source system to this LUN-connected system, and from there to the NAS.  So you'll want a fast and stable connection both from the source systems to the LUN-connected system and of course from the LUN-connected system to the NAS.  This architecture also means that in order for your other systems to access their backups, the LUN-connected system has to be up.  You will NOT be able to connect straight to the NAS to access the contents of the LUN.

The best way to think of it is that an iSCSI LUN is equivalent to connecting a USB hard drive to a system, in that in both cases, that system now sees a local disk -- except that instead of a USB cable, the system connects to this storage over a network cable.  But iSCSI is not "traditional" network storage, which is why the USB paradigm is better here.  If you imagine an iSCSI LUN solution as having a system on your network that has a USB hard drive attached to it and storing all of your other systems' backups on that, then I think a lot of the ramifications and necessary setup will become clear.

Edited 15 October 2020 9:59 PM by jphughan
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One additional thought here.  If you'll be making Reflect backups of the LUN-connected system, you'll want to consider where to store those backups.  If you store them on the LUN-based disk, then if you ever need to restore that system, you'll need to set up an iSCSI connection within the Rescue Media environment to access that storage in order to see that system's backups.  That is possible, and Macrium has a KB article for it somewhere, but it is extra work, and you also have to explicitly choose the option in Rescue Media Builder to include the iSCSI components, which are are not included by default.  The alternative would be to store backups of the LUN-connected system directly on the NAS in the "normal" way.  That means you won't have to do anything special in Rescue Media other than connect to the NAS file share as you already do today, but that setup means you don't get the benefit of Image Guardian protection for the backups of that LUN-connected system.

lovelyjubbly
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Thanks jphughan,

That makes it very clear Smile

I'll give it a miss, all too complicated for me.

I'll stick with my existing system.

Cheers, Martin

GO

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