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I use Time Machine on my Mac to back up to a WD MyCloud EX2. I'm setting up an Ubuntu machine and would like to set up something similar so everything on the machine is automatically backed up to a RAID 1 system.

Here is what is important to me:

  • Back up to a RAID 1 volume so any 1 drive can fail on the backup server and I'm still ok
  • Able to view history for any file and restore individual files easily
  • Simple to configure - I don't want my backups failing because I messed up some super complicated backup procedure :D

Are there any RAID 1 NAS solutions that work out of the box for Ubuntu?

I've tried to find some existing solutions but none of them seem to be ideal:

  • TimeVault - seems to be unmaintained
  • Cronopete - no check-ins for 3 months, not sure how active it is
  • Back In Time - doesn't seem easy to restore individual files
  • Dela Dup - Seems like a good client but it seems the NAS needs to be configured independently?
  • OwnCloud - Useful interface but it seems I would have to set up a web server on the backup server side?

2 Answers 2

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The standard "Backups" program in Ubuntu will do just fine. It is based on Deja-Dup. It should work with any NAS, since they almost all offer one kind of a networked file system or another (Samba typically, sometimes NFS). I'll start with the assumption of having a NAS that can do Samba.

If you have that, you just point Backups to that share and you're done. (Screenshots are 14.04LTS, because I'm too lazy to boot up my desktop which has 16.04LTS).

Screenshot of Backups, Location selection

Then you fill in the required information.

enter image description here

I have a fileserver (that would be your NAS), which is called tiger. I want to use the share "jorg" on that server. On that share, the backup needs to reside in the folder named "backup-sanddevil". Hence: jorg\backup-sanddevil. Obviously, you need to create this folder on the NAS. The "Domain Name" is the Windows domain, and is usually useless, but do enter it if you know it. On home networks it is often "WORKGROUP".

For testing, go to "Overview" and click backup now. Follow the instructions, and the backup will start.

Once you are satisfied, toggle the switch in the top right corner to activate backups to be done automatically. Explore the settings and adapt to your needs (weekly backups, daily backups, etc...)


Little addendum: The NAS you linked to in your question can be both connected using USB and over Network. I cannot know how you are using it. I assumed it would be on your network, because that's what the "N" stands for in "NAS": "Network Attached Storage".

If you have attached it as USB, it presents itself as nothing more than a USB hard disk. Mac OS X Time machine is easiest to use that way, and so I halfway guess you're using it that way. To backup Mac OS X to Network, you need a "Time Capsule". It might be that this NAS does support that functionality. The specs hint to it. Building a Time Capsule is possible using Linux, and I have done so for my wifes iMac. That, however, goes beyond the scope of your question.


Never mind the addendum. It looks like the USB are for "expansion" only. This is a pure network NAS.

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  • Seriously, that NAS has so many functions, that you can do it whatever way you wish. Use an iSCSI target if that's what you fancy... Or FTP, or SFTP... I think your main problem will be familiarizing yourself with all the functionality your device has. Aug 20, 2016 at 10:00
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Timeshift - Automated Incremental Backups of Your System Made Easy

Timeshift provides functionality similar to the System Restore feature in Windows and the Time Machine tool in Mac OS.

It can be installed from Ubuntu's repos, but Ubuntu may or may not have the latest version. You can install it by either searching for Timeshift in the Ubuntu Software store, or you can type the following in terminal:

sudo apt-get install timeshift

If having the most up to date version matters to you (you can check the release notes of each version and see if they would impact you for better or worse), you can add the developers repo and install Timeshift from there:

sudo add-apt-repository -y ppa:teejee2008/timeshift
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install timeshift

For more specifics on how to configure Timeshift to suit your specific needs, please check out the developer's github page: https://github.com/teejee2008/timeshift

I personally use Deja-Dup for my home folder, like @jawtheshark suggested, and rsync for my system, since Timeshift doesn't currently support ZFS on root (which is what I'm currently running on my system).

If this was helpful, please consider giving this post an up-vote. Thanks!

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