Synology DiskStation DS224+ drive trays removed

How to backup a Linux PC to Synology NAS

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Backing up your Linux-powered PC to a Synology network-attached storage (NAS) enclosure is an easy process, depending on which method you choose to follow. This guide will run you through all the steps on setting up Active Backup, using rsync, and the basic drag-and-drop method. You must consider backing up your system to an external location, especially when working with lots of sensitive data.

Why use a Synology NAS to back up data

Drives installed on the Synology DiskStation DS224+ tray
Drives installed on the Synology DiskStation DS224+ tray. (Source: NM)

No one wants to lose data. With the rise of solid-state drives, it has become increasingly rare to encounter drive failure thanks to the lack of any moving parts. That said, even an SSD is not immune to failure, which is where backups come into play. I always recommend backing up your desktop and laptop systems to an external location, be it a standard external drive or a Synology NAS.

How to back up a Linux PC to Synology NAS

Active Backup

Active Backup for Business is a first-party app from Synology that allows one to configure the automation of backups from a variety of systems, Linux PCs included. It’s a great, easy way to ensure everything within the home or office is protected against data loss.

  1. Connect to your Synology NAS.
  2. Open Package Center.
  3. Install Active Backup for Business (if not already installed).
  1. Open Active Backup for Business.
  2. Select Physical Server on the left.
  3. Select the Linux tab.
Active Backup for Business screenshot
Active Backup for Business screenshot. (Source: NM)
  1. Click Add Device.
  2. Download the agent package.
  3. Open Terminal.
  4. Unzip the downloaded package:
    unzip Synology
  5. Run the installer:
    sudo ./install.run
  6. Connect the PC to the NAS:
    sudo abb-cli -c
  7. Enter the following:
    IP address of your server.
    Username of your account.
    The account password.

Your PC will now be connected to the server and you will be able to use Active Backup for Business to ensure your Linux PC is always backed up.

Rsync

Rsync is an easy way to synchronize folders between a Linux PC and Synology NAS using no additional software. This guide assumes you have a Synology NAS administrator account at hand.

  1. Connect to your Synology NAS.
  2. Open Control Panel.
  3. Select File Services on the left.
  4. Click on the resync tab.
  5. Check “Enable rsync service.”
  6. Click Apply.
  7. Open Terminal on your Linux PC.
  8. Enter the following command, replacing <SYNOLOGY -NAS-IP> with the NAS IP and <FOLDER> with the respective directories:
    rsync -av home/ admin@<SYNOLOGY-NAS-IP>::<FOLDER>/<FOLDER>/

The Linux PC and Synology NAS will now synchronize data between the two configured locations, comparing data and moving it across.

Drag-and-drop

Synology File Station and Ubuntu Files
Synology File Station and Ubuntu Files. (Source: NM)

This is the easiest method of backing up your system as it requires no service or app. Simply connect to your Synology NAS, open the desired location within the file manager, load up your local file manager on the Linux system, and drag and drop. It’s that simple (and cumbersome).

  1. Connect to your Synology NAS.
  2. Open File Station.
  3. Navigate to where you wish to store the folders/files.
  4. Drag and drop the folders from your Linux PC.

I only recommend this method if you’re unable to work through setting up Active Backup, using rsync, or simply only having a directory or two to back up (but even then, I’d still recommend automating the process).

Synology DiskStation DS224+

Synology DiskStation DS224+
Synology DiskStation DS224+. (Source: Synology)

If you haven’t bought a Synology NAS yet, I’d recommend the Synology DiskStation DS224+. This has everything you need to start backing up your Linux PC to a safe location, as well as running a media streaming platform, managing security cameras, and more.

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