Data Protection on Qnap

Qnap is an extremely versatile NAS box that offers many layers of Protection for your Data. Lets have a quick look at all the options you have

Name Protection against Remarks
RAID Protection Offers Protection against Hard drive failure ( On site Data) Only Hardware protection. If file is deleted, or changed, RAID can’t help you restore it to a previous state
Volume Snapshot Offers Protection against file changes ( On site Data) Most Effective against Ransomware attacks.
Remote Replication Offers Extra Layer of protection by keeping a copy of the data offsite on a server owned by you. ( Offsite Data) Compression and Encryption are supported while copying the data offsite
Public Cloud Offers Extra Layer of protection by keeping a copy of data on public cloud ( Offsite Data) Major Public Clouds are supported
RDX Tape Backup/ External Hard drive Backup Offers Extra layer of protection by copying data on a Removable tape/ removable hard drive that can be stored offsite Needs Purchase of an RDX Dock and the tape, or an external hard drive

Lets look at all these one by one.


Raid offers protection from Hard drive failure only. If you are running on Raid 5 for example , you have the tolerance to 1 hard drive failure. If you are running on RAID 6, then your have 2 hard drive failure tolerance.  In case of a hard drive failure on a system protected by RAID , you don’t lose any data.  Simply replace the failed hard drive, and the NAS rebuilds the RAID for you ( in the background) so you get the failure tolerance back.
RAID however protects you ONLY against hard drive failure. What about accidental deletion of file , or if a file is overwritten and you want to get the previous version back ?  That’s where the Volume Snapshot comes in.

Volume Snapshot

Much like windows system restore,  Snapshots works by recording the state of the system at any time. The storage overhead of the snapshot is the difference between the current state and the previous state. snapshot happens at the block level, so the blocks that have changed are not marked for deletion, but linked to a previous state of the file.
Snapshots can be scheduled, so they are taken at regular intervals and you can define how many days snapshots to be kept , after which the systems starts to delete the older snapshots.
Volume Snapshots are the best way to Protect yourself against the Ransomware attacks, as you can restore your data to a previous state after the attack.

Remote Replication

Remote replication let you copy your data to a remote server. There are a few options to do it.
  • RTRR – Works if the other NAS also is Qnap. You can set a one way sync between the 2 Qnaps.
  • Rsync – Rsync is a remote data replication protocol found on Unix like systems. If your other NAS runs on Linux, or you have a Linux server, you can use Rsync to push data from Qnap to your server
  • NAS to NAS – Again this works if the other NAS is also Qnap.
  • FTP and Samba/CIFS Share are also supported in the new hybrid Backup Sync

Public Cloud Integration

Qnap provides apps to connect to popular public clouds like Amazon, Azure, Elephantdirve and dropbox. You can keep a copy of your critical data on the public cloud to offer an additional layer of protection.  All the Major Public Clouds are supported and there are apps for many more in Appstore for download.

Connect an RDX or External Hard drive to USB

Qnap has a USB port , through which you can connect an external storage. Once you do so, the external storage is mounted automatically and you can copy data to and from the USB device. RDX Docks and RDX tapes make reliable and robust offsite data solutions where you can copy your essential data on a removable RDX cartridge that looks like a tape. This tape can be stored offsite .

Image Backup Needs a Third party software

Qnap offers a file based backup utility called NetBak Replicator for free. However this utility can only take file backup and doesn’t support System Image backup. For System Image backup you would need to buy any third part application.
Qnap has also announced a Hybrid backup sync application on the NAS that offers a single interface for Backup, Restore and Sync. It provides an interface to the applications which otherwise had to be accessed individually. Now there is a single screen on which you can create an RTRR Job, or a copy to Azure job, or a sync to Dropbox.

Ideal Backup is Multi Layer

So, the best strategy to protecting data comes to be a mix of all above . The 3 layers of protection that you MUST HAVE are
  1. RAID is a must.
    Go with Raid 6 for 4-8 bays and Raid 5/RAID 1 for Less than 4 bays. Hard drives are prone to failure and RAID protects you against such failures.
  2. Schedule Snapshot
    Snapshot is the only way to protect yourself against Accidental File Deletions, file changes and ransomware.
  3. Replicate offsite : 
    One copy must be replicated offsite. You can do it either on another Server you own, or on a public cloud, or on an RDX Tape. Offsite backup protects you against any disaster that wipes the data on the site.