Synology Active Backup for Server


Synology’s Active Backup for Server is a package specially designed to centralize data backups for Windows and Linux servers. It support backup modes like multi-version, mirroring and incremental. The source servers need not install additional backup agents as it uses SMB or rsync to perform the backups. Active Backup for Server is available on DSM 6.0 – 7185 and above versions. I was looking for a remote backup solution for my Amazon Lightsail virtual private server and Active Backup for Server seems to be up for the task.


A little background into Amazon Lightsail

Amazon Lightsail offers an easy-to-use platform to launch and manage virtual private servers (VPS). Both Windows and Linux VPS are available. In the backup department, Amazon Lightsail allows me to do a snapshot of the instance.

Being a VPS, I have (almost) full administrative control, including remote shell access. With remote shell access, I can probably do an off-site backup of the VPS’s data to my Synology DS3018xs or DS1817+ using Synology Active Backup for Server.


What is required to backup a Linux server?

There are some basic prerequisites before you can backup a Linux server using Synology Active Backup for Server. Most-if-not-all Linux server would have all these in their basic offerings.

As it is using rsync as the data synchronization and backup tool, your server will need to support one of the following connection modes:

  1. rsync module. Essentially the rsync daemon running on the server to be backed up. This mode does not support transport encryption.
  2. rsync shell mode over SSH. Basically running the rsync command in a shell window between two folders (and sub-folders). The SSH would provide transport encryption.
  3. rsync module mode over SSH. This seems to tunnel the connection to the rsync daemon over SSH. The SSH would provide transport encryption.

Other than the connection mode, the server need to support at least one of the following authentication modes:

  1. Password. This is required for rsync module and SSH access (if you are using it).
  2. SSH key. It also support SSH authentication via SSH key. However, you cannot use a passphrase protected SSH key.

Got all the prerequisites settled? It is time to explore Synology Active Backup for Server.



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2 thoughts on “Synology Active Backup for Server

  • January 7, 2018 at 7:23 am

    Permissions…It’s always about permissions. Having issues with any file being backed up because of permissions, yet I don’t know how to fix it / what to do…

  • January 8, 2018 at 7:53 am

    Yes, file permissions is often an issue with backups. It seems to preserve the RWE permission but unsure about the owner and group.

    At least I have a copy of the files’ data on my NAS now. Doing a seamless recovery is another issue to be tackled.

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