Nakivo Backup Replication architecture and installation on TrueNAS – Part 1

Backup and Replication software have received strong mandates in organizations with enterprise mindsets and vision. But lower down the rung, small medium organizations are less invested in backup and replication software. These organizations know full well that they must backup, replicate and protect their servers, physical and virtual, and also new workloads in the clouds, given the threat of security breaches and ransomware is looming larger and larger all the time. But many are often put off by the cost of implementing and deploying a Backup and Replication software.

So I explored one of the lesser known backup and recovery software called Nakivo® Backup and Replication (NBR) and took the opportunity to build a backup and replication appliance in my homelab with TrueNAS®. My objective was to create a cost effective option for small medium organizations to enjoy enterprise-grade protection and recovery without the hefty price tag.

This blog, Part 1, writes about the architecture overview of Nakivo® and the installation of the NBR software in TrueNAS® to bake in and create the concept of a backup and replication appliance. Part 2, in a future blog post, will cover the administrative and operations usage of NBR.

Architecture

Even though I have worked on enterprise backup and replication software in the past 25 years with the likes of Commvault®, Veritas® NetBackup, Legato® Networker and Bakbone®, Nakivo® was new to me. The natural thing was to learn about its architecture and to learn how its backup and replication design fit into the common architecture moulds of these other well known (both Bakbone® and Legato® are now defunct and part of something else) software.

There are 3 main components in its architecture and these are shown in a diagram I read from Nakivo® Help Center.

  • Director – The main catalog, central management and components databases
  • Transporter(s) – The data mover(s) which works on the delivery of the data from source(s) to target(s). The transporter(s) is responsible for doing the backups, the restores, the replications as well as data encryption and data optimization for the operations.
  • Backup Repositories – The storage targets associated to one Transporter in the scheme of things. Multiple backup repositories can be linked to a Transporter service and there can be multiple of transporters for scaling the NBR.

Nakivo network architecture

Installation

This NBR installation is uniquely for TrueNAS® CORE and TrueNAS® Enterprise. The installation deploys NBR inside  TrueNAS® jails and runs through a VNET (virtual network) interface in jails as a TrueNAS® plugin. Some knowledget

The installation is via an SSH command line in the NBR jails.

# wget https://github.com/NAKIVO/iocage-plugin-nbr/raw/master/nbr.json

This downloads the nbr.json installation script

# iocage fetch -P nbr.json -n nakivo vnet=”off” ip4=”inherit” ip4_addr=”em1|192.168.1.250/24”

This creates the TrueNAS® jails and configures the vnet interface with em1 using the IPv4 address of 192.168.1.250 and subnet mask of 255.255.255.0 and uses the nbr.jason script to fetch the Nakivo files, and other related packages, extracts and installs them. Below is a screenshot of the iocage command output:

Nakivo iocage installation

This part takes a while (over 30 minutes). Once completed, a new jails called Naviko was created and running at https://192.168.1.250:4443. Port 4443 is the default port after the installation.

Here is a screenshot of the login screen and empty dashboard for the first time which required me to register an account with Nakivo®.

Nakivo first time login screen

Nakivo first page

Nakivo® Supported Platforms

NBR can backup a variety of platforms. Here is a non exhaustive list:

Early impressions

It was a very simple installation process even though many can feel apprehensive working with the 2 command lines I posted here. But the key to this is understanding how these components fit and interact together in the architecture to craft this backup and replication appliance. For me, this is super easy.

The management interface is clean and straightforward but I have yet to create any backup jobs or backup policies with my installation. That will come in Part 2.

Lastly, I found this 2018 brochure. I was surprised that iXsystems™ has a partnership with Nakivo and this tickled my fancy even more. I have been reading good reviews about Nakivo®. Their pricing is fairly attractive and should be friendly to the small medium organizations looking for enterprise level backup and replication software.

TrueNAS and Nakivo Backup Appliance

There you have it – a fairly easy way to craft and spin up a backup and replication appliance with Nakivo® and TrueNAS®.

Note: Nakivo® has its roots in the Ukraine and maintains an R&D center there. Let’s hope the war Russia brought to the Ukraine will end soon. 

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About cfheoh

I am a technology blogger with 30 years of IT experience. I write heavily on technologies related to storage networking and data management because those are my areas of interest and expertise. I introduce technologies with the objectives to get readers to know the facts and use that knowledge to cut through the marketing hypes, FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) and other fancy stuff. Only then, there will be progress. I am involved in SNIA (Storage Networking Industry Association) and between 2013-2015, I was SNIA South Asia & SNIA Malaysia non-voting representation to SNIA Technical Council. I currently employed at iXsystems as their General Manager for Asia Pacific Japan.

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