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Asigra backup guide?

danb35

FreeNAS Wizard
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#1
It seems that iX is really pimping the Asigra plugin (blog post), but I haven't seen a comprehensive guide anywhere on how to go from "basic FreeNAS system" to "Asigra installed, running, and backing up your data". Is there one that I'm missing?

From what I can see so far, the process looks like:
  • Install the plugin
  • Add storage to the plugin (where? Or does it matter?)
  • Register the plugin, requiring use of a company name, full address and phone, and a static IP. Note that, although iX makes a big point of being able to back up 10 devices for free, they somehow forget to mention that you can only use 1 TB of backup space, no matter how much space you have available on your FreeNAS box. I'm sure this is pure oversight and not a deliberate omission.
  • Once you register, you'll need to confirm your email address. Once you confirm it, you'll get an email with instructions on how to download the Asigra client software, a 2.1-GB ISO that will need to be installed in a separate VM or physical server.
  • Launch the management console, a Java Web Start thing called DS-Operator. Make whatever security exceptions, etc. are necessary to let it run.
  • In the DS-Operator, go to Setup -> Initialization, click Add next to Additional DS-Systems, enter your jail's IP address, check Use UDP, and click OK. Then in the left-hand panel, click Refresh
  • Check the box next to the "asigra" entry in the left-hand panel. Login as root/root. The root user can't do anything but manage user capabilities capabilities. Click "Add" at the bottom of this window.
  • Enter a user name, and check all the roles (you might not need all of them--not sure at this point). Click OK, then close the users window.
  • Go to the shell in the jail and run adduser. Add a user with the same username as you entered above, and set your desired password for that user.
  • Back in DS-Operator, uncheck "asigra" in the left-hand panel, and check it again. It will ask you to log in again, use the username and password you set above.
  • It will now complain that you don't have a license. Go to Setup -> License Server and enter the server name in your "registration is complete" email (mine said to use license.asigra.com), then click OK. You'll get a dialog box saying to disconnect and reconnect again, click OK on that too.
  • Once again, uncheck and recheck "asigra" in the left-hand panel, and log in again.
I think this gets the server plugin set up. Now for the client.
  • Install CentOS 7 including a GUI--AFAICT, the DS-client needs an apparently-local GUI; it doesn't use a web GUI. I'm sure you could use a different Linux distro though, but it doesn't appear the DS-client runs on FreeBSD (though it does on Windows if you have a Windows box to use). You'll probably want to set up a VNC server or other screen-sharing system as well. It calls for 4 GB of RAM as a minimum.
  • For CentOS, you'll also need to install boost-regex, boost-filesystem, boost-program-options, xerces-c, xmlrpc-c-c++, and xmlrpc-c-apps.
  • Mount the ISO you downloaded above to the machine and change to its mountpoint.
  • Run (as root) ./setup_lin.sh
  • Choose your language, choose to install DS-Client, run through the installer.
  • work in progress...
I'm really getting the idea that this product is intended for very large-scale deployment--put differently, any installation that would fall within the free license really doesn't have any business using this product. There seems to be a great deal of manual configuration required, it isn't in the least intuitive, and I haven't yet been able to find straightforward documentation. Maybe I'm missing something, but it doesn't look like something that's intended for home or small-scale use.
 
Last edited:

jro

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#3
We're working on putting together some more comprehensive installation and deployment resources for the plugin. In the short-term, that blog post you linked is getting a minor update with some more detailed instructions on the Asigra setup side. Longer-term, we're going to work with Asigra to get some end-to-end guides written. Until that time, the post you've taken the time to write up is far more detailed than anything we've put together, so thank you for doing that! :)

I wasn't aware of the 1TB limit for the trail. This does seem more restrictive than the 10 client limit and I agree that it should have been mentioned in the post. I'm looking into this and will get back to you.

You're correct that Asigra's product is often deployed to back up very large petabyte-scale enterprise infrastructure. As you mentioned, products like these aren't typically as intuitive as those created for home and SOHO users. That being said, I do think that some home users will find this solution useful, especially if they have lots of machines they want to back up (and they have to patience to learn the admittedly cumbersome management interfaces). FreeNAS is also commonly deployed in enterprise infrastructure and these users can certainly find an application for the plugin.

I'm hoping that as Asigra gets some more small-scale users, they'll get some of the enterprise-y quirks ironed out of their platform. I know they've got some new web UIs for some of their management consoles but I don't know how you'd go about setting those up. The guides linked in the blog post might have more information. In any case, I certainly appreciate the feedback on the plugin and I'll make sure the rest of the team knows about your feelings.
 
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#4
Your guide seems very complete but I can't get past your 5th step - 'Launch the management console'. I'm a FreeNAS newbie and I'm trying to use the Asigra plugin for FreeNAS (v11.2-5). I followed the instructions at https://www.ixsystems.com/blog/asigra-plugin/ up to the point where it says click on Management. Then a new browser window opens with "404 Not Found / nginx/1.16.0" showing. The URL shows as http://192.168.15.27/asigra/DSOP.jnlp. I can ping 192.168.15.27 and a request for http://192.168.15.27/ shows 'Launch Asigra DS-Operator' as a link to the http://192.168.15.27/asigra/DSOP.jnlp. What did I miss?
 
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#5
A great write up. Enough to tell me Asigra is more pain than I want to go through. My Asigra installation has been deleted.
 

danb35

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#6
I wasn't aware of the 1TB limit for the trail. This does seem more restrictive than the 10 client limit and I agree that it should have been mentioned in the post. I'm looking into this and will get back to you.
So it's been a month, but no update to the blog post that I can see.
 

jro

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#7
So it's been a month, but no update to the blog post that I can see.
Sorry, that's my fault. We got the update written a couple weeks ago but it was never published. The added text will read:

The Asigra platform relies on two primary components: the DS-System (hosted by the FreeNAS plugin) and the DS-Client (which can be hosted in some other Windows- or Linux-based environment). The DS-Client will fetch data from local endpoints and transmit that backup data to the DS-System on the FreeNAS. The DS-Client can also hold backup data on its own local storage, but this local backup is limited to 1TB in the community edition of the plugin. By connecting the DS-Client to the DS-System, the backup set size is unlimited. The Asigra DS-System setup guides below go into more detail on how to properly connect the two services.
 

danb35

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#8
The DS-Client can also hold backup data on its own local storage, but this local backup is limited to 1TB in the community edition of the plugin. By connecting the DS-Client to the DS-System, the backup set size is unlimited.
Ah, that's big news. Thanks.
The Asigra DS-System setup guides below go into more detail on how to properly connect the two services.
...and when they're available, that will be bigger news--any ETA?
 

jro

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#9
The official docs from Asigra are available now:
  • DS-Operator User Guide: This guide describes how to manage the DS-System running in the FreeNAS plugin using the DS-Operator interface (accessed through the Management link on the plugin listing).
  • DS-Client Installation Guide: This guide describes how to install the DS-Client software which aggregates backup content from endpoints and transmits it to the DS-System service.
  • DS-Client Management Guide: This guide describes how to manage the DS-Client after it has been successfully installed at one or more locations.
...but they're like 900 pages each and targeted more towards enterprise deployments. I know we've got plans to consolidate the information into a FreeNAS/TrueNAS deployment guide but I don't have an ETA on that yet. We'll make an announcement when we've got something and I'll add a link in the resources section of the Forums. In the meantime, as I said before, the guide in your OP is a really good start, so thank you for that!
 

danb35

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#10
The official docs from Asigra are available now:
After I posted, I realized that's probably what was being addressed--but as you recognize, they aren't all that helpful to someone in my shoes, a home or small office installation. I'm sure the information is there, but there's a ton of other information making it hard to find. I'll see if I can spend some more time with those docs and figure out the rest of the steps, but it'd really be good to see it from you guys (or directly from Asigra)--I know that what I've done above "works", in the sense that it seems to run as far as I've gone, but I don't have any idea of whether it's a recommended way to go.

...and really, it would be ideal if you could simplify the DS-Client installation--ideally as a jail (if you could make the binary run under FreeBSD, then include a basic X setup and a noVNC or similar arrangement to give browser access to its GUI), or if that isn't possible, as a VM appliance (I'm personally not a fan of FreeNAS as a hypervisor, but it certainly has that capability). Because the amount of manual configuration currently required, IMO, kind of defeats the purpose of a plug-in.
 
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