Scott Hanselman

UPDATED 2014: How to setup CrashPlan Cloud Backup on a Synology NAS running DSM 5.0

June 12, '14 Comments [35] Posted in Tools
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My backup planI still have a Synology 1511+ NAS and I still think it's lovely. I recommend Synology NAS's but I recommend ones with an Intel processor as I feel the ARM versions are underpowered. I run Plex on my Synology and while I've had a few small issues, I love it also.

Back in 2012 I wrote a post on How to set up CrashPlan Cloud Backup headless on a Synology NAS - Backup Strategies. If you are running a 4.x version of the Synology DSM software, read that post.

Since then however, Synology has upgraded it's main OS to "DSM 5.0" or greater and Java 7 can run on Synology. I've had some hassle getting my newly upgraded Synology running CrashPlan so here's a new writeup for DSM 5.0+ for 2014.

Remember, any good backup strategy follows the Backup Rule of Three.

  • 3 copies of anything you care about - Two isn't enough if it's important.
  • 2 different formats - Example: Dropbox+DVDs or Hard Drive+Memory Stick or CD+Crash Plan, or more
  • 1 off-site backup - If the house burns down, how will you get your memories back?

Step by Step: How to run CrashPlan on your Synology NAS with DSM 5.0

This gentleman at PCLoadLetter has prepared excellent packages that make it MUCH easier than before to get CrashPlan running on your Synology. However, his instructions assume a some technical ability and also require reading a LOT and visiting several pages within his site. It took me about an hour to really understand what was being said. Here's my simplified version of How To get CrashPlan on your Synology.

1. TURN ON THE "USER HOMES SERVICE" ON YOUR SYNOLOGY

Log in to your Synology from a web browser. Mine is http://server. Go to the Control Panel, then User, then User Home and click "Enable User Home Service." This will give the future "crashplan" user a "place to live."

Enable user home service

2. ADD HTTP://PACKAGES.PCLOADLETTER.CO.UK AS A NEW REPOSITORY IN THE SYNOLOGY PACKAGE MANAGER

On your Synology, from the web browser, go to the Package Center, then Settings, then Package Sources. Add http://packages.pcloadletter.co.uk as a new repository. I named it "PC Load Letter" but it doesn't matter.

image

3. ADD THE JAVA MANAGER

In the Package Manager, type Java, and install the Java Manager.

image

On your main computer (not the Synology) head over to www.oracle.com/technetwork/java/javase/downloads/jdk7-downloads-1880260.html and download a "tar.gz" of Java. Get the right one for your system. I have an Intel x86 so I got the "i586" package.

Today (June 11th, 2014) I downloaded jdk-7u60-linux-i586.tar.gz but yours may have a newer number like "7u61." Now put that Java archive in a folder. Don't lose it.

Back on the Synology, go to the Java Manager and Install Java. From this dialog select the file you've just downloaded. It actually tells you all this on the dialog, too.

image

When you're done, Java Manager will look something like this.

image

4. INSTALL THE CRASHPLAN PACKAGE ON YOUR SYNOLOGY. STOP IT AND RESTART IT.

Staying in the Package Manager, go to Community, and search for Crash. Community is where "Other Sources" feeds into.

image

Once it's installed, wait a minute to two for it to calm down, then stop it, and start it again. It should look like this.

image

Click on View Log to confirm it's running.

image

Your log will have less stuff in it if you haven't configured CrashPlan from a client yet.

Remember this installation is *headless* so you'll need to connect to the Synology from a CrashPlan "client."

5. INSTALL THE CRASHPLAN CLIENT ON ONE OF YOUR MAIN COMPUTERS.

Go download and install the right CrashPlan client for you. After you've installed it, you'll need to POINT the client to your Synology.

You need to edit the "C:\Program Files\CrashPlan\conf\ui.properties" text file and put in the IP address of your Synology. My Synology is called "SERVER" so I opened a command prompt and typed "ping server" and was told its address is 192.168.1.18. I needed to run my notepad as administrator to edit this file.

    • NOTE: This is a Linefeeds only Linux text file so you'll want to use Notepad2 or something OTHER than Notepad so you don't corrupt this file. Make a copy.

Pointing ServiceHost to the right place

6. HOW DO YOU KNOW IT IS WORKING?

Run CrashPlan on your main computer to ensure it's successfully talking to your Synology.

  • You should see your Synology's name on the Settings Dialog
  • You should see CrashPlan Central in your Destinations if you have a CrashPlan subscription
  • You can select your files that exist on the Synology from the CrashPlan application on your main computer. Remember this CrashPlan client talks to the headless service running on your Synology.
  • You will likely have to sign into the CrashPlan client. When I did, even though I'd uninstalled and re-installed CrashPlan, it recognized I'd backed up before and it re-sync'ed over an hour. I didn't have to back everything up again!

The initial backup will likely take a LONG time so be patient - like for days or weeks. I am choosing not to backup super-large files like DVD backups, 60 gig VMs and other things. My #1 concern is family photos and personal files.

image

You can get CrashPlan+ and do one computer, or get CrashPlan+ Family and do up to 10 computers.

If I've made any mistakes here, do let me know in the comments and I'll update the post!

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About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Thursday, June 12, 2014 1:23:51 AM UTC
I have a DS413 and needed to install the "Java SE Embedded 7" package instead of "Java Manager". Once it was installed CrashPlan started up again. Thanks for the post!
Eric
Thursday, June 12, 2014 1:27:50 AM UTC
As always, thanks for your awesome sharing Scott!

Do you think this will be workable on an ARM based synology?
Thursday, June 12, 2014 3:38:39 AM UTC
Why Crash Plan instead of Amazon when
it's so cheap and supported OOTB?
Thursday, June 12, 2014 4:14:14 AM UTC
Great stuff Scott, thanks for the info.

I have a DS1513+ and have been thinking about an online backup plan as well.

Now you mentioned that you can select files that exist on the Synology from the CrashPlan application on your main computer, so does that mean that the Synology itself doesn’t count as an extra computer in the unlimited online backup plans? I'd imagine many folks with a NAS these days would have all the important files backed up in that box instead of individual devices.
Leonardo
Thursday, June 12, 2014 4:25:41 AM UTC
@Kenneth:

Yes, Glacier is a good plan but it's also more expensive if you are storing over 1TB, depending on your region.
Leonardo
Thursday, June 12, 2014 5:00:47 AM UTC
Good stuff here Scott - I just went through this process a few days ago after my previous CrashPlan install (from the DSM 4.x days) was getting a bit wonky. The instructions on PC Load Letter were useful, but your rundown of the steps is a bit easier to grasp quickly.

There are a couple things I think are worth pointing out:

1) If you already have CrashPlan installed "the old way", Step 0 should be "get rid of that." I went through the uninstall using the instructions from PC Load Letter, and it sounds like you did too. It works out well, and adopting your old backups is pretty straightforward and handy. With one exception...

2) If you are using a custom 448-bit encryption key, PERFORM A TEST WEB RESTORE to make sure you use the same key for your new backups. When you reinstall CrashPlan and adopt your previous backups, it will ask for your key before it starts backing up. It DOES NOT CHECK THE KEY to see if it matches what you've used previously. It just gives you a "your stuff may poof" warning, regardless of the key you put in. From there, if you use the same key from your previous install your archives will remain intact. If not, they all disappear.

Sorry for the caps, but it seems pretty easy to accidentally blast your archives and end up with a handful of sadness instead.
AJ Kerrigan
Thursday, June 12, 2014 8:03:05 AM UTC
Glad to see this update, I'm getting a lot of data these days and was looking to move stuff to a Synology later on next month (mainly chosen because it will run crashplan headless, making best use of my existing subscription). This only cements my decision further and confirms for me intel is the way to go.
Krystan Honour
Thursday, June 12, 2014 8:14:41 AM UTC
Scott,

Do you know if using CrashPlan against DMS v5 still suffers the same problem that the previous setup (against DSM v4) had?

Namely, that having CrashPlan/Java running all the time prevents the Synology NAS from correctly hibernating?

Backup all the things
Thursday, June 12, 2014 12:02:06 PM UTC
Scott,

I also have a DS1511+ (which I bought based on your recommendation, and I love it!). I just tried these steps. Unfortunately, when attempting to add the http://packages.pcloadletter.co.uk package source, I am getting an error "Invalid location".

Do you know if that location has changed? I'm unable to get past step 2 :-(
Eric Harmon
Thursday, June 12, 2014 12:04:28 PM UTC
Please ignore my comment. I couldn't figure out how to delete it. Major brain cramp this morning :-(
Eric Harmon
Thursday, June 12, 2014 12:06:59 PM UTC
Scott,
Two questions:

What made you decide to use crash plan over backblaze or any of the like competitors?

And what is your opinion of the newer synology nas like the 1513+ or the 1813+?

tim roche
Thursday, June 12, 2014 12:37:13 PM UTC
Quick question: Which subscription makes sense with this install?

From the sound of it, aren't you backing up your PC to the NAS, and then dumping everything from the NAS to CrashPlan's central location? Wouldn't this mean you just need a single license (Because you're not storing data from your PC directly to CrashPlan)?

Friday, June 13, 2014 4:30:08 AM UTC
Why use synology when someone could get at the same price a fully-fledged linux/windows on intel NUC or cubietruck (linux only)? You cand have not only java there, but mono also; also drivebox, skydrive, gdrive, mega.co.nz client, bt sync etc. etc.
varrus
Friday, June 13, 2014 7:05:09 AM UTC
Hi Scott,

Great post, as allways :)

Just a silly question: why wouldn't single online backup strategy be sufficient?
I have a CrashPlan subscription and one computer which is fully synced there (~100GB of photos/documents). Can you please give me a hint where could this go wrong (CP even remembers deleted files) ?

Only reason I could think of is that we can not 100% trust online provider (CP in this case) to be 100% reliable with our data.

Thanks in advance,
Bojan
Bojan
Friday, June 13, 2014 7:10:45 PM UTC
So if I want to run CrashPlan on the same computer where I've edited "C:\Program Files\CrashPlan\conf\ui.properties", will I need to create 2 copies of "ui.properties" and switch between them? (Assuming I stop and restart the CrashPlan service.) Or will CrashPlan let me see/manage both computers from the one GUI?
B. Goodman
Saturday, June 14, 2014 7:41:59 PM UTC
Having wrestled with setting this up for a few hours now, there are a couple of other things you need to know:


  1. I didn't have a public share on my NAS, and it wasn't made clear until the CrashPlan package failed to install that such a share is required.

  2. I had Java SE 8 installed, and when I installed the CrashPlan client it wouldn't run. No explanation, and its error log was empty. I e v e n t u a l l y found that it doesn't run on Java SE 8. I had to uninstall this and downgrade to Java SE 7.
    [Don't install Java SE 7 from the Java Embedded archive because there's currently a fault with the download link on that page. Instead, get it from this download page.]


  3. During installation, CrashPlan creates a new user called crashplan. You must then grant access for this user to your public share. If you've set the options on your public share to be accessible by all users then you won't have to do this step, but in my case I created the public share just for CrashPlan so I had prevented all users other than Admin from accessing this, and it won't show up as a network drive. Therefore, I had to grant the user crashplan access to this share.



Also Scott, you can add the CrashPlan client to your list of applications sans high-DPI support.

All in all, not a great experience, and I still don't have it fully up and running yet, but it would have been so much more frustrating without this walk-through.
Sunday, June 15, 2014 7:24:52 PM UTC
*I had to manually give CrashPlan "read" access to all the folders I wanted to back up.


B. Goodman
Monday, June 16, 2014 1:21:36 AM UTC
Scott -

I had this up and running and then the DSM 5.0 upgrade broke everything as you mentioned. One additional step I had to perform was "adopt" a previous backup so that it would recognize this new setup as the previous backup it already had.

Thanks for the rest of the details. Been on my list for a few months to figure out.

David
Saturday, June 21, 2014 12:17:53 AM UTC
I have a couple of questions.

1) I can still run the crashplan service on my machine at the sametime the client is connected to the synology ? I'm pretty sure the answer to this is yes.

2) is a bit trickier
If I duplicate all the files I currently have in my music, films and pictures directories over to the synology and point crashplan at them, as they are already backed up and I have de-duplication turned on will crashplan not do the initial backup ? If this is true, and I then remove the files from the pc service crashplan selection (before deletion) would this give me a seemless transfer of files. Or do I just need to go through the "pain" of the initial backup again.
Krystan Honour
Monday, June 23, 2014 6:05:01 PM UTC
FYI, Synology now supports NAS, just install crashplan on a mac or pc, mount the NAS drives, and check the boxes so that they back up! No need to do all this.

Doing it the Synology way has a number of advantages including:

1. It's a Crashplan supported method, and it's a lot simpler.
2. Crashplan uses about 1GB of memory for every 1TB of backup. If you have a lot of TB of data you will run out of memory on your NAS and this won't work.
3. Even if it does work, it consumes NAS resources, making it slower. If you do things like this on your NAS, you need an astronomically expensive Synology in order for a RAID 6 setup to be fast enough to really make use of good Synology features like link aggregation, etc. Why slow down already grossly underpowered hardware you paid an arm and a leg for just because it has a good software interface?

Special note: You can also build a NAS yourself, just buy a Dell T20 barebones with no drives, and run unRAID off USB (it fits four drives out of the box, and you can even expand with more SATA cards, as long as your drives dont use much power, it has a weak PSU). Granted, this tip won't be nearly as easy to use or have as many features as Synology, I decided to do that when I benchmarked the performance, it was about twice fast as a synology that cost twice as much...
Monday, June 23, 2014 7:42:07 PM UTC
Hi Scott, should this CrashPlan / NAS based backup plan include anything equivalent to what is called "system image" in Windows Backup? Thanks
Thursday, June 26, 2014 8:15:34 AM UTC
Ok so sometimes I wish this comments section had a delete button but I posed some questions which I now know the answers to having had a bit of time to actually think about what I asked

1) Yes you can run crashplan on your nas AND on your computer but they are seperate instances therefore seperate computers so you need a license that covers both machines.

2) The second question Is irrelevant as the machine is a physically separate machine and will need the initial backup.

Note: Scott does say in his post but 1gb is the minimum amount of ram any synology is going to need with most people upgrading to at least 2gb for a smaller NAS like a 713+ (this can be done but is not supported officially).

So there you have it :)
Krystan Honour
Sunday, June 29, 2014 9:52:54 PM UTC
I just had to power down my DS1812+ to move it to a better location. Prior to the power down, the crash plan package was successfully running. When I booted it back up, crash plan would not start and everytime I told it to run, it would revert back stop almost immediately.

I tinkered a bit and ended up uninstalling/reinstalling crashplan and all is right now. Anyone else have same/similar issues after a power cycle or reboot? If this is a recurring issue, that'll be disappointing that everytime there's a power outage, I'll need to uninstall/reinstall crashplan and remember to re-add crashplan user permissions to the public folder ...

Thanks
ME
ME
Thursday, July 03, 2014 1:32:30 AM UTC
To "ME", I have had to shut down my NAS multiple times since installing CrashPlan and it's still working fine. Thankfully!
B. Goodman
Sunday, July 06, 2014 6:41:54 AM UTC
Not sure if people understood my earlier comment so let me clarify:

Crashplan now supports NAS backup directly from any SINGLE PC or MAC plan.

You can now backup a PC or MAC and your NAS (and if you back up other machines to your NAS via some other method those too), without needing to install anything on your NAS, only paying for a single crashplan PC, and you can use ANY NAS, not just synology.

So, I urge everyone to first read my comment above before deciding if installing on a NAS is really for you, you will save yourself a lot of time and aggravation.

This article used to be the only good way to do this but is now no longer necessary! In my view, you should ONLY do this if you don't have a PC you can leave on all the time, and you don't have much data anyway so you won't run into out of memory crashes and other performance and resource problems.


Saturday, July 12, 2014 2:41:42 AM UTC
Thank you, Scott, for this guide! It probably turned what would have been a few hours of trial-and-error and information gathering into a 20 minute cakewalk. The only thing missing in my case is the ui.properities path for Mac folks:

/Applications/CrashPlan.app/Contents/Resources/Java/conf/ui.properties

Enis: I'm not seeing the same kind of performance issues you keep mentioning.

Backing up 2.9TB, my 412+ with stock 1GB RAM is at 29% RAM usage. Prior to installing headless CrashPlan, it averaged around 18%. Additionally, I was able to migrate to headless (thanks to this guide) in under 20 minutes.

Previously, my MacBook-hosted solution meant backups only occurred when my laptop is on my home network (nights and weekends) - it was far from ideal. Running a dedicated computer to manage cloud-based backups seems so antiquated - it's especially unnecessary when you already have a NAS with your data running 24/7. Not to mention the additional unnecessary electricity costs with keeping a Mac or PC running just for CrashPlan.

Thanks again, Scott - my experience with CrashPlan headless on my Synology NAS has been flawless!
Tuesday, July 15, 2014 3:48:12 AM UTC
Mike - This setup is likely working well for you because you are using a ridiculously overkill $600+ NAS designed for small businesses with multiple NICs just to serve a single laptop and 3TB (just half a disk) of data.

You should still keep an eye on the resource usage over time, see code42s guidance (google "code42 memory usage") and read their own recommendations and reasons for them. This blog does not allow me to paste the link here.

I had large files, like encrypted disk images saved by clonezilla, video, photo and other media libraries, etc and after about 6TB of data I started to experience issues with the (ironically named) crashplan engine, crashing.

It may depend on what kind of files and how large there are, just sharing my experience (I now have over 12TB of data). Crashplan still works for me because most of this data does not change ever, but it took months to upload, for some reason I got 5mbps speeds a lot of the time even though I have fios 50mbps uploads.
Tuesday, July 15, 2014 4:00:04 AM UTC
P.S. Just wanted to make folks out there who need a backup solution but don't have a grand to spend on hardware aware of the alternatives.

I don't want to give the wrong impression here, Crashplan, Synology and Scott's blog are all excellent!


Wednesday, July 16, 2014 3:37:04 PM UTC
Be sure to check out this blog post Speeding up CrashPlan Backups, http://networkrockstar.ca/2013/09/speeding-up-crashplan-backups/. It contains some advice to improve performance by turning off de-duplication especially for cloud / WAN backups.
Wednesday, July 16, 2014 3:41:00 PM UTC
Be sure to check out this blog post Speeding up CrashPlan Backups. It contains some advice to improve performance by turning off de-duplication especially for cloud / WAN backups.
Wednesday, July 23, 2014 9:43:27 AM UTC
Thank you for this guide. marvelous... however it is not working for me. At first the install works, and the headless client runs. Connecting the windows gui works and it starts scanning. Because I already have an existing backup I need to adopt the previous backup.
Still fine so far...

Then the gui starts scanning and at the backup stage the gui presents "could not connect" and the headless client is stopped (and I cannot start is anymore, unless I uninstall everything and start from scratch again with your instructions).

Any ideas what is going on and how to fix it?
rob
Friday, July 25, 2014 1:15:26 AM UTC
Just wanted to say THANK YOU to the autor and all the extra feedback. Upgraded from 4.2 and got it all working again by deleting the previous installation and reinstalling. Took about 20 mins and backup running again...
Colin
Tuesday, July 29, 2014 8:35:38 PM UTC
Thanks Scott - fabulous and very useful article, very much appreciated
Simon
Wednesday, July 30, 2014 7:34:01 PM UTC
@Eric, thanks for the heads up. I'm using a DS413 still too..
How's DSM5 running on your 413?
John
Friday, August 01, 2014 11:09:09 AM UTC
Hello Scott,

Thank you for yet another excellent post about running CrashPlan on a Synology box - your article originally led to to purchase a Synology box for this particular feature.

Today I found myself wondering whether the new "official" Java Manager application could take over for the community provided installation process, but yet again I needed not look far to get a quick answer!

Oh and thanks for your excellent talks at the Warm Crocodile conference this year, I find your speaks entertaining and enlightening, which is always an excellent mix.


Best regards, Michael
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