Offsite BackupNAS "self built" vs "Qnap 431P(2)". [Solved, freenas with used parts < 300€]


i need help deciding between, basically, two options. Better options are of course welcome :wink:
My situation:

I have a selfbuilt NAS running, and i want an offsite backup.
The running NAS is a RAID5 with three 8TB HDDs. So i need to backup 16TB maximum.
My solution would be to backup to another NAS at a friends house.
I want to backup securely (SSH - rsync or duplicity), so no one can see the content of my traffic.
Idealy i would want to encrypt the backups.

Since this is only storing files and maybe send me mails when something is wrong.
I would like it to power down and automatically powerup for the backup hours. Or otherwise just be quiet or off.

So at the moment i cannot decide between the “Qnap 431P”
and a self built NAS with fedora (etc) or freenas (etc) based on the “ASRock J3455-ITX SoC So.BGA Dual Channel DDR3” board; which has a intel celeron. This board because it is miniITX and has at least 4 sata ports (could not find another one). The qnap and the self built one result in around 250€, so no difference there.

What do you guys think?

Thank you for your help! :slight_smile:


A qnap will serve your needs - although the one you have chosen is very low power (CPU) - but as a backup target over the web via rsync should be ok - as your upload bandwidth will be the limiting factor.

What i would do is sync the data to the QNAP locally before moving to your backup location - then the incremental backups should be smaller and take less time. Also it will give you an idea if the QNAP is fast enough and not acting as a bottleneck.

I would get your self built NAS to do the work and - push - the data to the QNAP - as it has i suspect a better processor than the (mobile phone CPU) QNAP has and will process things more quickly.

If you decide you need a more powerful QNAP then a 453A would be a good choice - although more expensive - or go the self build route if money is an issue.

thank you for your thoughts!

yes i would only do the incremental stuff over the internet.
Has the low power CPU that much of an impact? That was what i was worrying about, also the 1G RAM; also the cheap plastic enclosure of the qnap, as well as the HDD mountings.

I chose that qnap because it costs the same as the self built one,
and the qnap option because of its software. I think it would be much easier to remotely administrate it?

You’re probably good with anything.

SSH or whatever crypto you choose to use will be what ends up using your CPU - and therefore: how much CPU you need will entirely depend on how much network throughput you plan on using.

Are you just doing encfs --reverse and an rsync with a --link-dest ?

btw, I kind of like the qnap form factor … especially considering it’s going to another persons house

yeah the formfactor is a big plus with qnap, especially when using space at a friends house.
The case of the self built one would be fractal designs node 304, which is also small. But the qnap is even 2/3 of the node i think.

for backup programs, at the moment i’m thinking either
or what you suggested
encfs with rsync.
Both pushing from the main NAS because it uses an i7. So that the backup NAS CPU shouldn’t have to work hard.

My internet connection’s upload is just 12Mbit.

I would throw into the decision mix the qnap 431p2 (which is 50€ more) but utilizes a quadcore instead of a dual core.

I’m ZFS or nothing (FreeNAS, but ZFS is the most important bit).


If my proprietary NAS dies, the drives need to go back into one of those boxes. Or MAYBE in some special order in a PC to get the data back if they’re in anything other than RAID1.

ZFS? pop the drives into any machine that can run a ZFS hosting OS, in any order, and ZFS will be able to import the array properly.

For your use case, if both NAS boxes are self built and both run ZFS you can do replication between them with ZFS send.

ZFS send enables differential snapshot replication also… built into the platform.
Encryption from host to host via SSH.


even first gen raspberry pi, or even a 10 year old single core mips router, should have enough cpu to run rsync at 10Mbps. (as long as it’s not too many small files).

I looked at 231p … but it’s not that much cheaper to go with a 2 drive model, vs 4 drive.

it’s a secondary/offsite backup, also low end qnaps probably just use mdraid.

In the off chance primary NAS dies, OP’s systems will keep running and they can presumably pop over to their neighbors’, grab the qnap, hook it up to their network, mount it using encfs and start using the files… ( and start rsync-ing things back).

If the remote qnap dies, OP looses some redundancy but no data, eventually they can pop-the drives into another qnap, clear them and take another full backup.

in the DIY - non proprietary world, lvm still does the job fine assembling arrays, it’s still better supported than zfs. (although zfs scrubbing is really nice).

I did not know that; that is really interesting. I will look into it as an option in more detail.
If you don’t mind me asking before looking it up, this way the files would be unencrypted on the backup NAS?
But one probably can encfs them beforehand.

Yes 2 bay is not an option. To backup 16TB i would’ve to use raid0 which i dont want to do.
If a low power cpu would be enough for that, that would be great. Thanks for that info!

Yes. If my main nas dies the proprietary nas would just be fetched, everything would be copied to a new main NAS. Qnap uses ext4, if i’m not mistaken, so one could (in theory) pop those drives into something not proprietary as well.
If the backupNas (qnap) dies would have to buy a totaly new computer. For a selfbuilt one, maybe just the broken part and be up and running again.

Since the low power cpu would be enough. The qnap is smaller and will probably use less of my friend’s electricity and also eventually might be quieter. I’m tending towards the qnap. Also i would like to play around with one to see if it is any good. Maybe it has something to offer that would not be possible/ or much harder with a free/open one.

I probably would not go with a qnap if i wouldn’t encrypt the files on it, before the files get to it. Since it is a proprietary OS (as far as i know) i would not completly trust it with my stuff.

I manage some QNAPs for a small company and I don’t recommend them. I’ve had many issues over the years. Their RAID solution is just MD/LVM. In my experience, Synology is more robust. I believe they use BTRFS, although I’m not sure for RAID5.

In general, FreeNAS is my recommendation. If you want to build your own, this post might be helpful for choosing well-supported components.

thank you for the info!

i will think about other options for the selfbuilt one some more.
Since the above mentioned board does not support ecc ram and has a realtek NIC, which i read is not good for freenas.

i know with snyology/qnap one pretty much pays for the software, but i do not want to pay so much for such crappy hardware.
Which is why i will wait a bit, if there is a deal where the qnap/synology comes under 200€ i will probably take it, because building “correctly” for freenas with under 200€ is pretty impossible. In the meanwhile i will look into different “cheaper end” parts for freenas.

In case anyone is interested i’m going with the following self built for freenas:

Mainboard: Intel S1200 KPR
RAM: 16GB Kingston KVR1333D3E9S UDIMM ECC
CPU: Xeon E3 1225
PSU: be quiet 300W Pure Power Non Modular
Case: Fractal Design Node 304

If anyone sees incompatibilities please let me know. Thanks for all your help! :slight_smile: