Proxmox Backup Server is cool!

Yeah, I’m kind of late to the party here. I’d played with PBS a little bit when it was in beta, and wasn’t able to get it working to where I saw the benefit, my Proxmox hosts were backing up to my TrueNAS box just fine, and Proxmox seemed pretty insistent that it run on its own bare-metal hardware, so…

After seeing some Youtube videos, I decided to give it another shot, this time installing as a VM, and using storage on my TrueNAS server. Installing in the VM was trivial; it’s just another VM on Proxmox. The remote storage was harder–Proxmox has their own idea of how PBS ought to be used, and while they don’t actively prevent, they also do nothing to facilitate, your using network storage.

I first tried to use an existing NFS export on my TrueNAS box, one which I was already using for other Proxmox-related stuff. I couldn’t get it working–it looked like permission-related problems, but I wasn’t able to resolve them.

But then, inspired by, I decided to try iSCSI. I set up a 2TB iSCSI extent on my TrueNAS box, was able to connect it to the VM following the instructions at that link, but formatted it ext4 rather than ZFS (ZFS on ZFS isn’t generally recommended, and I didn’t see that it’d give any benefit in this case). Mounting that remote disk, then, was just a matter of a /etc/fstab entry. Once that’s done, it acts like a local disk to the system, so setting it up as a datastore in PBS was straightforward.

Setting up the PVE host to back up to PBS is also quite straightforward–though if you’re planning on getting a Let’s Encrypt cert for your PBS system, do that first. Then add it as storage to the datacenter, and you’re ready to set up backups as desired.

But having done that, it’s fast. Doubtless this is because it uses incremental backups, while the “normal” backup to a NFS share doesn’t. But a backup of all the VMs on one of my hosts takes about 1/8 the time it did when going to the NFS share. Definite win there. Only limitation is that I can’t back up the PBS VM to itself, which I guess makes sense.

Now, I know the backup client is available separately and can be used on other systems; I haven’t messed with that yet. But that may be the next step.



Hi Dan

And welcome to the PBS “fan” club!

It’s also possible (And a good idea) to install Proxmox PVE, then later install PBS over PVE (Not as a VM). In smaller environments, this often solves the issue with HA needing 3 nodes (Without using a Q-Node).

This can be a lower powered PVE, but still capable of running a VM - either for testing or a plain, full restore seperate from a running VM. The main use of this Box would be for PBS, but it also acts as “Quorum” for HA. And, as third role, a platform for independent restores.

Another really good thing about PBS is also setting up an Out-of-house backup, at another site. Full daily backups often take to much bandwidth, to transfer off-site. PBS handles this all internally, the offsite PBS sshing to the internal PBS, and using rsync to get “incrementals” from the main PBS in-house…

PS: My home PBS is running dedicated (without PVE) on a 8-year old PC (2 core Intel i5 CPU, 8 GB RAM, one new SSD for system and 2*4 TB Disks for Backup Storage). All using ZFS, the storage as ZFS-Mirror.
This easily stores a year of Monthly backups, 8 weeks of Weekly Backups, and 7 Daily backups and 4 hourly ones.

Using incrementals and deduplication (28x !), this results in a very impressive compression!

I also love the fact that retention is set on PBS (Per storage).

My 2 cents

Interestingly, Proxmox themselves seem to strongly discourage this. But then, they also discourage running it in a VM… I have hardware that I could run PBS on, though right now it’s serving as my Neth hotsync target.

It’s nice, though, to see that backup of whole PVE hosts is on the roadmap:

…along with backup client for other OSs. I’d like to put the client on some Raspberry Pis I have, but it’s looking like that isn’t going to be easy.

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Another very cool feature of PBS is the file / folder restore - not only for VMs, but also for real boxes. It works great with Debian, AFAIK not yet fully available for other Linux systems. But client will be coming.

As such, it completly saves me / my clients from buying a dedicated commercial backup for any Windows VMs, as PBS handles this VERY well!
(Proxmox uses MS Shadow Copy for this, this also covers eg MS-SQL!).

I think the Raspberry client will show up soon, or a ARM based Debian Client will do the job. But, as usual: It’s ready and available when it is…

I’d also love the Raspberry to be able to use PBS!

My 2 cents

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