Just hoping to share my experience with Life Preserver replicating to a FreeNAS.
If you are replicating over ssh, it requires using keys (at least I think that’s the only way that it can work). In the PC-BSD days, there was some sort of bootstrapping in life preserver where it would generate a no-password SSH key (if it didn’t exist), then ssh over to FreeNAS system as the specified user (asking for that user’s password) and add it to the authorized_keys. This SSH key was stored in /root/.ssh by default. I believe the old GUI also offered an option to export the private key to a USB drive. Then, when you were installing in a new system, you could insert this USB drive and use that key to make life preserver work. I actually did this and it worked great (in PC-BSD 10.3; it was broken when I tried it in TrueOS—shame on me for not reporting it).
I only know this because this boot strapping isn’t perfect. For example, I had configured my FreeNAS to only accept SSH keys and no passwords, so the script failed because I couldn’t log in as that user. But I was able to copy the public key over in the FreeNAS GUI.
If you are starting from scratch with Life Preserver. I’d recommend that you actually look at the information from the old version of Life Preserver for replicating to a FreeNAS. There’s actually a bunch of setup that needs to be done on the server you are replicating to. The basics are:
- Create a user on the server.
- Create a dataset on the server for storing the snapshots (don’t worry, LifePreserver will create it’s own datasets under that dataset). The user created above will need to own this dataset.
- Assign a bunch of attributes for replication (it’s in the link above).
- Add root’s public SSH key from your TrueOS machine to the authorized_keys of your created user.
There’s nothing special about the FreeNAS, other than you need to use its UI to do these things. A regular FreeBSD machine should be able to handle this.
Once those basics are done, you should be able to initialize the replication and start a replication of the snapshots. I’ve had much better luck doing this on the command line once I’ve configured things in the GUI. I often have another window looking at the logs.
That being said. Life preserver is not doing any magic per se. It’s just replicating ZFS snapshots and trying to put a more pleasant face on it. If you can do that without Life Preserver, it should be possible to do it with Life Preserver. For example, the last time when the restore didn’t work. I simply just did a regular install and replicated my home directory from it’s Life Preserver snapshot on the FreeNAS using standard ZFS send and receive. I did have the Advanced ZFS Book opened to the replication chapter the entire time though.
It’s disappointing that there’s not a way to automate the server-side setup of Life Preserver, as that’s frustrating to track down. I’m sure FreeNAS could have an “allow Life Preserver backups” option that would do this for you (kind of like what they do for Time Machine backups). Then you just have to have it advertise it’s existence (via Zeroconf) and have Life Preserver GUI pick that up and do the final bits of configuration. There are still issues with turning off password login on a FreeNAS, but that’s surmountable too. But I guess this would be a low priority thing based on the scope of FreeNAS, and likely some would take issue with it creating datasets and users automatically.
It does work pretty OK once you’ve got it set up though. Sometimes I need to re-initialize if a snapshot doesn’t transfer completely (usually because I turn off my laptop without realizing it’s backing up).
Hope this helps.