Virtualization & Backup for SMBs

Backup and Restore for Virtual Machines, PCs, and Physical Servers

Ensure security, accessibility and speed for your NAS backup strategy with Synology backup applications and Seagate IronWolf Drives.

Table of Contents:

All virtual environments need a backup strategy to ensure data is secure. But how can you make sure everything is backed up correctly so that when disaster strikes you can restore your production environment with minimal downtime?

In this article you will learn how to use Synology’s® suite of backup applications to build a solid 3-2-1 backup architecture—3 copies, 2 storage mediums, 1 offsite—for any virtual machine environment.

Three Tiers of Backup. Local Redundancy with High Availability

The first step in setting up a backup plan for production environments or a home lab is to set up a high availability cluster. A high availability cluster is simply two network-attached storage (NAS) units set up together and connected with a heartbeat connection (Ethernet tether). One of the NAS units operates as the active server while the other one waits to take over should any hardware issue occur with the active server. Like most high availability (HA) clusters, the two Synology units being used must be identical—from the model number, the RAM, and the HDDs and SSDs in use. But unlike some other HA options, the Synology HA cluster is set up under one IP address so when a failover happens there is no need to reconnect to a different active server.

Local Backups

The second step in setting up a backup plan is creating an onsite backup. While having a HA cluster is a great first step in redundancy, it doesn’t go as far to back up the data in the event of a catastrophic failure. That is where an onsite backup comes in. An onsite backup is the first line of defense for ransomware or accidental deletion of important data. Using Synology’s Active Backup for Business software and Synology’s VM Backup, you can set up automatic backups to another onsite NAS and, with snapshot replication, you can restore any lost data much faster than downloading it off the cloud. Along with backing up your virtual machines, you can back up your PCs, servers, and cloud data, keeping all your backups securely in one place. It is also always crucial to test your backup. Test and confirm your backups are working as they should, and that you can restore your data.

Offsite Replication

The final step in creating your backup workflow is to back up your data offsite. This can be done either to a NAS in a second location or by sending your backup to most major cloud services including C2, Synology’s cloud developed specifically to integrate with its NAS. Using Synology’s Hyper Backup software, you can set your backup destination of choice and manage your backups from there. You can also restore your data, or in the event of a catastrophic disaster, you can failover to an offsite NAS and keep your production environment live while you get your main environment repaired.

NAS Models to Consider

Now that we have gone through how to set up a backup workflow for virtual environments, here are two recommendations for virtual machine high availability clusters to consider:

  • For the home lab user, 2× DS720+ units will be perfect for sandboxing and testing packages
  • For the enterprise environment, 1 × UC3200 is an all-in-one solution with dual controllers for even faster failover

The IronWolf Advantage

To make sure that the virtual machine data is backed up and operates properly, you need the right hardware. Always on, always working—Seagate’s IronWolf drives are specifically designed for use in robust NAS environments.


NAS can easily support 100+ users and/or computers, and Seagate IronWolf hard drives are built to support cross-office file sharing by handling high workload rates in busy environments. On the fast end of things, IronWolf SSDs step in, enabling file transfer acceleration and incredibly high endurance—meaning less wear and tear over time. In compatible NAS systems, you can even opt for a hybrid setup with both HDDs and SSDs for a payout of extreme capacity, speed, and endurance.

Seagate IronWolf drives are built on conventional magnetic recording (CMR) technology and maintain performance and reliability in multi-bay NAS enclosures by mitigating vibration with built-in RV sensors—a standard feature in IronWolf 4TB and higher drives and in all IronWolf Pro drives.

IronWolf Pro Guards Your Data

IronWolf Pro drives include an incredibly powerful feature—IronWolf Health Management (IHM)—that helps by offering data loss prevention, intervention, and recovery services. For more information on IHM, visit here. Additionally, these drives come with three years of in-house Rescue Data Recovery Services covering data corruption, viruses, and damage from fires and floods.

Synology and Seagate—The Reliable Backup Solution for Your Virtual Environment

Backing up virtual machines through our 3-2-1 recommendations will provide you with the best protection of your data. Empower your business network by choosing a Synology virtualization solution and Seagate IronWolf drives—the easiest, most dynamic way to upgrade your data infrastructure.