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I have been using my QNap NAS for years now. For the most part, it was utilised as a multimedia storage and download server. I could queue downloads and forget about them, shut down my computer and let NAS worry about everything.

Local network transfers are quite reasonable, reaching up to 100 MiB/s when reading from the server, which is like using local SATA hard drive. Write speeds are far less impressive, but still good enough for “not so heavy” usage (averaging around 40-50 MiB/s). Anyway, most of the time I would just read from it so it wasn’t a big deal. Until…

Problems

Recently I experienced a failure of one of my hard drives. Those are the moments when you start to think – do I have a backup? What did I lose? What was on that drive…? Luckily all of the important files were archived on a separate disk, but the whole situation got me thinking.

Long story short — I reorganised all of my drives and decided to store incremental backups on my QNap. It consists of 2 2TB hard drives and from my calculations it should be capable of storing the backups of my photography-related data.

I set up Carbon Copy Cloner scheduled tasks (more about that in one of the next posts) to perform daily backup directly to the AFP shared folder on my NAS (Apple Filing Protocol was the default one I have been using for mounting shared folders).

I ran the backup procedure right away to test it out and left it copying the files in the background. Not for long, though. After dealing with a few gigabytes of data, the backup failed.

I ran it again, and again, and it would fail sooner or later with the same error message.
Trying to copy the whole directory (1TB) full of small files results in a failure too:

The Finder cannot complete the operation because some data in .. could not be read or written.
(Error code -36)

I tried restarting the NAS, upgrading the firmware, even a factory reset didn’t change anything.

When I was about to give up, I started browsing the web, and surprisingly I found a lot of topics covering the issues described above. After spending some time on the QNap forums it’s clear that I’m not the only one having troubles with transferring big chunks of data to the device.

Solution

Use Samba file protocol (SMB) instead of Apple Filing Protocol (AFP) in the Control Panel / Network Services / Win/Mac/NFS

It seems that even though Samba is not the most welcome protocol in OS X, as reading directory structure containing lots of files can take a lot of time, apparently it is implemented better than AFP.

Screenshot 2014-08-19 15.24.00

I reconfigured the NAS quickly to use SMB protocol, created shared folders and recreated the tasks for CCC. A few minutes later a new backup process was running. This time — till the end.

If you are experiencing similar problems, I recommend switching to SMB as well — so far I’m fairly happy with it, my backups work properly and the transfer seems to be pretty reliable.

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