Configuring Rsync Tasks

You often need to copy data to another system for backup or when migrating to a new system. A fast and secure way of doing this is by using rsync with SSH.

Rsync Basic Requirements

For a remote sync (rsync) task to work you need to first:

  • Create a dataset on the TrueNAS

  • When the Rsync Mode is SSH, go to System Settings > Services and enable SSH. Create an SSH connection in Credentials > Backup Credentials > SSH Connections.

  • When the Rsync Mode is Module, record the host and path to the data on the remote system you plan to sync with.

When the remote system is another TrueNAS, set the Rsync Mode to SSH, verify the SSH service is active on both systems, and ensure SSH keys are exchanged between systems. When the remote system is not TrueNAS, make sure that system has the rsync service activated and permissions configured for the user account name that TrueNAS will use to run the rsync task.

Rsync provides the ability to either push or pull data. The Push direction copies data from TrueNAS to a remote system. The Pull function moves or copies data from a remote system and stores it in the defined Path on the TrueNAS host system.

Creating an Rsync Task

Go to Data Protection > Rsync Tasks and click Add to open the Add Rsync Task configuration screen.

Add Rsync Task Source and Remote
Figure 1: Add Rsync Task Source and Remote

Enter or use the arrow_right to the left of folder/mnt to browse to the path to copy.

Begin typing the user into the User field or select the user from the dropdown list. The user must have permissions to run an rsync on the remote server.

Select the direction. Select Pull to copy from the remote server to TrueNAS, or Push to copy from TrueNAS to the remote server.

Enter the remote host name or IP in Remote Host. You need to have the remote server rsync service configured and turned on.

Select the connection mode from the Rsync Mode dropdown. Each mode option displays settings for the selected type. You need to have either a rsync module configured in a remote rsync server or an SSH connection for the remote server already configured.

Add Rsync Task Schedule and More Options
Figure 2: Add Rsync Task Schedule and More Options

Set the schedule for when to run this task, and any other options you want to use. If you need a custom schedule, select Custom to open the advanced scheduler window.

Advanced Scheduler


Choosing a Presets option populates in the rest of the fields. To customize a schedule, enter crontab values for the Minutes/Hours/Days.

These fields accept standard cron values. The simplest option is to enter a single number in the field. The task runs when the time value matches that number. For example, entering 10 means that the job runs when the time is ten minutes past the hour.

An asterisk (*) means match all values.

You can set specific time ranges by entering hyphenated number values. For example, entering 30-35 in the Minutes field sets the task to run at minutes 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, and 35.

You can also enter lists of values. Enter individual values separated by a comma (,). For example, entering 1,14 in the Hours field means the task runs at 1:00 AM (0100) and 2:00 PM (1400).

A slash (/) designates a step value. For example, entering * in Days runs the task every day of the month. Entering */2 runs it every other day.

Combining the above examples creates a schedule running a task each minute from 1:30-1:35 AM and 2:30-2:35 PM every other day.

TrueNAS has an option to select which Months the task runs. Leaving each month unset is the same as selecting every month.

The Days of Week schedules the task to run on specific days in addition to any listed days. For example, entering 1 in Days and setting Wed for Days of Week creates a schedule that starts a task on the first day of the month and every Wednesday of the month.

The Schedule Preview displays when the current settings mean the task runs.

Examples of CRON syntax

*Every item.* (minutes) = every minute of the hour.
* (days) = every day.
*/NEvery Nth item.*/15 (minutes) = every 15th minute of the hour.
*/3 (days) = every 3rd day.
*/3 (months) = every 3rd month.
Comma and hyphen/dashEach stated item (comma)
Each item in a range (hyphen/dash).
1,31 (minutes) = on the 1st and 31st minute of the hour.
1-3,31 (minutes) = on the 1st to 3rd minutes inclusive, and the 31st minute, of the hour.
mon-fri (days) = every Monday to Friday inclusive (every weekday).
mar,jun,sep,dec (months) = every March, June, September, December.

You can specify days of the month or days of the week.

TrueNAS lets users create flexible schedules using the available options. The table below has some examples:

Desired scheduleValues to enter
3 times a day (at midnight, 08:00 and 16:00)months=*; days=*; hours=0/8 or 0,8,16; minutes=0
(Meaning: every day of every month, when hours=0/8/16 and minutes=0)
Every Monday/Wednesday/Friday, at 8.30 pmmonths=*; days=mon,wed,fri; hours=20; minutes=30
1st and 15th day of the month, during October to June, at 00:01 ammonths=oct-dec,jan-jun; days=1,15; hours=0; minutes=1
Every 15 minutes during the working week, which is 8am - 7pm (08:00 - 19:00) Monday to FridayNote that this requires two tasks to achieve:
(1) months=*; days=mon-fri; hours=8-18; minutes=*/15
(2) months=*; days=mon-fri; hours=19; minutes=0
We need the second scheduled item, to execute at 19:00, otherwise we would stop at 18:45. Another workaround would be to stop at 18:45 or 19:45 rather than 19:00.

Clear the Enabled checkbox to disable the task schedule without deleting the configuration. You can still run the rsync task by going to Data Protection > Rsync Tasks and clicking then the Run Now icon.

Click Save.

First, enable SSH and establish a connection to the remote server.

Establishing an SSH Connection

Enable SSH on the remote system.

Enable SSH in TrueNAS. Go to System > Services and toggle SSH on.

Set up an SSH connection to the remote server. You can do this in Credentials > Backup Credentials using SSH Connections and SSH Keypairs, or using System Settings > Shell to access the TrueNAS CLI and the system keychain_credential and service ssh commands. To use the UI, see Adding SSH connections.

Populate the SSH Connections configuration fields as follows:

Semi-Automatic (TrueNAS to TrueNAS)

  1. Select Semi-automatic as the Setup Method.
  2. Enter the remote TrueNAS URL.
  3. Fill in the remaining credentials for this TrueNAS to authenticate to the remote TrueNAS and exchange SSH keys.
  4. Select Private Key to Generate New.
  5. Enter a number of seconds for TrueNAS to attempt the connection before timing out and closing the connection.

Manual (TrueNAS to Non-TrueNAS)

  1. Enter the remote Host name, Port, and Username.
  2. With these fields properly configured, click Discover Remote Host Key to connect to the remote system and automatically populate the Remote Host Key.
  3. Enter a number of seconds for TrueNAS to attempt the connection before timing out and closing the connection.

After establishing the SSH connection, add the rsync task.

Go to Data Protection > Rsync Tasks and click Add to open the Add Rsync Task configuration screen. Enter the required information as described in Creating an Rsync Task above.

Select a User account that matches the SSH connection Username entry in the SSH Connections you set up.

Choose a Direction for the rsync task as either Push or Pull and then define the task Schedule.

Provide a Description for the rsync task.

Select SSH in Rsync Mode. The SSH settings fields display.

Choose a connection method from the Connect using dropdown list.

For SSH private key stored in user’s home directory, enter the IP address or hostname of the remote system in Remote Host. Use the format username@remote_host if the username differs on the remote host. Enter the SSH Port of the remote system in Remote SSH Port. By default, 22 is reserved in TrueNAS.

For SSH connection from the keychain, the following fields display, select an existing SSH connection to a remote system or choose Create New to create a new SSH connection.

Enter a full path to a location on the remote server where you either copy information from or to in Remote Path. Maximum path length is 255 characters.

Set Validate Remote Path when the remote path location does not exist to create and define it in Remote Path.

Select the schedule to use and configure the remaining options according to your specific needs.

Click Save.

Creating an Rsync Task Using Module Mode

Before you create an rsync task on the host system, you must create a module on the remote system. You must define at least one module in rsyncd.conf(5) of the rsync server. The Rsync Daemon application is available in situations where configuring TrueNAS as an rsync server with an rsync module is necessary.

When the rsync server is configured, go to Data Protection > Rsync Tasks, and click Add to open the Add Rsync Task configuration screen. Enter the required information as described in Creating an Rsync Task above.

Select the direction for the rsync task.

Next, enter the Remote Host IP address or hostname. Use the format username@remote_host when the username differs from the host entered into the Remote Host field.

Now select Module from the Rsync Mode dropdown list, and then enter either the remote system host name or IP address exactly as it appears on the remote system in Remote Module Name.

Select the schedule to use and configure the remaining options according to your specific needs.

Click Save.