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Back-up strategy?

How you avoid disaster of lost data......

11:29 am on Sep 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

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We run an online store and I had a terrible week last week when due to Windows errors, re-installs etc I lost a lot of files. Have managed by using a data recovery tool to recover a lot of files but was a big wake up call for me in terms of having a back-up strategy/procedure in place ( I had nothing!)

I now plan to:

1. Upgrade to WindowsXP to utilise restore/backup features
2. Buy a big zip drive to back up hard drive files
3. Download backup files to off-site data storage facility

Anyone got any advice re backups - what do you do? Any backup management software worth investing in? Easiest/cost effective?

Thanks for any advice

7:16 am on Oct 1, 2003 (gmt 0)

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We had a bad crash that was not able to be restored.
Lost over 8000 members data, html files, images, scripts everything! It was one of the worst experiences ever. I thought I was going to die.

Anyways, it took 3 weeks to get bits and pieces from my laptop, office computer and Alexa's data (archive.org)!
My team and I started with one area then once live moved to the next area.

What we do now.

Backup to Seperate Drive
Backup to Seperate Server
Backup to Seperate Location

Now if we ever have a bad crash and lose all data we can be up and running again fast!

I guess it's a lesson to be learned...the hard way.

Don't let this happen to you. Almost was the end for us.

7:34 am on Oct 1, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I run BPFTP server on my home machine and send website backups to it from my server. Then burn them to disk at home for extra backup.
11:11 am on Oct 1, 2003 (gmt 0)

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My problem is volume. Many things that are important to me, like logs, are 100s of MB /week or day. Backing these up in a cheap way is difficult. I can'T download those over night :( Even some of my websites are over 2GB in files, DBs scripts and images.

Right now I think th echeapest thing would be a second mini-itx based server with a live mirror.

Another thing, I have a HARD time copying win xp system files on a live system. Is there a work around?


11:27 am on Oct 1, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I just say one thing buy a IPOD then you have about 40GB for music and backup.


11:33 am on Oct 1, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Perhaps also worth mentioning is keep your kit current.
The hardware I mean.

A client of mine were broken into and had their computers stolen one weekend. The whole lot and all the periphary kit was taken.

Insurance provided new machines pretty fast and they had offsite tape backups.

But the theives had taken the tape drives.
And the tape drives were out of production.

So they had the data but no way to reinstate it onto their machines.

They did manage to find a service from someone who had the old drive to transfer the data onto current format tape drives which they were able to buy and then reinstall their systems but they lost at least one week I think perhaps two because of this odd problem.

Used in one company where many sales people used laptops which left the building to backup that data onto a directory on a network server as travelling laptops are not the most secure things to store unique information on.

12:05 pm on Oct 1, 2003 (gmt 0)

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One has to take backups seriously. The above posts demonstrate this (once again) impressively.

Read some books about backup [storagemountain.com]. I recommend Preston's Unix Backup and Recovery [amazon.com].

Visit storagemountain [storagemountain.com]. Among a lot of information about hardware, software and books, you will find quite a few free backup scripts [storagemountain.com], including some hot topics like backup of databases.

Use a software that stores your data in an open, standardized format - not proprietary. What will happen if your backup vendor files bankruptcy and no other software can read your proprietary backups?

Use a software that scales well with the number of backup clients. I use AMANDA [amanda.org], the Advanced Maryland Automatic Network Disk Archiver. It's simply the best free backup software around. It schedules backup levels automatically, so you will never have to bother with what backup level to do on, say, Mondays. AMANDA decides on this depending on your "dump cycle" and the storage available and ensures that, given enough dump cycle runs and storage, you will have at least one full dump every that many days. You can integrate Windows PCs through SAMBA [samba.org]. I have seen Universities asking their users through web forms which shares they would like to have backed up (or restored) though AMANDA.

Read more on AMANDA in this chapter on using AMANDA [storagemountain.com], freely available online. Other backup aspects, like Bare Metal Recovery of Linux [storagemountain.com] or Backup up of an Oracle database [storagemountain.com] are covered in Free Excerpts from Unix Backup & Recovery [storagemountain.com].

3:50 am on Oct 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Switch to linux :)

I was new to linux (still am) and we were testing a web application on it, we didn't have many servers to play around with, so we had to put our test environment on the same machine. We decided to call the folder 'dev' for development. Little did I know that there was a linux system folder called dev.

One day for whatever reason I wanted to re-do the development site, so I went ahead and deleted the 'dev' folder.

Wrong folder.

Stuff ground to a halt, I completely lost remote access, users couldn't access the app, nothing. There was NO network connection, so I actually had to go down to the server room and figure it out. After realizing my blunder, I was amazed that the thing was still running. I don't know WHAT I would have done if I didn't have command line access to do MySQL dumps and get that stupid database backed up. whew. Powered down the machine, rebuilt the box, and dumped the data back in.

If it weren't for linux, I probably woulda lost all that data because if I'd powered down the machine I don't think it would have come back up without me reinstalling the OS.

Linux rocks.

3:51 am on Oct 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

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When it comes to important files (source code and so on), I archive them monthly, PGP the archive and upload it to a remote server.

The private PGP key is in a bank vault.

Nightly backups for my main machine over rsync to another machine in the same room. Just in case the main one has HD issues.

12:20 pm on Oct 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

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The private PGP key is in a bank vault.

There is a better way: protect the private key with a passphrase and store the passphrase in your head!

This way, even if police searches your bank vault, they will not find the key to decipher those extremely sensitive documents. 8-)

12:28 pm on Oct 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Another thing, I have a HARD time copying win xp system files on a live system. Is there a work around?

Please explain. I'll do my best.

3:51 pm on Oct 3, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I used to backup to a second hard drive in my computer. All was well until my computerís internal power supply burned out and fried both hard drives and all computer components except my mouse and video card.

Besides a few things I had on CD I lost everything. So per a suggestion from a guy at a computer shop, I purchased the exact models of my hard drives on Ebay. Then I swapped the boards from the Ebay drives to the burned out drives and much to my surprise both drives started working. I would suggest if you have an old burned out hard drive lying around, give the swap PC board trick a shot, you may just recover something you thought was long gone.

I lucked out of this situation and never want to face such a disaster again. So now I backup to a 200 gig USB external drive and also copy everything to DVDs that I keep off site.

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