[Techtalk] What is you backup strategy for home use?

Magni Onsoien magnio+lc-techtalk at pvv.ntnu.no
Fri Feb 18 07:00:26 EST 2005

On 2005-02-16 22:23:20 -0500, Angelina Carlton said:

> my feeling is that the likelyhood of both the server and the client
> having their disc crash on the same day is a reasonable risk to take.
> I do keep cdroms at my parents house and will continue to do so in the
> event of theft, flood, or fire. 
> What I don't know is the best software for this. I know it is a
> difficult solution as there are so many ways to do it. 
> One package that looks good is rdiff-backup[1] but it doesn't appear
> to do anything with the files on the other end, as in archive them and
> then rotate the tarballs etc..

We use rdiff-backup at home to back up a Fedora workstation, a FreeBSD
workstation/server and a couple of Fedora laptops. It works very well,
and yes, we have tested a restore (no real use for it yet, luckily).

We store the backups on an offsite server. Before we got a separate
server for it, we took "cross backups" - I to his box and he to mine. We
used --exclude-file blabla to exclude the relevant dirs so we didn't do 
recursive backups or soemthing like that.

Since backups are incremental, they don't get very big for us, so we
actually never delete old backups. But if we deleted and added new files
in stead of just adding files the target filesystem would have to be
considerably bigger than the filesystem being backed up.

What do you want the backup software to do? rdiff-backup handles backup
and restore, plus deletion of old versions if you desire, and to me
that's about a backup program's job. Creating a cdimage and burning the
CD are tasks for an external program, even though including it in the
nightly backupscripts on one of the clients (or on the server) is a
nifty idea.

> I have heard of people even using cvs for backups, is this worth
> looking into? 

I think CVS would do a part of the job that rdiff-backup does, namely
storing incrementals. If you know CVS well already, it could be a
usable tool, but if not you'd probably have to adjust existing
documentation of CVS, made for storing source code and stuff like that,
to the doc of a backup tool as the concepts and ideas will be different.

> I am hoping for some input of what other people use to backup and
> if they do plain old "dump and restores" or incremental backups with
> nightly, weekly and monthly..or local backups on each machine...

rdiff-backup runs nightly here. In my former job I used tar for such
tasks, both for doing full backups (we did that for some smaller sites,
it was less to organize and systemize) and for incrementals.

> If there is a killer package to do all of this for me I'd love to hear 
> about it, and if its available for Debian even better! 

rdiff-backup certainly is.

Magni :)
sash is very good for you.

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