Backups - part 1

Posted By Paul Cooper |  last update 16-Jul 2011

There are 2 sorts of people , those who regularly do backups , and those who have never had a computer failure and lost data. I learned the hard way.

Since moving to a linux-centric system, backups have become much easier – many backup tools come by default with the installed system. I did have an old 800 MHz box that I inherited from somewhere that was the router , firewall, web server (using dnsmasq, shorewall and apache software) and also stored the network backups. This isn't a really good idea – if this machine  falls over, everything stops working, and if it is hacked and broken into, potentially everything is available to the hacker. Hence the widespread suggestions to configure a DMZ, separating services accessible from the outside from internal LAN- based stuff.

I replaced the 800 MHz machine with a standalone router, initially a linksys one I had, flashed with  gargoyle router software and  subsequently an off-the-shelf Belkin router. The backup machine is now a separate Acer Aspire One netbook with 160 GB Hard disk storage with ubuntu server software, that sits silently and unobtrusively on a shelf.

The backup software is rsnapshot which is some nifty configuration options around the backup program, rsync. An advantage of rsync is that it compares the filesystem to be backed up with the one it has already got and only transfers across any changes, rather than sending everything, every time. So my machines efficiently back up to each other and srsnapshot gives me an archive.

But my wife has a laptop that runs Vista. rsync is available for windows, but I would have to install the program on her machine. Dilbert knows why installing your programs on your wifes' computer is a very bad idea –

So I came up with a way of backing up the computer, without installing anything on it – all that is needed is to share the folders to be backed up as read-only. The script that runs automatically ,every hour on the linux server is is its any use to anyone.

The weak point in my system is that I have no off-site backup. Son has just bought his first house, so one possibility is to come to an arrangement with him, and access a computer behind his firewall. But SCATA now offers me offsite backup through the LiveDrive offer. There is little information about livedrive and linux. Certainly the briefcase application isnt available for linux, and doesn't run under wine.

So I'll have to see how I can efficiently bring the remote backup to livedrive into my system.

There are several options to pursue for backing up both windows and linux onto livedrive. I'm almost certain livedrive wont give me the full functionality I have at home, even though its probably running linux software, so I'll have to see what it will and will not do, and come up with some workarounds, if possible.  So watch this space.





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