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Re: [tlug] Hard Drive Failure (Was: Help! Total hardware failure)

On 2008-09-14 15:22 +0900 (Sun), wrote:

> You said that you bought a new hard drive, and I immediately notice a
> problem: it is singular and not plural. I would recommend investing
> in more than one hard drive and using RAID to store any data that you
> want to protect from a future hard drive failure.

Actually, even better yet is to re-organize your computing life so that
you can apply a reasonable backup strategy. Here's what I do.

On all of my various server and personal systems, I have a separate
partition mounted on /home. This is the one thing I back up. I'm careful
to keep this as small in size as possible, in particular keeping stuff
that I can restore from other sources (operating system files and
suchlike) on another partition. Anything that is on another partition
that I also need to back up, such as the /etc directory of that machine,
my backup process tars up and puts into /home/backup.

To do the backup, I use BSD FFS dump/restore, but apparently this isn't
available for Linux. There's probably something you can use that will
deal with incremental backups of a partition, though, and when you find
out what it is, I'd be interested in hearing about it.

Anyway, the backup is piped into gpg, which compresses, signs and
encrypts the backup. (Each machine has a key that I generate for it,
and it encrypts it to both my key and that of my business partner,
Bryan. And also to clients' keys, for those particular machines.) It
then goes into ssh, which connects to our central backup host, which is
set up basically just to receive files and store them away in a backup
directory. So there we have all our daily incremental and weekly full
backups of everything.

We also do a daily rsync of this directory to another server on a
different contenent, just in case Japan sinks into the ocean one day.
(Actually, while that is not likely, there is a reasonable possibility
that Mt. Fuji might once again spew volcanic ash all over the place,
several inches of which would end up on Tokyo. I don't hold a lot of hope
for the data on Tokyo's hard drives should that happen.)

Oh, I should mention, there are certain large chunks of data that I
deal with separately, outside of this system. These include my photos
(a few GB) and ripped copies of all of my CDs (about 250 GB). These
photos I reeally should be rsync'ing to the backup server as well, but
outside of the weekly full backup system, since the old data doesn't
ever change. The CD rips I can afford to be a bit more lax with, just
keeping a couple of copies, because I can always just re-rip the whole
lot of them, if it comes to that. (It would take some time, though;
doing those 800+ CDs the first time took over a month.)

Curt Sampson       <>        +81 90 7737 2974   
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