[sf-lug] Backups are important

Jason Turner jturner at nonzerosums.org
Wed Nov 21 08:46:11 PST 2007

Traipsing through the thread...

Kristian Erik Hermansen wrote:
> [...]
> And in terms of backup software...
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_backup_software
Ugh, another list.  Not what I'm looking for but a fine addition for the 
[knowledge] archives.

Rick Moen wrote:
> Quoting Asheesh Laroia (asheesh at asheesh.org):
>> You're a professional.  This isn't the right solution for you.  I'm not 
>> really suggesting it for you.
Yep, that's the point that I thought was getting lost too.  And then...

> When I was a novice, I didn't like my time being pointlessly wasted
> then, either.  ;->
> A nice little ncurses-driven menued utility is just about exactly right
> for a restore routine, I've found.
Ahh.  Well, *true*, even as a novice I'd find a two hour simple restore 
operation incredibly painful(even with GUI hand holding).  So an 
"ncurses-driven menued  utility" sounds nice...  Did I miss the name of 
that app(s)?

>> Here's the thing: WHile it's a two-hour minimum for each machine for you 
>> to waste time with these GUI backup tools' long dependency chain, it's a 
>> probably at least a one-month job to teach solid command-line 
>> understanding to someone lacking the kind of experience we have.
> Are you _sure_ you don't need some help beating all those straw men you
> keep hurling out?  I mean, *I* can tell the difference between "boot a
> CD, it enters directly into an ncurses-driven rootine that asks you a
> couple of questions and retores your data" and "a one-month job to
> teach solid command-line understanding".  Are we supposed to believe
> you don't?
Ok, off the rails for me.  Originally, I'd thought that Asheesh's point 
around a GUI tool for folks unfamiliar/uncomfortable with CLI tools was 
not understood.  Then I thought, "perhaps Rick thinks such users just 
have to suck it up and become friends with the CLI".  But *then* this 
mention of an ncurses client seems to be tacit acknowledgment of the 
need for a novice user-friendly tool.  So please tell me the name of 
this ncurses based client!  ;-p

And just in case I *did* miss it earlier -- my apologies.

>> Every night a backup job runs that backs up the whole filesystem for 
>> filesystems I care about.  (It uses incremental storage via hard links.) 
>> Once that completes, the system removes any backups that are more than a 
>> week old, except if by removing that job the system would remove the last 
>> existing backup.  This means that during normal system operation I can go 
>> back as little as a day and as much as a week, and I can always get the 
>> latest backup if it's older than a week.
Ahh, this is some of the info I was curious about.  Backup tool isn't 
named but a bit of his scheme is revealed. 

>> As for "distant", the backups of the machine in my parents' basement (in 
>> Rochester, NY) are stored in Tokyo; the machine in Tokyo is backed up to 
>> San Francisco; the machine in San Francisco is backed up to somewhere else 
>> in San Francisco.
> So, the reason I ask about number of generations and offsite versus
> onsite locality is that it's often prohibitive of bandwidth, in
> practice, to do timely ongoing backups with a reasonable number of
> generations retained, across commodity home broadband links.  Sometimes
> yes, sometimes no.  I'm glad it works for you, regardless of details.
> As I said, I like rsync quite a bit.
Yes yes yes.  With access to big remote networked disks, I went crazy 
for a time thinking I could maintain a [large] number of 
snapshots/generations of various backed up systems.  In most cases(the 
ones hanging off commodity broadband links), network performance quickly 
became the limiting factor and, some might say, forced me to restore 
[some] sanity to my schemes.

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