Re: Backing up server before updating
If your system is so important to you that you are scared of running updates in case something breaks, you should be backing it up regularly anyway. What happens if your hard disk(s) die(s)? I've found that to be the most common hardware failure after power supplies. I use dirvish to backup my servers. It is in the repos and very easy to setup if you are just a little bit comfortable with the command line. It is very efficient and most importantly it is focussed on providing good archives to restore from, rather than just well compressed backups. It also does incremental backups, so if you update and something is borked, you can just restore the previous day's (or hour's!) backup and you're back where you were. The archives just appear as file trees, just like the real disk. I've been using it for years and am very comfortable with it, so happy to answer dirvish specific questions if anyone's interested.
"Answers satisfy the mind, mysteries capture the heart." -- David Gate