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Thread: Howto: Backup and restore your system!

  1. #601
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    35

    Re: Howto: Backup and restore your system!

    Ok, the thought of losing data scares the bejeezus out of me. Not so with the o/s as that can always be recreated. So for my ex's business I set up a Ubuntu server that had /home and /group directories for 4-5 users who logged in from Windoz boxes. The server's storage was 2 by 250Gb hot swappable drives configured for Raid 1. Cool, me thinks, now if a drive crashes all is not lost and the chance of 2 drives going out at the same time is pretty slim.

    Unfortunately, the business was in tornado/thunderstorm alley and a month ago the Almighty decided to send 500 megajoules down the power line. The jolt fried the power conditioner, the server mobo and one of the HDs. The other drive was damaged, but a tech managed to recover enough data to keep the business running, just. So my idea of having redundancy/backup didn't work 100%. In hindsight, I think a better option would have been not to RAID the drives but instead to have a master drive with everything on it and use the second drive as a backup that would only be inserted when the backup was to run and be kept in safe storage at all other times.

    If I read this howto properly, this may answer my prayers, So let me run my plan past you gurus and feel free to shoot me down.

    1. Rebuild the system, with all user info, data etc on a single drive.
    2. On a weekly (or other convenient) basis, insert the second drive.
    3. Run the code mentioned in the howto and backup EVERYTHING to the second drive,
    4. Unmount the second drive and store it somewhere safe... like in grandma's knickers (nothing ever gets there).
    5. Repeat steps 2-4 and wait for the next catastrophe.

    Assuming the system does get slammed again:
    6. Replace any damaged components and boot the server using a live-cd.
    7. Retrieve the backup drive from grandma and insert into the second drive bay... mount if necessary.
    8. Restore from the second drive to the new first drive as per this howto.
    9. Shut the server down, remove the second (backup) drive and the live-cd.
    10. Reboot the system.

    Obvious questions is, will this work or is some other intervention required?

    Regards

  2. #602
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    Switzerland
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    Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin

    Re: Howto: Backup and restore your system!

    Quote Originally Posted by The Minder View Post
    1. Rebuild the system, with all user info, data etc on a single drive.
    Why not use mirroring? And while you're at it: Have an electrician take a look at your server room and let him suggest proper measures to make sure that such disasters don't happen again. We have a ton of UPS's in our server room which make sure that power remains on a constant level. And if power fails the UPS's will tell the servers to properly shut down (it's just a matter of configuring this).

    Quote Originally Posted by The Minder View Post
    2. On a weekly (or other convenient) basis, insert the second drive.
    Spinning a harddrive up and down shortens its lifetime. Attaching harddrives for the purpose of making backups is OK for the home user (I do that myself via USB harddisks), but you're doing this for a business, right? Why not invest in magnetic tapes? DDS/DAT or DLT/LTO tapes can survive a lot more and for decades longer than a harddisk. Current LTO tapes can take as much as 800 GB of data. And the best thing is: You don't even need special backup software. "tar" will happily talk to your tapes too (so instead of specifying a *.tar.gz file that you are writing your backup to you will specify the tape drive as target instead, e.g. /dev/nst0 ). So you'd regularly have your stuff backed up onto those 800 GB LTO tapes, and once every week you send one tape off-site to a secure location, e.g. a storage facility? Or a bank safe? Or to one of the Swiss "data bunker" companies here who have their own private nuke-proof bunkers deep inside the Swiss Alps? It's all just a question of how important your data really is to you and how much money you are willing to spend for keeping it safe and outside the reach of natural disasters.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Minder View Post
    3. Run the code mentioned in the howto and backup EVERYTHING to the second drive,
    Whatever you do: TEST IT + DOCUMENT IT. A backup is worth absolutely NOTHING if you can't get your data back when you need to. So whatever way you take in the end: Have this stuff tested!

    1. Recreate your servers
    2. Make backups
    3. Then simulate a disaster: Swap the perfectly working harddrives with empty ones (simulating data loss) or if you have the guts: Destroy your own data ... yes, on purpose

    4. Find out if your backup was worth anything by restoring.
    5. Have someone measure the time and observe what is going on, have people take notes.

    6. Once you got the restore working it's time to sit together and to discuss the observations: What worked OK? What did not work OK? Which improvements are required? Does everyone who needs to know really know what to do if and when disaster strikes?

    Quote Originally Posted by The Minder View Post
    4. Unmount the second drive and store it somewhere safe... like in grandma's knickers (nothing ever gets there).
    As I said ... If this is for a business I'd suggest you buy a tape based backup solution. A simple DDS/DAT tape drive (fits into a standard harddrive slot) should do. DDS tapes can hold between 4 GB (DDS2) up to 160 GB (DDS160; introduced 2007) per tape.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_Data_Storage

    LTO tape solutions are way more expensive, but if you have lots of files to backup it pays off; present-day LTO-4 tapes can hold up to 800 GB
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linear_Tape-Open

    Quote Originally Posted by The Minder View Post
    Assuming the system does get slammed again:
    6. Replace any damaged components and boot the server using a live-cd.
    7. Retrieve the backup drive from grandma and insert into the second drive bay... mount if necessary.
    8. Restore from the second drive to the new first drive as per this howto.
    9. Shut the server down, remove the second (backup) drive and the live-cd.
    10. Reboot the system.
    Hmmm ... Why not configure a second server as standby machine? This would keep downtime shorter.

  3. #603
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    35

    Re: Howto: Backup and restore your system!

    Scorp123,

    Thanks for the response, you offered much good advice.

    The system in question did had UPS, but the lightning strike took it out, and almost every electrical device in the town. This was lightning of biblical proportions and not uncommon in this area, so the chances of a re-occurrence are not remote. It therefore comes down to an issue of cost as decent lightning protection systems can run into the $100k's; worth more than the business. Hence the need to be able to toss out damaged equipment and get the client back up and running with ease and minimal data loss. Some sort of system/data backup (as explained in the howto) would seem to fit the bill.

    I agree that tapes are a good option and will consider it closely for the next build, however the cost of hard drives these days makes them almost a disposable item. I also agree that off site storage of the 'backup' is the only way to go. I have seen too many instances where a catastrophe has taken out a system and the backup because they were stored within inches/feet of each other... fire has no friends.

    Again, thanks for the response.

  4. #604
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    Davison, Michigan, U.S.A.
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    997

    Re: Howto: Backup and restore your system!

    I managed to mount my file syatem using livecd. It is mounted at /mnt/ubuntu.

    When I open the file browser I go to /mnt/ubuntu and there is my file system such as /mnt/ubuntu/home/daryl/etc....

    At the start of this thread in post #1 it says to restore my system by issueing "tar xvpfz backup.tgz -C /", AFTER doing a "cd" into the "/" of my system.
    That works fine from inside my OPERATING system. But not from the livecd.

    From inside a livecd what do I put in place of the "/"? Do I "tar xvpfz backup.tgz -C /" or "tar xvpfz backup.tgz -C /mnt/ubuntu" or what?

    I can do a "cd /mnt/ubuntu/home" for instance, but how do I make sure that I am inside the "/" of my file system to do a restore using "tar xvpfz backup.tgz -C /"?

    I hope this makes sense.
    Last edited by sofasurfer; June 25th, 2008 at 07:57 AM.

  5. #605
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    Re: Howto: Backup and restore your system!

    Another way of stating this is, Assuming that my systen is trashed, how do I restore my system, as stated in post #1, from a livecd?

    Thank you.

  6. #606
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
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    Re: Howto: Backup and restore your system!

    I recently installed linbaku, which makes a compressed file of your entire system. I had it create the file on an external hard drive. To test the program, I re-installed 8.04. I did no updates. I installed linbaku and ran the restore from the external disk. My system was restored with no problems. One note - if you are installing on 64-bit Ubuntu you have to isntall the 32-bit utils first.

  7. #607
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    Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin

    Re: Howto: Backup and restore your system!

    Quote Originally Posted by sofasurfer View Post
    Another way of stating this is, Assuming that my systen is trashed, how do I restore my system, as stated in post #1, from a livecd?
    Maybe it's inpolite to "sound my own trumpet" here ... but please read this here:
    http://linuxmint.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3969

    Relevant for you is "Step #4: Packing your partitions into *.tar.gz archives" (a bit further down that page) and "How to restore your partitions via the archives" right after that.

    It explains the necessary shell commands step by step.

  8. #608
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    Re: Howto: Backup and restore your system!

    dlmoak and scorp123.
    Thanks. Good stuff. I was always intimidated to try the tar command but it turns out that theres nothing to it. Still working out some details but getting closer.

    Will try linbaku this weekend. Looks good.

  9. #609
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    Re: Howto: Backup and restore your system!

    Quote Originally Posted by scorp123 View Post
    Maybe it's inpolite to "sound my own trumpet" here ... but please read this here:
    http://linuxmint.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3969

    Relevant for you is "Step #4: Packing your partitions into *.tar.gz archives" (a bit further down that page) and "How to restore your partitions via the archives" right after that.

    It explains the necessary shell commands step by step.
    Thanks for that. I did a backup/restore today with this method but my system was rendered useless still because of the issue with UUIDs in fstab and grub. Your guide helped two systems back to life so thank you again

  10. #610
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    Re: Howto: Backup and restore your system!

    Quote Originally Posted by sofasurfer View Post
    Will try linbaku this weekend. Looks good.
    Report please your findigs.
    z ʇ ı ɹ ɟ ʇ ı ɹ ʞ s u ɐ s archlinux
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    Never leave your partner behind

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