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Best Backup Server Option For University TV Station?

samzenpus posted more than 4 years ago | from the saving-the-reruns dept.

Linux 272

idk07002 writes 'I have been tasked with building an offsite backup server for my university's television station to back up our Final Cut Pro Server and our in-office file server (a Drobo), in case the studio spontaneously combusts. Total capacity between these two systems is ~12TB. Not at all full yet, but we would like the system to have the same capacity so that we can get maximum life out of it. It looks like it would be possible to get rack space somewhere on campus with Gigabit Ethernet and possibly fiber coming into our office. Would a Linux box with rsync work? What is the sweet spot between value and longevity? What solution would you use?'

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Done to death. (5, Funny)

Zlurg (591611) | more than 4 years ago | (#29449669)

Holy crap we're approaching the need for an Ask Slashdot FAQ. I feel old.

Re:Done to death. (5, Informative)

Magic5Ball (188725) | more than 4 years ago | (#29449739)

Cue usual discussion about defining the problem correctly, choose the right tool for the job, etc.

Specifically:
"Would a Linux box with rsync work?" - It depends on the objective business requirements you've defined or been given. If those requirements include "has to be implemented on Foo operating system", then those requirements are not just for a backup solution.

"What is the sweet spot between value and longevity?" - Simple: Graph accumulated TCO/time based on quotes from internal and external service providers. Throw in some risk/mitigation. Find the plot which best meets your cost/time/business requirements.

"What solution would you use?" - Almost certainly not the solution you would use, because my needs are different. What is your backup strategy? What are your versioning requirements? What are your retention requirements? (How) do you validate data? Who should have access? What is an acceptable speed for access to archived data? What's an acceptable recovery scenario/timeline, etc.

If you do not already know the answers to those questions, or how to find reasonable answers, ask neighboring university TV stations until you find one which has implemented a backup solution with similar business requirements as your's, and copy and paste the appropriate bits. You'll likely get better answers from people who have solved your exact problem before if you search Google for the appropriate group/mailing list for your organization's level of operating complexity, and ask there instead of asking generalists on slashdot, and hoping that someone from your specialist demographic is also here.

Re:Done to death. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29449911)

you fuck hole

Re:Done to death. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29450049)

I like fuck holes.

Re:Done to death. (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 4 years ago | (#29450433)

So, some quick answers here:

"Would a Linux box with rsync work?" - It depends on the objective business requirements you've defined or been given. If those requirements include "has to be implemented on Foo operating system", then those requirements are not just for a backup solution.

However, the fact that it's been suggested means it probably would work. A better solution (also old enough to be in the FAQ) is rdiffbackup.

"What solution would you use?" - Almost certainly not the solution you would use, because my needs are different.

True, you often need a custom solution. Just as often, a generic solution works. For much of the population, if they're on OS X, I'd say use Time Machine. If they like Internet backup, I'd say use Jungle Disk. And so on.

In this case, yes, there are questions that need to be asked regarding the volume of data. But the differences between various backup schemes really aren't that big -- in this case, a linux server and rsync (or rdiffbackup) sounds like it'd work, and since it's a backup server, any RAID level other than 0 should be sufficient.

Re:Done to death. (5, Funny)

neiras (723124) | more than 4 years ago | (#29449745)

I feel old.

Well, your UID makes you older than me.

I SAID, YOUR UID MAKES YOU OLDER THAN ME.

Also, my name is NOT "sonny boy", and this is my lawn, not yours. Where do you think you are, old timer?

Re:Done to death. (4, Funny)

Barny (103770) | more than 4 years ago | (#29449803)

/me loads his shotgun and squints

Just walk away kid, real slow, and keep your hands where I can see em

Re:Done to death. (4, Funny)

ndege (12658) | more than 4 years ago | (#29450107)

What? Can't hear ya...you gotta speak up!

Re:Done to death. (2, Funny)

ge (12698) | more than 4 years ago | (#29450245)

Calm down, grandpa....

Re:Done to death. (1)

Quentusrex (866560) | more than 4 years ago | (#29450159)

Now I feel young...

Re:Done to death. (2)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 4 years ago | (#29449871)

Especially since this isn't even an "Ask Slashdot", it's in the "Linux" category. It's just the editors not reading their own site. "Throw this out there, this should be some red meat for the troops," that sort of thing.

Re:Done to death. (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 4 years ago | (#29450587)

The correct answers change every week.

Final Cut has a solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29449677)

Use Final Cut Server.

Build a Backblaze Storage Pod. (4, Interesting)

neiras (723124) | more than 4 years ago | (#29449713)

Try one of these babies [backblaze.com] on for size. 67TB for about $8,000.

There's a full parts list and a Solidworks model so you can get your local sheet metal shop to build cases for you.

Talk to a mechanical engineering student on campus, they can probably help with that.

Re:Build a Backblaze Storage Pod. (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29449785)

You might have mentioned the Slashdot article [slashdot.org] on these from two weeks ago.

Jimmy Carter is a senile old fool. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29449919)

He's the most insufferable fool in all the world.

Different Solutions (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29450079)

My university is developing a local backup and co-location data center, and I have been one of the major forces in decided what software we go with. If you are looking for linux style freedom, as mentioned before, rsync is all you need. If you happen to be looking for something more professionly supported, there are many options, but I will tell you some of what I have seen. At significant cost, the primary system I run into is EVault, which works ok, is very stable, and doesnt have too many crazy features. Offsetting that is the horrible, and I mean horrible, cost. Acronis just (as in like less than a month ago) came out with their new backup product, which they even give a free trial for. It does bare metal restore among other things, and I was very impressd with it, but it didnt meet some of my requirements and I didnt get to play with it much more. On the cheaper more jenky side of things, I have tried NovaStor backup products with overall horrendouse results, stay away completely from them. (things like being able to export data directly to a removable drive for first time transfer is ridiculous!) I am very impressed with a completely off the wall solution called RBackup. It seems at first very "made in india" but it has tons of features that are easy to understand (being brandable is a big plus) and generally can be setup quickly or very granularly. If your using a windows system you should check it out.I have also looked at symantecs and other things, but these so far are a few of the major players in the "I want to remote backup my own data to my own servers" category (which excludes lots of stuff) Since I am still in the review process, I am also curious to see what other people say. I can also tell you that I have setup almost 4 drobos now and they really rock, so your doing good on that front!

Re:Different Solutions (4, Interesting)

mlts (1038732) | more than 4 years ago | (#29450553)

Backups for UNIX, backups for Windows, and backups all across the board almost require different solutions.

For an enterprise "catch all" solution, I'd go with TSM, Backup Exec, or Networker. These programs can pretty much back up anything that has a CPU, although you will be paying for that privilege.

If I were in an AIX environment, I'd use sysback for local machine backups and backups to a remote server.

If I were in a general UNIX environment, I'd use bru (it used to be licensed with IRIX, and has been around so long, it works without issue with any UNIX variant.) Of course, there are other solutions that work just as well, both freeware, and commercial.

If I were in a solidly Windows environment, I'd use Retrospect, or Backup Exec. Both are good utilities and support synthetic full backups so you don't need to worry about a full/differential/incremental schedule.

If I were in a completely mixed environment, I'd consider Retrospect (it can back up a few UNIX variants as well as Macs), Backup Exec, or an enterprise level utility that can back up virtually anything.

Please note, these are all commercial solutions. Bacula, Amanda, tar over ssh, rsync, and many others can work just as well, and likely will be a lot lighter on the pocketbook. However, for a business, some enterprise features like copying media sets, or backing up a database while it is online to tape or other media for offsite storage may be something to consider for maximum protection.

The key is figuring out what you need for restores. A backup system that is ideal for a bare metal restore may be a bit clunky if you have a machine with a stock Ubuntu config and just a few documents in your home directory. However, having 12 terabytes on Mozy, and needing to reinstall box from scratch that has custom apps with funky license keys would be a hair puller. Best thing is to use some method of backups for "oh crap" bare metal stuff, then an offsite service just in case you lose your backups at that location.

Figure out your scenario too. Are multiple Drobos good enough, or do you need offsite storage in case the facility is flooded? Is tape an option? Tape is notoriously expensive per drive, but is very economical once you start using multiple cartridges. Can you get away with plugging in external USB/SATA/IEEE 1394 hard disks, backing to them, then plopping them in the Iron Mountain tub?

Re:Build a Backblaze Storage Pod. (4, Interesting)

illumin8 (148082) | more than 4 years ago | (#29450257)

Try one of these babies on for size. 67TB for about $8,000.

There's a full parts list and a Solidworks model so you can get your local sheet metal shop to build cases for you.

Talk to a mechanical engineering student on campus, they can probably help with that.

Better yet, just subscribe to Backblaze and pay $5 a month for your server. Problem solved.

Re:Build a Backblaze Storage Pod. (1)

Firehed (942385) | more than 4 years ago | (#29450333)

For that much data, that's only a practical solution if you've got a dedicated 100Mbit or faster (1Gbit?) line just to upload. And downloading the data back is going to take quite some time as well.

Plus I think the $5/mo is only for home/personal use - that tends to be the case with most of their competition at least.

Re:Build a Backblaze Storage Pod. (3, Insightful)

mlts (1038732) | more than 4 years ago | (#29450411)

Remote storage at a provider like Backblace, Mozy, or Carbonite is a good tertiary level backup, just in case your site goes down, but you are limited by your Internet pipe. A full restore of terabytes of videos through a typical business Internet connection will take a long time, perhaps days. Of course, one could order a hard disk or several from the backup company, but then you are stuck waiting for the data to physically arrive.

Remote storage is one solution, but before that, you have to have local ones in place for a faster recovery should a disaster happen. The first line of defense against hard disk stuff is RAID. The second line of defense would be a decent tape drive, a tape rotation, and offsite capabilities. This way, if you lose everything on your RAID (malware or a blackhat formats the volume), you can stuff in a tape, sit on pins and needles for a couple hours, and get your stuff back, perhaps back a day or two.

For a number of machines, the best thing to have would be a backup server with a large array and D2D2T (disk to disk to tape) capabilities so you can do fast backups through the network (or perhaps through a dedicate backup fabric), then when you can, copy them to the tapes for offline storage and the tub to Iron Mountain.

Of course, virtually all distributed backup utilities support encryption. Use it. Even if it is just movies.

Re:Build a Backblaze Storage Pod. (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 4 years ago | (#29450461)

Problem: Windows/Mac only.

redundancy, anyone? (1)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 4 years ago | (#29450301)

Recommending a backup solution where if one power supply dies you immediately corrupt the entire array? Yeah, that's JUST what he needs...

Re:redundancy, anyone? (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 4 years ago | (#29450471)

So build two.

A backup server doesn't need redundancy if it's a backup server.

Re:redundancy, anyone? (4, Interesting)

mysidia (191772) | more than 4 years ago | (#29450711)

The hard drives are desktop class, not designed for 24x7 operation. Not designed for massive write traffic that server backups generates.

Latent defects on disks are a real concern.

You write your data to a disk, but there's a bad sector, or miswrite, and when you go back later (perhaps when you need the backup), there are errors on the data you are reading from the disk.

Moreover, you have no way of detecting it, or deciding which array has recorded the "right value" for that bit...

That is, unless every bit has been copied to 3 arrays.

And every time you read data, you compare all 3. (Or that you have two copies and a checksum)

Well, the complexity of this redundancy reduces the reliability overall, and it has a cost.

Re:Build a Backblaze Storage Pod. (1)

coffee_bouzu (1037062) | more than 4 years ago | (#29450505)

Try one of these babies [backblaze.com] on for size. 67TB for about $8,000.

That could only be a good idea for large installations like backblaze. You need to have lots of spares of everything, extra capacity for failures and someone on call to fix the thing when it breaks. There is almost no redundancy and they use consumer grade hardware which means that there will be very regular hardware failures. If you have a ton of the things, this isn't so much of an issue and it probably does end up being cheaper. But using just a couple, much less one of those things would be an exercise in sheer stupidity.

I think that it all depends on what your budget is and what you have access to. You don't need fibre unless its already there and you have the hardware and knowledge to use it. Those cards ain't cheap and would add much complication. Unless you have huge amounts of data (on the scale of several hundred GB or more) changing on a daily basis or can't afford to lose anything at all in case of catastrophic failure, just use the gigE or 100M that is already in place. If that isn't enough, you should really be looking at systems that are designed for remote replication and that gets really expensive, really fast.

Are you looking for an off-site mirror or backups? Those are not the same thing and you need to make sure that you know which you really need. I sincerely doubt that you need to be worrying about recovery time if the building burns down. Just worry about reducing the risk of data loss in the event of failure.

For backups, KISS is the most important thing. If something in the university is already in place, use that. Backup administration is a PITA and you're going to have to hand it off to someone once you leave (assuming you're a student) who may know almost nothing about computers. The simpler the system is to use, the easier the handoff is going to be and the less the people after you will hate you. Someone else mentioned asking the IT department if they offer any backup programs. That would be the best solution, I think. More expensive on paper, possibly but not likely. More expensive overall, I doubt it.

If you end up building a backup server, take into account hardware failures and how much time people can spend to babysit the thing. ZFS has some awesome features, but I don't think that I would use it with anything other than Solaris or maybe BSD. There is no way that I'm going to trust backups to FUSE for linux. Then again, I don't think that ext3 or ext4 would be my first choices, either. Personally, I would probably go with JFS with linux if you have 12TB and growing. Look into external storage arrays. I'm not so familiar with this price range, but HP's MSA 2000 or something comparable might be a good choice if you have the $$$. Just remember to budget for replacement drives if you go the hard drive based route. I'm using a hard drive backed backup solution at work and BackupPC is what I have been using for software. I have been pretty happy with it so far. Its free, it works and has some really good features (like intelligent backup so that it doesn't just blindly store 20 copies of the same file) but has a bit of a learning curve. Nothing like Zmanda's MySQL backup but it needs a little more than a few clicks. I also wish it didn't hit the backup targets so hard but that may not be an issue for you.

I know that there is the temptation to do something really cool and roll your own. I get that temptation a lot, too but you need to ask yourself if you're doing it for fun or to get the job done. If its the former, good for you and I'm jealous but I suspect its the latter. Do the minimum to satisfy the requirements with the least amount of required maintenance and the least cost. Let IT worry about backup systems if you can. That way you can worry about making television programs instead of checking up on the backup server whenever something hiccups or WHEN (not if) hardware fails.

I hope that my rambling helped a little. Good luck in figuring this out.

Re:Build a Backblaze Storage Pod. (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 4 years ago | (#29450681)

Maybe, but you will need at least 3 of them and some pretty smart software to have reasonable reliability. The cheapness of backblaze's pods comes from cutting a lot of corners in the hardware.

If you look at the design of Backblaze, this is not server grade equipment: they have two power supplies, but they are not redundant, and these are desktop power supplies not designed to be operated 24/7/365.

If PSU B goes out, a large number of your disk drives and fans go offline; so you lose data and maybe burn up.

And PSU A powers the mainboard...

The disks used by Backblaze are Seagate 7200.11.

These are desktop drives, not designed for 24x7 operation like in a backup server, MTBF stats are based on 1200 power-on hours per year.

Hello... silent data corruption. The last thing you need is for the time to come when you want to restore your backup, and you find latent defects on some of your disks means there are errors in the bits that got saved.

Need more information (5, Insightful)

belthize (990217) | more than 4 years ago | (#29449715)

A couple of details you'd need to fill in before people could give legitimate advice.

What's the rate of change of that 12TB. Is it mostly static or mostly dynamic. I would assume it's mostly write once read rarely video but maybe not.

Do you have a budget ? As cheap as practical or is there leeway for bells/whistles.

Is this just disaster recovery. You say if the station gets slagged you want a backup. How quickly do you want to restore. Minutes, hours, next day ?

Do you need historical dumps ? Will anybody want data as it existed last month ?

Is it just data you're dumping or some windows App complete with Windows registry junk that needs to be restored (don't know anything about Final cut pro)

If you just want to dump data and restore isn't critical, you just need to be able to do it in some time frame then sure rsync'ing to some striped 6 (or 12) TB SATA array is plenty good.

Re:Need more information (5, Informative)

Krondor (306666) | more than 4 years ago | (#29449981)

The parent is absolutely right. We don't have enough details to really make a recommendation, but if the question is 'can rsync replicate 12 TB with an average rate of churn over a 1 Gbps link reliably'? The answer is an emphatic and resounding YES!

I used to maintain an rsync disaster recovery clone that was backing up multiple NetWare, Linux, Unix, and Windows servers to a central repository in excess of 20 TB over primarily 100 Mbps links. We found that our average rate of churn was 1% / day which was easily accomplished. It was all scripted out with Perl and would notify on job status each night or failures. Very easy to slap together and rock solid for the limited scope we defined.

When you get into more specifics on HA, DR recovery turn around times, maintained permissions, databases and in use files, versioning, etc.. things can get significantly more complicated.

Re:Need more information (2, Informative)

mcrbids (148650) | more than 4 years ago | (#29450699)

I second that motion....

We do something similar with rsync, backing up about 6-8 TB of data. We have php scripts that manage it all and version the backups, keeping them as long as disk space allows. Heck, you can even have a copy of our scripts [effortlessis.com] free of charge!

With these scripts, and a cheap-o tower computer with huge power supply and mondo cheap, SATA drives, we manage to reliably backup a half-dozen busy servers off-site, off-network, to a different city over the Internet automagically every night.

Yes, more information is needed, blah blah blah. But it's definitely a feasible idea.

Re:Need more information (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29450131)

>

Is it just data you're dumping or some windows App complete with Windows registry junk that needs to be restored (don't know anything about Final cut pro)

If you think Windows registry junk could possibly be involved with Apple's pro video software, you are quite right, you don't know anything about it.

Re:Need more information (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29450383)

you also forgot; "In the cosmic scheme of things, does this data really matter?"

Typically, when one comes to a digital existential crisis, it pales in comparison to the real thing.

backup solutions... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29449717)

One of the most reliable backup solutions I have put in place for most of my clients is "acronis"....It does a great job backing up across a network just schedule it for during the night as it will take some bandwith ... I deal with ems/911 servers and backups is one of the most important things I recommend to anyone... My setup for one of my biggest clients is...A dedicated server running "Acronis" with a 1 tb of hd space backing up 3 mid size servers... every night...

Amazon S3 (1)

theNetImp (190602) | more than 4 years ago | (#29449727)

Why build and maintain a server, just push it to amazon.

Re:Amazon S3 (3, Informative)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 4 years ago | (#29449959)

Why do anything when you can pay someone else twice as much? 12TB from Amazon will be an order of magnitude more expensive [backblaze.com] than just running a storage server, and you have to pay for internet bandwidth instead of just running a wire.

Re:Amazon S3 (1)

Iguanadon (1173453) | more than 4 years ago | (#29450003)

Why build and maintain a server, just push it to amazon.

12000GB * $0.15/GB = $1800 a month. That's $21,600 a year. S3 is great for some things, terabytes upon terabytes of archival storage isn't it. That's not including the time (or bandwidth cost) it will take to upload all the data to the server...

Re:Amazon S3 (1)

mlts (1038732) | more than 4 years ago | (#29450585)

I almost see a market niche for an archival cloud provider with a lot less of a price premium than Amazon's cloud. The caveat would be that the customer is not getting instant access to data that is archived off. The archives are restorable in nowhere near real time (as the server has to retrieve the customer's info from tape and copy it to a drive array for transfer back).

This would be similar to Mozy or Carbonite, but the data would persist indefinitely once copied, instead of having old versions of it evaporate in a number of days.

This way, someone can play a cloud provider "X" amount to store some data permanently, copy it up, and essentially forget about it until its needed for an audit. Of course, pricing will need to be done right because there wouldn't be a constant income stream coming in. Perhaps a yearly maintainence fee would cover this. Pricing for volume of data would have to be included too, so people don't just shove the contents of every single computer up every several weeks for a constant price.

FreeBSD/Linux + Rsync (3, Insightful)

mnslinky (1105103) | more than 4 years ago | (#29449731)

That's all you need. We even use a script to create versioned backups going back six months using perl as a wrapper.

Assuming the same paths, edit to your liking. I've made the scripts available at http://www.secure-computing.net/rsync/ [secure-computing.net] if you're interested. It requires the system you're running the script for have root ssh access to the boxes it's backing up. We use password-less ssh keys for authentication.

The README file has the line I use in my crontab. I didn't write the script, but I've made a few modifications to it over the years.

Re:FreeBSD/Linux + Rsync (4, Informative)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 4 years ago | (#29449759)

Actually, I'd suggest using OpenSolaris so that you can take advantage of ZFS. Managing large filesystems and pools of disks is *stupidly* easy with ZFS.

You could also do it with Linux, but that would require you to use FUSE, which has a considerable performance penalty. I'm not sure about the state of ZFS on FreeBSD, although I imagine that the Solaris implementation is going to be the most stable and complete. (For what it's worth, I've been doing backups via ZFS/FUSE on Ubuntu for about a year without any major problems)

Re:FreeBSD/Linux + Rsync (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29450059)

Actually, I'd suggest using OpenSolaris so that you can take advantage of ZFS. Managing large filesystems and pools of disks is *stupidly* easy with ZFS.

You could also do it with Linux, but that would require you to use FUSE, which has a considerable performance penalty. I'm not sure about the state of ZFS on FreeBSD, although I imagine that the Solaris implementation is going to be the most stable and complete. (For what it's worth, I've been doing backups via ZFS/FUSE on Ubuntu for about a year without any major problems)

The FreeBSD port of ZFS actually works pretty damn nicely. I'm using a RAID Z configuration on my FreeBSD 7.2 server and it works great!

Re:FreeBSD/Linux + Rsync (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29450361)

I just started using Nexenta -- it's a Debian userland on top of an OpenSolaris kernel.
So far, it works very well -- the advantages of Debian's packaging system with advantages of OpenSolaris (e.g. ZFS)

It's a good stepping stone for those used to linux (you just have to relearn some system command usage, system config, service management, etc)

http://www.nexenta.org [nexenta.org]

Re:FreeBSD/Linux + Rsync (1)

fnj (64210) | more than 4 years ago | (#29450491)

We even use a script to create versioned backups going back six months using perl as a wrapper.

Kudos for publishing the code! Can you comment on your script vs rsnapshot [rsnapshot.org] , which is an established incremental rsync based solution which also uses hard links to factor out unchanging files? Rsnapshot is also a perl script, by the way.

Yes, you MUST use Linux! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29449733)

Your disaster recovery strategy is totally irrelevant. You don't need off-site backups. All that matter is that you make sure you use (and mention) Linux at any cost. A nuke could drop on the university but because you used Linux all your data will remain safe.

Check with the university (5, Insightful)

darkjedi521 (744526) | more than 4 years ago | (#29449747)

Does your university have a backup solution you can make use of? The one I work at lets researchers onto their Tivoli system for the cost of the tapes. I think I've got somewhere in the neighborhood of 100TB on the system and ended up being the driving force behind a migration from LTO-2 to LTO-4 this summer. If you are going to go and role your own and use disks, I'd recommend something with ZFS - you can make a snapshot after every backup so you can do point in time restores.

Also, I'd recommend more capacity on backup than you have now to allow versioning. I was the admin for a university film production recently (currently off at I believe Technicolor being put to IMAX) and I've lost track of the number of times I had to dig yesterday's or last week's version off of tape because someone made a mistake that was uncorrectable.

Here's my idea (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29449765)

Horsecock. A fire made of horsecock.

Just build a clone (3, Insightful)

pla (258480) | more than 4 years ago | (#29449795)

What solution would you use?

First of all, I love linux. Use it for my own file servers, and media machines, and routers, and pretty much everything except desktops.

That said...

For your task, I would probably just build an exact duplicate of the "real" machine and sync them nightly. Always keep in mind that if you have no way to quickly recover from a disaster, you don't actually have a backup.


That said, and if possible, I would also build the "backup" machine with more storage than the "real" machine. As someone else pointed out, you'll probably discover within a few days that your food-chain-superiors have no concept of "redundancy" vs "backup" vs "I can arbitrarily roll my files back to any second in the past 28 years". Having at least nightly snapshotting, unless your entire dataset changes rapidly, won't eat much extra disk space but will make you sleep ever so much better.

Re:Just build a clone (0, Flamebait)

nine-times (778537) | more than 4 years ago | (#29450023)

I'm glad someone brought up the difference between redundancy/failover and backup. If you really care about your data, mirroring to another server isn't a much better backup solution than using RAID with mirroring. It protects you against hardware damage, but not necessarily against data corruption or data loss. If you're going to rsync to another server, you should look into having it keep backups instead of overwriting when something changes.

As you mentioned, nightly snapshots are a great way of handling it, too. However, I still like the idea of writing to tape periodically. Writing to tape provides a real backup instead of just a mirror, it's easy to send them offsite, in some ways they're less fragile than hard drives and supposedly easier to recover if they do break. Also, depending on how much is changing how often, rsyncing might use up a crap-ton of bandwidth (though apparently that's not as big a deal in the submitter's case, since he has GigE).

On the other hand, your suggestion of building a duplicate of the "real" machine has a benefit that other backup solutions don't: in the case of a real disaster, you not only have your data saved on another machine, but you can use the backup while you recover the original server. On the other hand, I don't know how much to trust a Drobo device, so in this particular case I might suggest getting some heavier equipment. (Or are Drobos actually good? I've never used one.)

Of course, there's another issue that I haven't seen anyone bring up, which is: is all of this data vital? You have 12 TB of storage, but is all of that completely irreplaceable, necessary data? Are some of those temporary files, scratch files, working files, or cache? Is any of it just dumb crap that you don't care about? It may seem like a dumb question, in every company I've worked for, if you give the employees free access to any amount of space, they'll fill it up. They'll have 20 copies of the same file, and someone will have put their 100GB MP3 collection on the server if you don't keep them from doing it. If you can organize the files and sort the necessary files from the crap, you might be able to cut down on the amount you need to back up.

Then again, storage is so cheap, maybe you don't care.

Re:Just build a clone (1)

SheeEttin (899897) | more than 4 years ago | (#29450099)

For your task, I would probably just build an exact duplicate of the "real" machine and sync them nightly. Always keep in mind that if you have no way to quickly recover from a disaster, you don't actually have a backup.

Of course, the only problem with that is if you have a hardware failure on-site, the backup, being built of the same thing, is probably going to fail about the same time.

Re:Just build a clone (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 4 years ago | (#29450297)

First of all, I love linux. Use it for my own file servers, and media machines, and routers, and pretty much everything except desktops.

Why wouldn't you use it for your desktops?

rdiff-backup: like rsync with versioning (5, Interesting)

Z8 (1602647) | more than 4 years ago | (#29449805)

You may want to check out rdiff-backup [nongnu.org] also. It produces a mirror like rsync, and uses a similar algorithm, but keeps reverse binary diffs in a separate directory so you can restore to previous states. However, because it keeps these diffs in addition to the mirror, it's better if you have more space on the backup side.

There are a few different frontends/guis to it but I don't have experience with them.

Re:rdiff-backup: like rsync with versioning (2, Interesting)

metalhed77 (250273) | more than 4 years ago | (#29450009)

I love rdiff backup but I'd never use it on any large datasets. I attempted to use it on ~ 600 GB of data once with about 20GB of additions every month and it ran dog slow. As in taking 6+ hours to run every day (there were a lot of small files, dunno if that was the killer).

For larger datasets, like what the poster has, I'd go with a more comprehensive backup system, like bacula. I use that to backup about 12TB and it's rock solid and fast. There's a bit of a learning curve, but the documentation is very good.

If Bacula is too intimidating rsnapshot would be a viable route, it's similar to rdiff-backup, but simpler (pretty much just rsync + cp using hard links), faster, and easier to use. It's not as space efficient, but diffing video data is probably a waste of time anyway.

Re:rdiff-backup: like rsync with versioning (1)

pla (258480) | more than 4 years ago | (#29450055)

You may want to check out rdiff-backup also. It produces a mirror like rsync, and uses a similar algorithm, but keeps reverse binary diffs in a separate directory so you can restore to previous states.

Seriously people, learn the tools you have available on any stock Linux system.

Even assuming you run a much older system with an FS that doesn't support online snapshotting... "cp -al <source> <destination>". Period.

Re:rdiff-backup: like rsync with versioning (2, Insightful)

Alien Being (18488) | more than 4 years ago | (#29450189)

Do you know what -l does?

consulting on /. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29449817)

seriously why have you not contacted your IT department?

Do you need simply a copy of all your mp3s etc?

Buy a couple of hard drives and do a 1 copy backup if so

If the data is not changing daily from users then you do not really need a true incremental or differential type

An oldie but a goodie (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29449825)

Did you check into CDs?

Why a backup server? (2, Interesting)

cyberjock1980 (1131059) | more than 4 years ago | (#29449845)

Why not a complete duplicate of all of the hardware? If the studio combusts you have an exact copy of everything.. hardware and all. If you use any kind of disk imaging software, you can simply recover to the server with the latest image and lose very little data.

lose the drobo (2, Informative)

AnonymouseClown (800840) | more than 4 years ago | (#29449851)

i recommend losing the drobo as fast as you can - i know 4 people who bought these and all 4 lost data in the first year.

Re:lose the drobo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29450151)

correct. the netgear readynas series is very good.

Re:lose the drobo (2, Interesting)

mlts (1038732) | more than 4 years ago | (#29450603)

I have not heard of any catastrophic data losses firsthand, but I don't like my data stored in a vendor specific format I couldn't dig out by plugging the component drives into another machine.

If you are a homebrew type, you might consider your favorite OS of choice [1] that can do software RAID, building yourself a generic server level PC, and use that for your backups. This way, when you need more drives, you can go to external SATA frames.

[1]: Almost all UNIX variants support RAID 5, Linux supports RAID 6 (two drives as parity), and of course, some BSDs and Solaris support ZFS for RAID-Z. Windows Server 2000, Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2008, and Windows Server 2008R2 support RAID 5.

Automatic internet backup (4, Funny)

Len (89493) | more than 4 years ago | (#29449861)

Everything your TV station broadcasts will automatically be backed up here. [mininova.org]

Re:Automatic internet backup (5, Funny)

Kjella (173770) | more than 4 years ago | (#29450625)

[3 months later]:
<admin@uni> OMG we lost the server... 0 seeds!? somebody seed plz!

BackupPC (3, Informative)

dissy (172727) | more than 4 years ago | (#29449887)

What I use is BackupPC [sf.net] . It's a very nice web front end to tar over ssh.

For linux, all the remote servers need are sshd listening somewhere, and with the backuppc servers public key in an authorizedhosts file. It will pipe tar streams over an ssh connection.

For windows, it can use samba to backup over SMB

I run a copy on my home file server, which backs up all the machines in the house, plus the couple servers I have out in colo.

When it performs an incremental backup, after it is done it will populate its timestamped folder with hardlinks to the last full backup for duped files. so restoring from any incremental will still get the full version no matter when it was last backed up.

Also after each backup, it will do 2 hashes on every file and the previous backup. If the files match, it deletes the second copy and again hardlinks it to the first copy of the file.
I have nearly 3 months worth of backup retention, backups every 3 days (every day on a couple), but for the base system and files that rarely change, each 'copy' does not take up the same amount of disk space.
It is very good at saving disk space.

Heres some stats from its main page as an example

There are 7 hosts that have been backed up, for a total of:
        * 26 full backups of total size 38.34GB (prior to pooling and compression),
        * 43 incr backups of total size 0.63GB (prior to pooling and compression).

Pool is 10.11GB comprising 108499 files and 4369 directories (as of 9/16 01:00),

Restoring gives you a file browser with checkboxes. after you tell it what you want, it can send you a tar(.gz) or .zip file, OR it can directly restore the file via tar over ssh back to the machine it was on, by default in the original location but that can be changed easily too.

The main downside is the learning curve. But once you get things down, you end up just copying other systems as templates, updating the host/port/keyfile/etc settings.
Also, with all those hard links, it makes it a pain to do any file/folder manipulation on its data dir.
Most programs won't recognize the hard link and just copy the file, easily taking up the full amount of storage.

But works just as well with only itself and one remote server.
schedule it to start at night and stop in the morning, set your frequency and how much space to use before it deletes old backups, and let it run.

Re:BackupPC is enterprise grade (1)

t35t0r (751958) | more than 4 years ago | (#29450091)

We backup 15TB nightly (using tar over NFS) with BackupPC running on two servers each with 10TB of storage pulling data from a high performance NAS (BlueArc). We retain 30 days of incremental backups and do a full for the various home directories every 30 days.

Re:BackupPC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29450199)

I agree BackupPC is one of the better front ends and management of rsync for Linux.
Use it, Live it, Love it.

Re:BackupPC (3, Informative)

IceCreamGuy (904648) | more than 4 years ago | (#29450435)

I couldn't agree more; BackupPC is really great. Not only does it support Tar over SSH and SMB, but it also supports rsync over SSH, rsyncd and now in the new beta, FTP. I backup everything to a NAS and then rsync that every weekend to another DR disk (you have to be careful about hardlinks when copying the pool, since it uses them in the de-duplication process). There are several variants of scripts available on the wiki and other sites for initiating shadow copies on Windows boxes, and with a little tinkering you can even get that working on Server 2008, though of course it really shines with *nix boxes. Highly recommended - the only drawbacks are that, as the parent mentioned, the learning curve can be intimidating at first, and the project has been pretty quiet the past few years since the original developer stopped working on it. Amanda (the MySQL backup company) seems to have picked it back up and they are the ones who released the most recent beta. Did I mention it has a really convenient web interface, emails about problems, auto-retries failed backups (while it's not in a blackout period), and somebody wrote a great Nagios plugin for it? I'm pretty sure I did, oh yes definitely.

Re:BackupPC (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29450465)

+1 for BackupPC.

The learning curve to set it up really isn't that bad at all, particularly for linux clients - itll take a couple of hours if you follow the examples. For Windows machines, try the cygwin-rsyncd available on BackupPC's SF site... much better, faster than the samba solution, preserves rights and uses rsync magic to only move changed data.

Re:BackupPC (1)

JayAEU (33022) | more than 4 years ago | (#29450701)

Very true indeed, BackupPC really is a one-stop solution for doing sensible backups of any number of hosts (local or remote) over a long time. The learning curve isn't as steep anymore, since they introduced a more capable web interface.

I also have yet to see another program that does what BackupPC does any faster.

Don't use rsync â" at least, not vanilla (4, Informative)

Jeremy Visser (1205626) | more than 4 years ago | (#29449891)

Don't use rsync to make backups. Because you don't just want to backup against spontaneous combustion â" inevitably, there will be accidental deletions and the like occurring in your studio. If you use rsync (with --delete, as any sane person would, otherwise your backup server will fill up in days, not years), then when some n00b runs `rm -rf ~/ReallyImportantVideos`, they'll be deleted from the backup too.

Remember that pro photography website that went down, because their "backup" was a mirroring RAID setup? Yep â" they lost all their data on one fell swoop when somebody accidentally deleted the whole lot. Don't make the same mistake.

Use an incremental backup tool. Three that come to mind are rdiff-backup [nongnu.org] , Dirvish [dirvish.org] , and BackupPC [sourceforge.net] .

I would think that rdiff-backup would suit your needs best. I currently use BackupPC at home, which is great for home backups, but I think that it's overkill (and possibly a bit limited) for what you want.

Hope this helps!

Re:Don't use rsync â" at least, not vanilla (1)

Jeremy Visser (1205626) | more than 4 years ago | (#29449907)

Oh dear...when will Slashdot learn to escape stuff with UTF-8? On PHP, it's easy -- htmlentities($unsafe, ENT_COMPAT, 'utf-8') will do the trick. Not sure what Perl needs.

Re:Don't use rsync â" at least, not vanilla (3, Informative)

pla (258480) | more than 4 years ago | (#29449991)

Don't use rsync to make backups. Because you don't just want to backup against spontaneous combustion - inevitably, there will be accidental deletions and the like occurring in your studio.

rsync actually includes an option to make hardlinked snapshots as part of the syncing process, nowadays.

Personally, I don't trust it and always do that part manually, then let rsync do what it does best... But yeah, even "vanilla" rsync contains exactly the functionality you mention.

Solaris and ZFS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29449905)

If you are willing to try something a little different, the ZFS file system is ideal for this.

while 1:
    rsync to the zfs filsystem;
    snapshot the zfs filesystem;
    delete snapshots more than 1 week old;

We've found that, for data that doesn't change often, you can use this mirroring technique to "backup" three or four TB in ten minutes.

You could also turn on zfs on the fly compression but it would probably not help here since your source data is likely to be already compressed.

Different Solutions (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29449923)

My company is developing a local backup and co-location data center, and I have been one of the major forces in decided what software we go with. If you are looking for linux style freedom, as mentioned before, rsync is all you need. If you happen to be looking for something more professionly supported, there are many options, but I will tell you some of what I have seen. At significant cost, the primary system I run into is EVault, which works ok, is very stable, and doesnt have too many crazy features. Offsetting that is the horrible, and I mean horrible, cost. Acronis just (as in like less than a month ago) came out with their new backup product, which they even give a free trial for. It does bare metal restore among other things, and I was very impressd with it, but it didnt meet some of my requirements and I didnt get to play with it much more. On the cheaper more jenky side of things, I have tried NovaStor backup products with overall horrendouse results, stay away completely from them. (things like being able to export data directly to a removable drive for first time transfer is ridiculous!) I am very impressed with a completely off the wall solution called RBackup. It seems at first very "made in india" but it has tons of features that are easy to understand (being brandable is a big plus) and generally can be setup quickly or very granularly. If your using a windows system you should check it out.I have also looked at symantecs and other things, but these so far are a few of the major players in the "I want to remote backup my own data to my own servers" category (which excludes lots of stuff) Since I am still in the review process, I am also curious to see what other people say. I can also tell you that I have setup almost 4 drobos now and they really rock, so your doing good on that front!

Try Openfiler (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 4 years ago | (#29450623)

It works. It's iSCSI + CIFS / Windows share. It has clustering and block replication. It's open source and support [openfiler.com] is available. Support is per server - unlimited sockets and storage - so you could really work them with a few hundred PB on a pair of 8 socket/32 core servers. I don't work for them, but they rock!

They're geeks. If you bribe them properly they might come up with a proprietary block level dedupe solution for you.

DAR - disk archive (1)

pseudonomous (1389971) | more than 4 years ago | (#29449965)

If you're considering doing incremental or archival backups I would look into using dar. It's sort of like tar on steriods, and is great little utility. It's also nothing like bleeding edge, runs on both Linux / BSD platforms and has a windows port (that I've neever used). Combining dar w/ ssh and some simple shell scripts might be the sort of solution you're looking for.

another thought (1)

traveler359 (575056) | more than 4 years ago | (#29449971)

The Backblaze hardware setup looks impressive and might be worth a look. As for software how about something like openfiler http://www.openfiler.com/ [openfiler.com] If those 2 could be combined it would make one impressive setup.

Re:another thought (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 4 years ago | (#29450067)

The Rackblaze hardware is trash, if you care at all about data integrity you would run away from it very fast. For not much more get a system with ECC and an ECC bus and use ZFS.

Re:another thought (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 4 years ago | (#29450671)

We're currently having a war between people who think that reliable end-to-end infrastructure is worth unlimited amounts of money to pay for reliable engineering, and people who think that realiable end-to-end infrastructure can be achieved by hardware and software redundancy with off-the-shelf components. Since the former require contact information so you can do a ROI survey with your marketing specialist and the latter have prices on the website you can click on, the latter are winning.

Your guidance on how we can turn this around would be helpful. The Rubes are getting away! How do we get them back?

ZFS replication (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29450025)

ZFS replication and snapshots. Of course, you'd need something which groks ZFS on both sides of the link.

Bacula (2)

TD_3G (595883) | more than 4 years ago | (#29450027)

While our storage needs are nowhere near that size, I can attest to the greatness of Bacula. The hardware part is probably up to you, but as far as software, I cannot preach this software enough. 1) It's completely cross platform in terms of systems you can pull data from. The Director and Storage Daemon run flawlessly on every distro of Linux I've tried it on (Slackware, Debian, and Fedora)... and the restores are easy as pie with some of the available interfaces. Configuration is a pain and can take awhile, but once it's set, you're done. We have 5 servers, two of which are hosted outside the company and we don't even have physical access too... I was able to set these up to work with the same backup solution as if they were local with ease. Other internal servers are Windows 2000 -> Mac OS X... all backup without issue, daily incrementals, weekly diffs, and once a month fulls.

equallogic PS6000 (1)

Rooked_One (591287) | more than 4 years ago | (#29450069)

iSCSI rocks... and these things have everything built in. Seriously cool units. Costly though - but you know where that money goes when you use it - or should I say, spend 10 minutes setting it up and then job done.

Re:equallogic PS6000 (1)

Rooked_One (591287) | more than 4 years ago | (#29450075)

oh yea, it runs on NetBSD - too quick on the reply trigger.

Re:equallogic PS6000 (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 4 years ago | (#29450715)

The price on these is "Please call to order". To me that says, "If you have to ask, you can't afford it.".

How does this stack up against the BackBlaze box at $120/TB, hardware and software included?

Best solution for backup hands-down is... (3, Funny)

macraig (621737) | more than 4 years ago | (#29450083)

... BitTorrent pirates. You'll always find last night's shows backed-up on TPB the next morning. Yaaarrr!

RAID (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29450113)

Just to make the /.'ers happy, I think using RAID is the best backup solution possible. In the event of hard drive failure your data is still safe!

Rsync is ok (1)

kilodelta (843627) | more than 4 years ago | (#29450115)

But rsnapshot works even better. When I worked for the RI Sec State's office we found tape backup wasn't cutting it for us. We picked up a cheapie HP server loaded it up with storage and bought a bunch of terabyte capacity external drives for off sites.

You don't know what a relief it was to be able to go to a web interface and restore files from there. Worked great with linux boxes, but you had to jump through a few hoops to deal with the Windows servers we had.

Re:Rsync is ok (1)

skogs (628589) | more than 4 years ago | (#29450265)

mod parent up. rsnapshot is painless and elegant.

Questions, and some answers (1)

brindafella (702231) | more than 4 years ago | (#29450119)

Cred: Some years ago I 'engineered' and essentially built a community radio station.

Will you ever need to stream direct from the backup to air? (Go and ask the management and the other techos: "ever".)

Why? This will answer what speed you need to transfer data both to and FROM the backup, and whether you need to take any special measures to ensure that there are no bottlenecks and single points of failure in the path. And, you'll find out whether the Master Control/studio needs to 'control' this path and so what you'll need to build in at Control.

What does the Production department need for editing?

Why? Someone else has discussed versions, and from my experience there is at least a several-to-one requirement for digital space during editing. It also answers why the editors, at their suite(s), may need similar 'control' as for Master Control.

Is the station using a control computer to put content to air?

Why? Almost certainly, is the answer. You'll have to not only give Master Control a 'manual' system, but provide some way for the control computer to stream to air, and they'll be subtly different so "get over it" and plan that way.

What happens when a drive/video coder/etc blows in some system? Can you be off air? What's the time for a fix?

Why? If your station can be off air then you fix at the next available opportunity; but, if you must be on air (like a 'commercial' station) then you have to plan and execute a solution like the commercial one, only cheaper.

Here's an effective cost-reduction strategy. (4, Funny)

failedlogic (627314) | more than 4 years ago | (#29450135)

Have each student create their "own TV station" as part of their degree requirement - no matter the area of study. Similar to research essays, you'll get the following results: 1) students who completed the assignment with no outside assistance 2) students that copied certain small portions of the data you are backing up and presenting it as their own 3) students that plagiarize everything - yes some students will debate that the same content the TV station has accumulated over the years - all 12 TB - is actually their original work.

As this data appears on the University network, the entire TV station will be backed-up in a local "Cloud". And if these types of assignment become popular at other universities, you can expect to find redundant off-site backups. By this point, the 12 TB will appear on BitTorrent (and probably on Newsgroups and IRC for the dedicated plagiarists). A full restore will only take a few days - as long as the full 12 TB is seeded.

iSCSI (1)

mdaitc (619734) | more than 4 years ago | (#29450241)

get an iSCSI device:
http://www.promise.com/product/product_detail_eng.asp?segment=undefined&product_id=226 [promise.com] The Promise VessRAID series is currently available through distribution. Pricing starts at $1,899 for an 8 bay system and ranges to $3,099 for a 16 bay system. A fully populated 16 bay subsystem costs less than 26 cents per gigabyte, using enterprise-class 7200 RPM 2TB hard disk drives.
so basically, $2.6k for a unit @CDW, 16*$300 for 2TB hard drives (newegg)
total $5k for 32TB raw.

Re:iSCSI (1)

mdaitc (619734) | more than 4 years ago | (#29450251)

arrg, my quick math, i mean
total a little over $7k for 32TB (or it's cheaper if you *only* get 16*1TB drives..)

Don't focus on backup, focus on recovery (1)

mlheur (212082) | more than 4 years ago | (#29450261)

You don't have backup needs, you have recovery needs. Backup enables you to fulfill those needs.
As has been mentioned many times above, there's no one fit answer - but I don't think you're even asking the right questions.
Under what circumstances will you be recovering data? There are two main types of recovery:
day to day recoveries where users want older versions of files or to replace a corrupt or deleted file; and
disaster recovery in case of hardware, system or site failure.

Will you support both recovery needs? If so then for day-to-day recoveries you need backups every day kept for any length of time deemed appropriate. Proper tape based backup is still the industry standard here just based on the volume. 12TB at 75% used, running full backups every week kept for 4 weeks, and daily cumulative incremental backups with 5% changes every day kept for 10 days means 51.3TB of data. Plus, you don't want all your copies on a single media, imagine if that thing failed?

For disaster recovery you need to know your RPO and RTO? Your Recovery Point Objective is basically how much data can you stand to loose while your Recovery Time Objective is how long after the disaster you can take to get back up and running. Answering these will tell you how often you need to run a backup and what storage technologies and methods are appropriate, or at least which ones are inappropriate. How are you going to protect your data from the disaster - how far away is far enough? I wouldn't consider the same campus as far enough away.

There are a number of products out there. I personally work with NetBackup from Symantec and it's pretty much an industry standard, but that's my employer's choice. I've looked at amanda (http://www.zmanda.com/) a few times, but haven't done any real testing with it. There's data protector, BackupExec and many listed at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_backup_software [wikipedia.org]

Remember you need two backups (1)

xavi62028 (877425) | more than 4 years ago | (#29450309)

A single backup using rsync isn't going to cut it. Imagine backing up corrupted data, overwriting other stuff. Also, having all backups on the same network is a bad idea if malware ever gets in. Your second level of backup should probably be tape, making a monthly and a yearly backup. Then store the tapes in a concrete and steel fire safe. Tape has longevity that your other options don't.

Archive Management (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29450343)

Backing up Final Cut Pro projects and media files seems like a simple enough problem: just copy the files to a tape archive or drive array and be done with it. However, there is more than one reason why archive storage might be required: disaster recovery and long-term storage of project files.

The long-term case is more interesting - as local storage runs low, projects are archived for later retrieval. How do you remember what each archived project contained? How can you be sure that the item that you're retrieving will provide what you're looking for? Restoring projects from any archive is a slow process - especially when using HD formats - so why do this when all you want to do is to use a short segment from a programme?

Most broadcasters employ some form of Media Management to manage this process, allowing editors and producers to browse a permanently available low-resolution version of the archive content, and to restore smaller segments from it. Partial restore using browse-based shot selection dramatically reduces the amount of data transfer and helps to speed up busy editing operations. Employing this is probably overkill in this case, but a different angle to consider on what appears to be a simple problem.

The rsync tool is called "rsnapshot" (1)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 4 years ago | (#29450397)

I went down the current list of comments, and for all the people who write their own rsync tools, please go review 'rsnapshot'. It's quite efficient: it's major flaw is that it lists snapshots as 'hostname.1', 'hostname.2', etc., instead of 'hostname.YYYYMMDD', which would ease things for users grabbing their own old files from online.

Here's what I do (2, Interesting)

MichaelCrawford (610140) | more than 4 years ago | (#29450443)

First let me point out that there are natural disasters that could potentially take out your backup, if it's on the same campus as your TV station - think of Hurricane Katrina. And for sure you want your Final Cut projects to survive a direct nuclear hit.

Anyway, I have a Fedora box with a RAID 5 made of four 1 TB disks. There is a partition on the RAID called /backup0. That's not really a backup, but more meant as a convenience. I back up all my data to /backup0, then right away use rsync to copy the new data to an external drive that is either /backup1 or /backup2.

I have a safe deposit box at my bank. Every week or two I swap the external drive on my desk with the external drive in the safe deposit box.

So the reason I have that /backup0 filesystem is so that I don't have to sync the two external drives to each other - otherwise I would have to make twice as many trips to the bank, and there would be some exposure were my house to burn down while I had both external drives at home.

My suggestion for you is to find two other University facilities that are both far away, and offer to trade offsite backup services with them.

You would have two backup servers in your TV station - one for each of your partners - and they would also each have two, one each for you, as well as for each other.

That way only a hit by a large asteroid would lose all your data.

I got religion about backing up thoroughly after losing my third hard drive in twenty years as a software engineer. Fortunately I was able to recover most of that last one, but one of the other failures was a total loss, with very little of its data being backed up.

Re:Here's what I do (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29450721)

The only thing I'd consider adding to that would be tertiary storage like Mozy. The reason I say this is a scenario I encountered at one business (was called in to recover.)

Production machine's hard disks were dead due to a mass rm -rf on /home.
The mirror drives were also dead because they propagated the changes.
The tape drive was dead -- burned out motor.
I borrowed another tape drive of the same type. Apparently the tapes that were dutifully made and stored were miscaliberated, and only worked with the (now defunct) tape drive that was at that company.

The person who did the backups dutifully did tests and test restores. However, because that tape drive wrote in a format only it could read, when it died, the well made backup structure was all for naught.

Luckily, (and the previous admin forgot about doing it), fairly recent versions of the files needed were stored in a tarball on another filesystem, courtesy a long-forgotten cronjob that did a backup of /home nightly and deleted the fourth oldest archive. Had this not been done, that company wouldn't have been in business.

This is why I like multiple mechanisms of backup, and never depending on one single program.

Openfiler? (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 4 years ago | (#29450557)

You've got low latency and high bandwidth. Make your storage iSCSI OpenFiler configured in cluster mode with block replication. Do use a pair of the BackBlaze boxes [j.mp] somebody else mentioned. Configure with RAID 6. Get enterprise support here [openfiler.com] . You're in and done at $16K capital cost, $2k labor, and annual support (24/7 4 hour response) at $6200/yr for 67TB of raw storage (~48TB net) plus whatever the network, rackspace and power costs, and it scales in volume storage at linear cost when your needs do and the more volume you have, the better performance gets. As a bonus it fits in two 4U slots.

If you want to skimp you don't have to fully populate the boxes until you need the room and can save $8K in capital costs up front. Every couple of months you have to hot-swap out some cheapo consumer grade drives so buy a few spares and configure them as hot spares and a few more for cold spares. If you have some extra Franklins, splurge on the 10G Ethernet connection from the BackBlaze box to the local network - the remote can stay on Gig-E because it's only used for writes or HA. With a little mental gymnastics and PSU field modifications you can use one BackBlaze master to control up to three BackBlaze slaves with passthrough connections only - no internal server needed. Just get the cards with some external eSATA or external SAS ports, depending on your preference. You might need to upgrade the motherboard spec on the master BackBlaze box, but it's worth the extra money. Since Openfiler support is unlimited CPU you may as well get the dual quad core Nehalem motherboard with 72GB RAM and 8 PCIe slots, or whatever's in the sweet spot this week. I do like the X5550, but if you can get a quad core for under $100 [j.mp] it's hard to pass up, especially combined with one of these [j.mp] cheap motherboards that use up to 32GB of cheap DDR2 RAM. Be careful with your PCIe slot counts when choosing motherboards.

Configure whatever machine you're using to do a backup periodically from one i-SCSI LUN on the local machine to another LUN. This gives you protection against 90% of backup needs (oops! I accidentally all all my presentations!) and will be transparently replicated to the HA site at block level without user intervention. Somewhere in here you should educate users that backup systems are not an alternative method of version control.

You could probably upgrade this with a few TB of PCIe attached [j.mp] SSD [j.mp] cache [j.mp] (pdf) for the million plus IOPS, guaranteed multiple 10Gbps network port saturation for an additional $40k, if you knew how, or why, or needed to.

Or you can go cheap with Linux and BSD and some scripts. You won't save any money and you won't have support. Buy the support. It's worth the money. Disclosure: I don't work for any of these folks. For the company I work for I can quote you a FC SAN. Trust me, you don't want to know what that costs for 67TB with block replication to a DR site and 24/7 4 hour support, let alone the scalable solution I've proposed here. Just assume it's "a lot".

Mac OS X Native... (1)

Hummdis (1337219) | more than 4 years ago | (#29450611)

Well, if you choose to backup on OS X native, which your post doesn't state since rsync is on OS X as well, there's BRU Producer's Edition [productionbackup.com] . Time Machine can be a bit resource hungry in my experience, so that may not be the best option for you. On the Linux front, there are a few tools to do the trick. Again, TOLIS Group has BRU Server for Linux [tolisgroup.com] native, but that's a higher price than BRU PE is going to be. However, if you're looking for a free product, rsync may not cut it due to the limitations that many others have already mentioned. There's MondoRescue [mondorescue.org] , but again, I don't think that will work to the needs that you require. Though the user 'mlheur' hit the nail on the head in my opinion. You need to focus on your restore needs and then choose a backup application that fits those needs!

another drobo and a file safe (1)

TRRosen (720617) | more than 4 years ago | (#29450679)

simple cheap and easy

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