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Happy World Backup Day

samzenpus posted about a year and a half ago | from the celebrate-often dept.

Data Storage 154

An anonymous reader writes "Easter isn't the only thing some people are celebrating today. Today is also World Backup Day. What steps have you taken to be able to resurrect your data, instead of having it go to eternal oblivion?"

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Done it the hard way (2)

Tastecicles (1153671) | about a year and a half ago | (#43324677)

I've committed every one and zero to memory.

Done it the easy way (5, Funny)

davester666 (731373) | about a year and a half ago | (#43324983)

I've committed one and zero to memory.

I'll be able to regenerate all the data using just those two numbers.

Re:Done it the hard way (3, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | about a year and a half ago | (#43324987)

I've committed every one and zero to memory.

Me too, however, recalling the order of them is something I'm still working on.

Re:Done it the hard way (1)

Alain Williams (2972) | about a year and a half ago | (#43325291)

The problem is getting them in the right order [youtube.com]

Re:Done it the hard way (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about a year and a half ago | (#43325481)

It's all a waste of time, anyway. The world has already been backed up, don't worry about your own little bits and pieces of it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=te6qG4yn-Ps [youtube.com]

Re:Done it the hard way (1)

bbelt16ag (744938) | about a year and a half ago | (#43325013)

speaking of which time to run mine.. * logins to cssh to all my systems and runs the script for daily backup.

Re:Done it the hard way (1)

PNutts (199112) | about a year and a half ago | (#43325271)

I've committed every one and zero to memory.

That's too much work when I can just read them off Fry's ass.

Re:Done it the hard way (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43325283)

Why would you save the zeros?

Re:Done it the hard way (1)

rally2xs (1093023) | about a year and a half ago | (#43326597)

I can resurrect my data, but I know that if it lasts more than 4 hours, I'm supposed to call a doctor...

Wonder when is (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43324719)

World Restore Day?

Oops... (1)

wanfuse123 (2860713) | about a year and a half ago | (#43325327)

When is data recovery day? Have to wait till then for discounts on getting my _________(inject your whatever here, looking for some ideas). http://rawcell.com [rawcell.com]

Easter is Backup Day? (5, Insightful)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a year and a half ago | (#43324725)

Wait a sec. I should think it would be "Restore" day. At least for those of the various Christian persuasions.

Re:Easter is Backup Day? (5, Funny)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year and a half ago | (#43324811)

Yeah, really. Backup Day should be on the Thursday preceding Good Friday.

Re:Easter is Backup Day? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43325043)

Good Friday will next occur on "All Fools Day" in 2067, it last occurred on April 1 in 1994. Obviously, that was the association you wanted.

Re:Easter is Backup Day? (1)

ModernGeek (601932) | about a year and a half ago | (#43325843)

In all seriousness, this is something we all probably don't do enough. How good are the backups if you can't restore from them? Do you really want the first time you verify your backups to be after a disaster?

Re:Easter is Backup Day? (1)

thoughtlover (83833) | about a year and a half ago | (#43324837)

No, Backup Day would make more sense if it falls on Easter... Easter was when Jesus went Backup to heaven!

**da dum ta**

Re:Easter is Backup Day? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43325041)

Actually no, that was 40 days after His resurrection. nice try tho.

Re:Easter is Backup Day? (1)

kermidge (2221646) | about a year and a half ago | (#43325019)

Makes sense. A backup is little good if one can't restore from it.

Re:Easter is Backup Day? (4, Funny)

Chemisor (97276) | about a year and a half ago | (#43325025)

You can't be restored if you haven't been saved.

Re:Easter is Backup Day? (2)

CODiNE (27417) | about a year and a half ago | (#43325873)

Not necessarily.
Acts 24:15 "There will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous"

So it's more like an offsite whole-disk backup. That let's the operator later restore files they may not have originally planned to.

Re:Easter is Backup Day? (-1, Offtopic)

Rajon Ahmed (2869017) | about a year and a half ago | (#43325167)

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Re:Easter is Backup Day? (1)

OfficeSupplySamurai (1130593) | about a year and a half ago | (#43325777)

You're probably making a joke, but to be clear Backup Day is March 31, the day before April Fools' Day (don't be a fool with your data, etc. etc.). It just happens to fall on the same day as Easter this year.

Wait, backup... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43324729)

World Backup Day?

Wait, backup...

Two for one (2)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | about a year and a half ago | (#43324739)

I always buy hard disks in Pairs and Raid them, each disk has a back up.

Re:Two for one (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43324829)

Not sure if serious...

Re:Two for one (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43324861)

Raid is NOT backup, it is redundancy... Clue is kinda in the name.

A backup must handle situations such as deletion(by accident or by 3rd party) all raid gives you is two disks without the data that has just been deleted.

Re:Two for one (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43324905)

I have a RAID array of Dropbox and Amazon S3 drives... I don't give a shit about anything.

Re:Two for one (2)

poity (465672) | about a year and a half ago | (#43324901)

What if a surge takes both of them out? Wouldn't it be safer to leave one drive completely disconnected and only turned on for syncing to the other?

Re:Two for one (1)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | about a year and a half ago | (#43325011)

Oh I have high quality power surpression on all the wall outlets that I connect computers or AV equipment to. So well a surge could happen it would have to make it through a very high quality surve power bar and a UPS. So I'm not actually worried about it. The PSU's in all my computers are also super high quality, so if they did every blow ( which hasn't happened to me ) I would jsut prosue the manufacture because they're covered. For me none of the data is really so important that I'm going to take additional steps to be safe.

Re:Two for one (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43325177)

What if a surge takes both of them out? Wouldn't it be safer to leave one drive completely disconnected and only turned on for syncing to the other?

And while we're at it, what about offsite? How offsite you need depends on how important the data...

Somewhere in NYC on 9/11, someone must have had a conversation like this:

*boom*

"Well, at least we don't have to worry about the data. Even if the whole building falls down, we have hot failover in the form of a duplicate set of servers and mirrored drives over there in WTC 2..."

*boom*

"Shit."

Re:Two for one (3, Insightful)

rgmoore (133276) | about a year and a half ago | (#43325527)

What if a surge takes both of them out?

Or user stupidity erases the vital data? Or malware starts corrupting your files? Or a disaster destroys the whole computer?

RAID is a great solution to hard drive failure, but it doesn't cover all of the other things that might go wrong. For that, you need a proper off-line backup that can protect you against user or OS problems, ideally one that's located far enough away to recover your data in the event of a disaster. RAID is best in addition to, not as a replacement for, true backups.

Re:Two for one (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43324911)

That's not a backup bro...

Re:Two for one (1)

danomac (1032160) | about a year and a half ago | (#43325489)

Well, I have a RAID 6 and I just noticed the other day that one disk dropped out. Waiting for WD to ship me a replacement.

Talk about alarm/monitoring fail: the monitoring tools nor the card gave any hint of a problem. Wonder how long it's been like that.

Most of the stuff I have on my computer I could care less if I lost it. Pictures? Meh. The ones I cared about I actually had developed. Music? Meh. I'll re-rip all my CDs. That's a pain, but I wouldn't technically lose anything. Other miscellaneous (taxes, etc.)? Have hard copies.

The traditional way (2)

Solid StaTe_1 (446406) | about a year and a half ago | (#43324741)

I've made sure the phone number for the local data recovery services is taped to the side of the server.

Re:The traditional way (1)

brickmack (2537604) | about a year and a half ago | (#43325111)

If that's your only backup system (and this is a server you say?) you're gonna have a problem. What if the data can't be recovered? And those places usually charge a LOT more than it would cost to just buy a few backup drives and back it up yourself

I use... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43324747)

I use ZFS. 100% safe, right? I'll backup to the cloud when amazon ec2 or equivelant service starts accepting drives for putting online in australia.

Re:I use... (1)

Daniel_Staal (609844) | about a year and a half ago | (#43326207)

ZFS can implement some backup on top of it's reliability - in that the snapshots can allow you to recover recently-deleted files, but it's not really a true replacement for a real backup - something that you can pull the files off of if your entire server goes down.

My home server has ZFS (with hourly, daily, weekly, and monthly snapshots that get cleaned up on a regular basis), but I also use tarsnap [tarsnap.com] for regular backups. It stores encrypted (and deduped) incrementals of your data on an Amazon store.

My desktop mounts some of it's files (including a couple of whole users) from the home server, for the rest I use OS X's Time Machine - not quite as good as a remote backup scheme, but cheaper, and easy to set up.

Time machine (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43324755)

And I had to use it last week after my drive died.

Automated backup (2)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | about a year and a half ago | (#43324769)

Automated incremental backup of the headless servers at home, every two days (and I check the backup logs regularly). The backup disks are cycled every 4 weeks: the existing set goes to an insulated box in the garage (a separate heated building), while the previous disks come in and start with a full backup. Our 4 workstations at home all get backed up to local USB disks, but these are merely for convenience - important files are always kept on the servers, where they belong.

Re:Automated backup (3, Interesting)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about a year and a half ago | (#43325723)

Automated incremental backup of the headless servers at home, every two days (and I check the backup logs regularly). The backup disks are cycled every 4 weeks: the existing set goes to an insulated box in the garage (a separate heated building), while the previous disks come in and start with a full backup. Our 4 workstations at home all get backed up to local USB disks, but these are merely for convenience - important files are always kept on the servers, where they belong.

You don't belong on this planet.

Seriously, I run RAID, cross-machine mirroring, then do daily backups, with the logs emailed to me each morning. Periodic external media copies to DVD and USB devices. In my case, I have incentive, though. I used to work for a big-name backup software company and knew of design flaws that meant that a certain percentage of backups would write out defective data. And got burned in later years when I was compelled to use the product for my later employer. Because the RAID arrays would blow a disk the minute I'd leave on vacation, then blow a second one before I got back to replace it. And the restore would fail.

For a long time I used TAR scripts, because unlike the fancy expensive commercial products, I could always count on being able to use a tarball as long as the media itself was undamaged.

Ironically, this is the weekend I started learning Bacula. Tar is reliable, but it doesn't manage media catalogs.

Re:Automated backup (1)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | about a year and a half ago | (#43325927)

Automated incremental backup of the headless servers at home, every two days (and I check the backup logs regularly). The backup disks are cycled every 4 weeks: the existing set goes to an insulated box in the garage (a separate heated building), while the previous disks come in and start with a full backup. Our 4 workstations at home all get backed up to local USB disks, but these are merely for convenience - important files are always kept on the servers, where they belong.

You don't belong on this planet.

Well, maybe just on this tiny little fragment of the planet. Among other wierdnesses, we're linux-only at home - servers, laptops, desktops - which helps a lot with automating stuff. BTW, the kids picked up Linux quite easily, and are now proficient in using xfce as much as in using Windows XP or 7 (their schools endure both).

Seriously, I run RAID, cross-machine mirroring, then do daily backups, with the logs emailed to me each morning. Periodic external media copies to DVD and USB devices. In my case, I have incentive, though. I used to work for a big-name backup software company and knew of design flaws that meant that a certain percentage of backups would write out defective data. And got burned in later years when I was compelled to use the product for my later employer. Because the RAID arrays would blow a disk the minute I'd leave on vacation, then blow a second one before I got back to replace it. And the restore would fail.

I dread the day I'll have to restore from backups; this is a major motivation for being ready for it. The instant I'm unready, Murphy will surely smite us...

Restoring should go easily on replacement servers, and I had a dry-run of restoring a backup when we added the second server, since it was pretty much empty at the time. All of our media are on the backup schedule, because I figured that it would just take too long to re-rip all the CDs and DVDs. Similarly, although all our photos have raw files dumped to DVD-R, I don't test those DVD-R disks for error-free readability often enough (a handful are tested maybe once per year, and so far, no issues), so all of the photo directories are backed up. Also, regenerating the jpegs from raw files would take a huge amount of time and DVD-R swapping. And then there are the home movies, most of which exist only on the media server, with a few duplicated on the web server. It really is remarkable how much we've shifted to digital formats, which could all get wiped out in a single incident.

Re:Automated backup (1)

PNutts (199112) | about a year and a half ago | (#43326393)

The backup disks are cycled every 4 weeks: the existing set goes to an insulated box in the garage (a separate heated building), while the previous disks come in and start with a full backup.

That's a bad strategy: Conflagration, flood, tornado, hurricane, theft, landslide, sinkhole, etc. Pretty much anything catastrophic wipes them out.

Foolproof backups (1)

cwebster (100824) | about a year and a half ago | (#43324771)

I catalog all of my 1s and 0s in a series of sequentially numbered composition notebooks. College ruled, 100 pages each.

And then I photocopy them for redundancy.

Re:Foolproof backups (2)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | about a year and a half ago | (#43324887)

I don't like the mess, so I group the ones and zeros sequentially.

Re:Foolproof backups (2)

Gordonjcp (186804) | about a year and a half ago | (#43324935)

Aha, the trick is, only the ones actually carry information - that's when the bit is actually holding a voltage. So, you can compress out all the zeros and get a roughly 2:1 saving on space!

The only downside is that for decompressing, the codebook is necessarily rather large, in fact the same size as your original data. But the compression works well and it's fast!

Re:Foolproof backups (1)

Tastecicles (1153671) | about a year and a half ago | (#43324891)

and a heck of a fire risk...

Re:Foolproof backups (2)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about a year and a half ago | (#43326121)

my one's and zero's are just like my women.

I have binders full of 'em!

bootable, scripted and encrypted (2)

mikem170 (698970) | about a year and a half ago | (#43324783)

I have a script that can setup a bootable partitioned usb drive, set it up to be encrypted, then dd/rsync all my system and data files to it.

I keep a couple of these bootable-backups around, one of them off-site.

I can connect the usb drive to another pc and boot my system up on it. If I need to I can run the script and have it copy everything from the usb drive to the new pc internal drive.

This system has served me well for a number of years, and a number of computers.

I'm running Freebsd and I use GEOM for encryption. I did do a new system install to go from 32 bit to 64 bit. Otherwise this system has served me well for a number of years, through a number of computers, with minimal effort.

Tapes / LTO-5 / Cheap / offsite storage / no text (1)

burni2 (1643061) | about a year and a half ago | (#43324799)

damn I was forced to write text.

Re:Tapes / LTO-5 / Cheap / offsite storage / no te (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43324953)

For values of "cheap" that make me wonder if I really care about my vacation photos that much.

Re:Tapes / LTO-5 / Cheap / offsite storage / no te (2)

burni2 (1643061) | about a year and a half ago | (#43325095)

LTO5 Drive - 500€ (these are getting cheaper on ebay)
LTO5 tape - 35€ (shipping included, buy more / lower per unit price)

1.5TB per 35€ (23€ per TB)

4TB Drive 200€ (50€ per TB)

but to do backup with HDDs you need two so
4TB == 400€ (100€ per TB)

when hitting the I will need 8TB storage space soon, you do the math and will realize that tapes are better.

vacation photos -> it's part of your identity

Re:Tapes / LTO-5 / Cheap / offsite storage / no te (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43325173)

damn I was forced to write text.

What happens when you drop that LTO tape?

Good luck with that!

The manly backup (1)

Stormwatch (703920) | about a year and a half ago | (#43324805)

"Only wimps use tape backup: real men just upload their important stuff on ftp, and let the rest of the world mirror it." - Linus Torvalds, 1996

Re:The manly backup (1)

Daniel_Staal (609844) | about a year and a half ago | (#43326225)

Unless they've got the mirrors set up to automatically replicate your mistakes, in which case it's possible to accidentally delete every copy of it in existence everywhere... (This nearly happened to one OSS project recently.)

Mirrors are not backup. They are uptime reliability.

You know, I really should backup my important crap (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43324827)

Like, right now now.

There is a considerable amount of stuff that is trial and error, pure grunt work and research.
All that stuff is valuable, if I were to lose it I'd just headbutt my desk till I have no head any more, or become some Saw-like vigilante.
Screw doing all that stuff again, even if some of it is holding me back and rewriting from scratch would be better overall, the time it would take to do it all again would be murderously time-consuming.

Most of it fits within several GBs, and I have been considering doing loads of flash drive backups rather than use hard drives since they are more brittle and prone to damage.
Using 10 flash drives would be better than the size you can afford with a hard drive if your data is small enough and in this case very important.
Now to just write some scripts to make file-difference checks and only backup what is needed.
USB RAID here I come. Too much effort, going to sleep instead. Night.

I've done nothing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43324841)

My data is all in the clouds, with Jesus!

What is the best online backup service? (1)

zyzko (6739) | about a year and a half ago | (#43324865)

So...I'll shoot:

What is the best online backup service? It doesn't have to be the cheapest (but it helps) - I have used Crashplan and tested Livedrive - they both offer unlimited option and a hassle-free client which works at least quite good, but as Crashplan had a price-hike I'm looking for something else, or is there maybe even superior service I should look into (I'm thinking a scenario where my main OS hard drive just quits with no warning, are there simple online solutions to fully restore you from disaster - I understand this is quite a difficult problem but hey, I'm allowed to ask?)

Re:What is the best online backup service? (1)

Tastecicles (1153671) | about a year and a half ago | (#43324909)

I swear by MegaUpload... ...said one of the world's most OCD document packrats in December 2011.

Re:What is the best online backup service? (2)

LRAD (1822746) | about a year and a half ago | (#43324985)

Amazon Glacier is supposed to be pretty cool for long term archival. It's cheap per gigabyte, but the caveat is that there is a wait time to pull your data out of their archives, so it's not suitable for something that needs to be online immediately. Haven't tried it quite yet, but the idea makes sense to me. https://aws.amazon.com/glacier/ [amazon.com]

Re:What is the best online backup service? (2)

Skater (41976) | about a year and a half ago | (#43325805)

I've been using it for a few months, using CloudGates.net to transfer data to it (the SimpleAmazonGlacierUploader java applet had a bug in it that affects larger files - not sure if it's been fixed yet). It's pretty great - I have 136 gigabytes of data at the moment, so I get a bill for $1.36 each month. For the money, the hassle of building a server to put at a friend's place isn't worth it, and I couldn't find any other backup solutions that are as cheap. Yes, directory listings and downloads take a few hours, but... if my house burns down and I'm recovering this data, I'm not going to mind a few hours' wait.

Re:What is the best online backup service? (1)

alen (225700) | about a year and a half ago | (#43325071)

how much do you really need to back up?

i have about 80GB of family photos that i really care about. they are on separate hard drives
porn, who cares. its all in the cloud and all the same
pirated movies? if you have to spend money to backup and manage pirated content you might as well buy DVD's or legit digital content like itunes
important documents? i use dropbox for that

Re:What is the best online backup service? (1)

zyzko (6739) | about a year and a half ago | (#43325135)

I don't need necessarily an unlimited solution. My photos and music (which I have also on CDs but it is a great frigging pain to re-rip them) are the ones I need. And yeah, separate hard drives do a fine job, but if the price is right I'd like to outsource it (and there is the plus side that if for some reason those both hard drives are fried I have an off-site backup). A huge bonus would be if I could have an off-site disaster recovery backup of my OS disk (Windows here...) but I guess that is something that is not done yet.

I just run DBAN. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43324881)

Why would I want a backup? It's better to just purge and start fresh every year.

Anything you don't remember to reinstall, you never needed.

Do the same thing with your possessions.

Failed method (3, Funny)

sootman (158191) | about a year and a half ago | (#43324917)

I put all my data in a cave and sealed the entrance with a big rock -- but three days later it was all gone.

Re:Failed method (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43325099)

It's okay, your data just went to the cloud.

Re:Failed method (1)

sootman (158191) | about a year and a half ago | (#43326399)

Not a big deal. It was a long time ago.

Time machine and SVN (2)

Jeremi (14640) | about a year and a half ago | (#43324919)

Time machine requires about zero maintenance and will help me recover quickly if my main hard drive dies. Of course, if a fire or theft results in the simultaneous loss of the backup drive as well, I'm out of luck. So for data that's worth spending a little extra time securing, checking it in to an SVN server works for me.

The First Three (3, Funny)

meerling (1487879) | about a year and a half ago | (#43324927)

The First Three Rules of Computing

1 - Backup
2 - Backup
3 - See Rules 1 & 2

Of course, I have no idea how to backup a world. What kind of media would you use, cosmic string recorders?

Re:The First Three (1)

CanadianMacFan (1900244) | about a year and a half ago | (#43325355)

1 - Backup often
2 - Verify that you can restore from your backup often
3 - See Rules 1 & 2, often


Most people and businesses don't do Rule 2. Just because the the log didn't report any errors for the backup doesn't mean that you can restore from the backups.

Who needs backups when you have faith? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43324957)

I believe that when when my hard drive dies, on the third day it will live again in fulfillment of scripture.

Manual Encrypted Backups (1)

LRAD (1822746) | about a year and a half ago | (#43324961)

I recently bought a 3TB drive and filled up my case entirely. I took out my old 750 and 640GB drives and got an Orico 2 Bay Drive dock. One will consist of an encrypted volume filled with all my non-video media backups and virtual machine disk images, and the other will contain my system image via windows backup. I'll probably update the backups ever month or so. Plus I can pull the drives out of this thing and store them in a cool dry place in static bags in case my computer gets struck by lightning.

Backblaze. (2)

RealGene (1025017) | about a year and a half ago | (#43324993)

That is all.

Crashplan free (2)

bbqpope (860883) | about a year and a half ago | (#43324995)

I use crashplan's client and all my pcs backup to my home server. All my photos get backed up to a second disk that I keep off site. Their software works pretty flawlessly. I was going to use their cloud service but photo and video data would take months to seed.

Re:Crashplan free (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | about a year and a half ago | (#43325101)

I use their hosted backups in addition to local and offsite. The price is just too good to pass up (~6$/month for 10 machines when I signed up). They do security right, have no space limit or speed throttling. Take the hit and start backing stuff up. It will eventually finish and at some point you may be glad you did it. Of course, you could also back up using their client to a friends machine, and vice-versa, but I figure their hosting is less trouble (and you could always do both).

Relaaaaax (1, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | about a year and a half ago | (#43325009)

You guys are just a bunch of paranoid sons of b ~ '[ &z ( j ` NO CARRIER

Re:Relaaaaax (2)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a year and a half ago | (#43325091)

At least we've gotten off of dialup.

dd if=/dev/sda1 of=/dev/lp0 (5, Interesting)

vinn (4370) | about a year and a half ago | (#43325049)

I managed to go 16 years in the IT world, first as a sys admin and now up through an awesome mid-level management position, without any serious data management scares. (And by 'awesome', I mean I work for demoralizing leadership and I've hit a glass ceiling which will force me to go find another company to work for if I want any shot at career advancement.) I've always made sure there's many, many layers of redundancy and good processes in place.

That was until three weeks ago.

We use Microsoft DFS to sync data between two sites. Because of some other things going on, we had to turn DFS off for 3 weeks. We thought we had everyone transitioned to using the "master" file repository, the one that gets backed up every night, etc, etc. The day we turned on DFS back on, all hell broke loose.

Oh - and this is fairly important stuff: 10 years worth of CAD, design, and legal paperwork. It's a few terabytes worth. For our medium-size company, this is basically everything that we hold near and dear.

The first thing that happened is DFS completely puked and completely trashed BOTH filesystems. Fantastic, Microsoft - what a wonderful piece of shit DFS is. Fairly quickly we had to face some data integrity issues. First, we discovered apparently there was a fella at the remote site that was using the copy of files there. Great.. through a fairly manual process we were able to retrieve most of his changes to the dataset. Next, we fairly quickly gave up on trying to fix the DFS - on the advice of Microsoft it seemed to be fairly hopeless.

This is where shit gets real.

Our head sys admin had been troubleshooting an issue with a drive in a RAID'ed NAS backup device had failed. All the other backups had been shifted to other NAS devices, but that backup was so large that it apparently had just been failing. While looking for that, we also discovered the quarterly backup from December had failed (that's the point where I wanted to put on my manager hat and go rip someone a new one, but decided that probably wouldn't be the most productive thing at the moment and could save that little teachable moment asskicking until after we were out of the woods.) Now, the sys admin hadn't been completely foolish, before turning DFS back on he had run some full backups using a different NAS device.

In a f*cking brilliant stroke of disastrous luck, when we went to perform the recovery we discovered that RAID array on the backup NAS device also had corruption.

Now, how bad the corruption was and what exactly that meant remained to be seen. The backups had completed without error, it was the NAS filesystem itself that was throwing the errors. The NAS was still running and our backup software seemed to recognize the backup catalogs on it. Ok, other than what seemed to one potentially corrupt backup, it was seeming like the next best case scenario was a quarterly backup from September, and I was also staring a complete set of disks from 2010 dreading the thought of bringing them back online. Well, with nothing to do other than try a restore, we pressed the button.

That's when I went home mid-morning, chainsmoked four cigarettes on my porch and wondered what would happened if everything went south. In other words, I was contemplating my next job.

'Lo and behold, and restore worked. We had to merge all kinds of things back together to get a complete copy reassembled, then we still had to get DFS working (which took four days of syncing over the WAN.) When it was all said and done, it looked like there were just two files from one set of changes that we couldn't recover.

I think I'll go double check on the backup jobs now.

amdump fulldump (1)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | about a year and a half ago | (#43325175)

Wait ... so you read /. and you thought a Microsoft tool would avoid disasters? I think rapid reading classes are needed - quickly followed by an LTO drive and some tapes.

Well, not quite, but .... (1)

King_TJ (85913) | about a year and a half ago | (#43326595)

Seriously, I would have picked practically anything but a Microsoft branded solution for syncing the data between sites.

I sure don't claim to have all the best answers for I.T. backup, but I'm in charge of redesigning an aging backup system for the office I work in -- and I'm finding you really need to choose your backup tools carefully.

For example, the company purchased Symantec Backup Exec 2012 and wanted me to do the nightly backups with it, and a couple of LTO drives attached to one of the servers. I pretty quickly scrapped that plan, because among other things, I've never really been able to get that arrangement to keep running reliably without some babysitting. The software itself likes to crap out after 1-3 weeks or so of operation, reporting nonsense like "out of memory" errors during backups. Only a server reboot seems to get it working properly again. The tapes are, of course, also a source of some manual involvement. If nobody changes a tape when it's time for the next rotation, a backup gets missed. And as the existing drives were attached via 68-pin SCSI, it makes the hardware nearly obsolete. None of our newer servers had SCSI ports on them -- so I couldn't even move the backup software to a different physical machine if I wanted to.

What's making much more sense for me, so far, is using the Veeam software on a dedicated "backup server" with a lot of disk space in it. Use it to do nightly backups of the virtual machines running on a VMWare box. Then back up shared folders of important data from the file server using that copy of Backup Exec on the backup server, but have it back up to disk instead of tape. Don't try to do anything "fancy" like backups of a server's "system state" -- and the software isn't nearly as likely to bomb out.

THEN, use a freeware rsync utility to keep the backed-up data folders (from both Veeam and Backup Exec) synchronized with storage available at a remote site via a NAS, to serve as a secondary off-site backup.

On the workstation side, your mobile users who save a lot of data to their machine's C: drives and don't xfer it all that regularly to the corporate servers are served well with subscriptions to CrashPlan. After testing several competitors, it was by far the most reliable and fastest at restoring data we needed. Very highly recommended. Just make sure they know to leave their computers on overnight once in a while so all the data gets backed up to the cloud without interruption.

Re:dd if=/dev/sda1 of=/dev/lp0 (1)

CanadianMacFan (1900244) | about a year and a half ago | (#43325429)

So, you did co-ordinate with other groups, run a trial to see what would happen when DFS gets shut down, don't verify that your backups actually work (instead you just check to see if any errors happen in the logs), and you aren't checking your hardware for errors (or at least your hardware group isn't if it's a different group). I really don't think you can say that can say that you have made sure that there are many good processes in place. I mean you didn't even realize your backups were failing because they were too large!
At a minimum you want someone to try to restore a couple of random files from a weekly backup. Your monthly backup should be tested more thoroughly as in a full restore on a test machine.
A backup that you can't restore from is NOT a backup!
If this happened in my company not only would ass be kicked but jobs would be lost.

Re:dd if=/dev/sda1 of=/dev/lp0 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43325529)

_quarterly_ backups? o.O

In all honesty, a few TB shouldn't be so painful you had to resort to quarterly backups. There's a better way.

This is where we can't tell you to fire your backup admin because you didn't have one.

My employer runs things similarly, not really judging yours :\ Just saying, this is what happens when data protection is not taken seriously.

Re:dd if=/dev/sda1 of=/dev/lp0 (-1, Flamebait)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about a year and a half ago | (#43326119)

You've hit a glass ceiling? That's odd...you work in IT and your writing certainly sounds like a man's...how could this have happened?

Re:dd if=/dev/sda1 of=/dev/lp0 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43326451)

Given that it sounds like the GP's company is pretty small, if I had to hazard a guess, I'd say the only higher paying positions are filled by existing senior IT staff so the GP's choices are switch companies or wait for the more senior people to leave.

Re:dd if=/dev/sda1 of=/dev/lp0 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43326453)

So what you're saying is: you didn't make sure as to who was using which repository, you didn't make sure that your quarterly backup worked, or that your latest backups worked, you decided to turn the DFS back on while knowing your head sys admin was working on a problem affecting your backup solution, and you still claim to have "many layers of redundancy and good processes in place"?

Sounds to me like you should be getting on your knees and giving the guy who - according to your account - autonomously decided to make another backup a blowjob. You know, just as a thank you for saving your job.

Can't help but wonder what the story would sound like from his perspective.

Amazon Glacier for cheap offsite. (5, Informative)

phase_9 (909592) | about a year and a half ago | (#43325069)

Amazon Glacier [amazon.com] has really changed my backup strategy since this time last year - I now push all my own, generated content (ie: pictures, documents, things I could never get back if I lost everything) up to Glacier using the free Windows client, Fast Glacier [fastglacier.com] . In February I was charged $0.13 by Amazon for storing ~8Gb of data. I tend to push new content up as and when I create it (for example, after I process holiday snaps, or get back from a day out).

Day to day file changes are now handled by Windows 8's File History [microsoft.com] feature where my changes are pushed to a small NAS (Dlink DNS-320 [dlink.com] ) in my shed (technically off site?) over a Homeplug AV [wikipedia.org] ethernet link. For added security I use the legacy Windows Backup application [arstechnica.com] (still present in Windows 8) to create ~ monthly snapshots of the system which I store on a 320Gb external HDD. This drive is one of two which go back and forth between my parents house each time I got and visit. These disks are encrypted using Microsoft Bitlocker drive encryption [microsoft.com] .

I should get around to properly encrypting my NAS in the shed, I've been looking at encfs [arg0.net] .

Obviously (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43325107)

RAID 1

Just wait three days. (3, Funny)

julian67 (1022593) | about a year and a half ago | (#43325121)

No need to do anything. When disaster strikes just wait three days and it simply restores itself. Shortly afterwards the data ascends into The Cloud and becomes available forever and ever. Halleluiah!

Re:Just wait three days. (2)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about a year and a half ago | (#43325615)

No need to do anything. When disaster strikes just wait three days and it simply restores itself. Shortly afterwards the data ascends into The Cloud and becomes available forever and ever. Halleluiah!

I dunno. From what I hear, you can plead with it all you like after that, but it will only answer you if it feels like it.

Videos to MP4 (1)

microcars (708223) | about a year and a half ago | (#43325129)

finally started digitizing all my home videos (that include work documentation over the years too) to MP4 format. I have at least 100 tapes (8mm and miniDV). I import about 3-4 a day and then let FCP batch process them while I sleep. I can still edit them if I want, but I've already done that with the ones I want. Right now I just want to be able to skim through a 2hr video to find something without sticking the tape into the machine.

QuickPar (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43325209)

If you're worried about the quality of your backup media (or about your own DEX) you can use QuickPar to add redundancy. It has saved my backups from oblivion on multiple occasions.

Amazon Glacier (2)

kubajz (964091) | about a year and a half ago | (#43325237)

I never trusted "cloud" backups but recently I looked into Amazon Glacier - and now my personal backups are stored with "eleven nines" reliability, encrypted, and with price roughly 10 times lower than services such as Dropbox or Google Drive. No affiliation with Amazon... but the question was "how do you do it" so this is my answer.

March 31st (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43325257)

March 31st so that an April Fools day joke of deleting all your data won't have much of an impact to you.

RougeFemme writes (-1, Offtopic)

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Quick, backup Youtube ! (1)

thrill12 (711899) | about a year and a half ago | (#43325299)

... we only have a few hours left before they will delete everything [youtube.com] !
(grabs 3.5" floppy drive and starts downloading...)

Deja Dup and Duplicity (1)

magic maverick (2615475) | about a year and a half ago | (#43325497)

I ran a backup to my local external HD yesterday, and today decided to do it again, this time with all my music and moving pictures. I'm also investigating how to use Duplicity on its own to backup my personal material to online places (such as Ubuntu One).

Unfortunately the Deja Dup developers decided that profiles or similar, where you could define different types of backups, where too complicated for the program. I mean, they said it would complicate the program too much for end users.

Ideally I want to backup everything to my external HD. I also want to backup my material (stuff I created) to Ubuntu One etc. It's a lot easier to replace music than it is to replace a six thousand word essay on the future of /. (rocks fall; everyone dies).

Duplicity duplicity.nongnu.org/ [nongnu.org] is backup done correctly. That is, encrypted, hopefully off-site, and hopefully regularly.

Nothing complicated for my home system (1)

Nkwe (604125) | about a year and a half ago | (#43325573)

I use a file server that uses RAID-Z2 to cover disk failures and daily backups to another partition to cover user failures. I snapshot the ZFS file systems and copy the snapshots to removable hard drives which are stored in a safe-deposit box at my bank to cover a site failure. I only offsite quarterly, but it is good enough for a home system. If my house burns down I will have more to worry about than 3 months of lost data.

My physical and virtual machines use the file server for storage of important user data. Local directories are also backed up to the file server (in case I forget to consider something "important"). Windows machines get system state backups to the file server and Linux machines have important paths backed up as well.

Backups are done with Bacula and the Windows system state backups are scheduled tasks so other then the manual process of taking the snapshots and delivering the hard drives the bank, it is all automated.

Everything is in the cloud. (1)

andyn (689342) | about a year and a half ago | (#43325869)

Had a head crash on my work laptop on Thursday. There was no need for restoring backups in the traditional sense since all company data was on SparkleShare (company internal git repo) and the few personal documents were in Dropbox. I pulled out a new laptop, installed SparkleShare and Dropbox and was good to go.

Prepare for interwebs cleaning (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43326069)

It is because backups need to be done in advance of the annual Internet spring cleaning [snopes.com] .

Every day (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43326125)

Every day is backup day if you're doing it right.

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