[kwlug-disc] Backups and Hard Disks

L.D. Paniak ldpaniak at fourpisolutions.com
Tue Aug 18 22:26:42 EDT 2009

Hash: SHA1

You can bring your backup media with you.  Most of what is on my laptop
is fairly static data (VMs, music, "mature" files...). These are covered
by the occasional "bare-metal" mondoarchive-type backups.  For
everything else, you can automate very frequent backups to an 8/16/32GB
SD card or usb stick.  Using rdiff-backup, you can build your own

Checking the SMART data on a hard drive regularly can also reduce
surprises from creeping drive failure.  smartmontools is the package in
deb-land.  Running smarctl regularly will give you a good idea if your
drive is getting tired - before it grinds to a halt.  Doesn't help with
falls, theft or having your laptop run over by a bus though...

unsolicited wrote:
> Script a run every hour, and first thing it checks is if it's run in the
> prior 4 - If so, exit immediately?
> My laptop script runs daily. If it's disconnected it doesn't go. If I
> know it's going to be disconnected for some time, I stop the run.
> I don't think there's a way around it - if you have a laptop you have to
> be constantly aware of backups, and think, daily at least, have I done
> enough new stuff today that I need to make sure I get it onto the local
> net so it backs up.
> There are a couple of other elements to consider: (1) pushing vs pulling
> (then it becomes the repository's responsibility to run - which will
> fail if not present which is OK, without interrupting your laptop use
> when you're remote; (2) Is there too much overhead for you,  if
> nothing's changed such that you can't just have it run automatically
> every hour, knowing that most hour's nothing will have changed - yet it
> does take time and resources to go through the motions.
> In the end, you *have* to be constantly aware of backups: if not just
> making sure the laptop is connected to be backed up, then at least
> checking backup logs daily. Stupid things happen silently - it's easy to
> obliviously assume all is well, only to be severely bitten when the
> worst happens.
> Finally, for laptops particularly, bare metal restore becomes even more
> important.
> Chris Irwin wrote, On 08/18/2009 9:05 PM:
>> I'm recovering from a hard disk failure in my laptop. Luckily I didn't
>> lose anything due to my constant use of `unison` to my server, but it
>> got me thinking: This is not nearly as automatic as I would like as it
>> relies on me to manually run unison.
>> Has anybody come up with a better solution? Mainly I'm talking about a
>> laptop that works disconnected fairly often, so you can't assume it
>> will be on 24/7 for a scheduled job at night.
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