[kwlug-disc] Backups and Hard Disks

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


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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
"time-machine".

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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