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Re: Have DVD burner, will backup!

David E. Fox wrote:

Let's apply a little engineering here:

If I restate your concerns as requirements, what do we come up with?

Dar seems to be able to do the job (i.e., backup) well enough, although
it is a bit clunky. But it does it better than mindi/mondo at a
reasonable compression rate, which took all night to do the same task
-- and fell over. Obviously, if I start a backup at 9PM and go to bed,
I don't want the system beeping me to change media at 3:00 AM :(.

Requirement: Single touch, full-backup? Faster speeds in case interation is required?

Incrementals are still going to take some time provided one has to load
the backup media onto the system before proceeding, of course, which is
something I'll need to do... I don't have a whole lot of space

Requirement: Restores take less/no space from the existing system.

K3B will also work - on /home, for instance, provided /home fits onto
precisely one DVD-RW. It too gets really bogged down at times.

Requirement: Back up everything - /home only is sub-optimal.

I pruned the obvious stuff (/proc /sys /media /dev) and excluded the
dar images themselves - if one doesn't do that, it'll inform you of a
possible endless loop.

Requirement: Okay, maybe not EVERY-thing.  ;-)

It seems to me (and MANY sysadmins have already "gone here") that with the current cost of hard disk space well below the price of removable media, a removable hard disk (in whatever flavor you like, fastest is direct connect, but Firewire and USB 2.0 are options also) seems to actually fit your requirements far better than DVD.

Just an interloper with a comment. Personally, I find that "playing" with having another backup system on removable media is nice but quite "quaint" nowadays -- a removable hard disk of equal or preferrably larger size to the system being backed up is faster, more convenient, and costs are recouped quickly in not being interrupted or having to wait for a media change that has to be done manually and also in the overall lower and lower costs of hard disk media.

Prices continue downward in the hard disk world, so the break-even date keeps getting closer and closer all the time. If you're serious about the backup, a year to recoup the costs (with many drive manufacturers giving 3 years as a warranty, thus at least 2 more years of useful life on the device, hopefully), an external disk may just flat out be "better" when viewed from a requirement-fulfillment point of view.

Some requirements that might push someone back toward removable media instead of disk are:

1. Disk is less tolerant of physical abuse, but even a dropped and physically broken removable disk can usually be recovered by numerous professional organizations.

2. External hard disks are slightly less portable than DVD's.

3. External hard disks *might* take up slightly more phhysical space over DVD's, depending on the size/density of the disk.

4. On REALLY big backup jobs, finding a single external disk to cover it might be difficult, but at those sizes, DVD isn't really a very convenient or good option either. You're probably ready for a mini-Storage Area Network at that point anyway.

5. Multiple machines - if all machines are equipped with DVD burners, some efficiencies might be noted if all are burning at the same time, but it's possible to calculate with a little experimentation on your machines, how fast a single external drive of very large size can be "moved down the row" if manual moving is required, and the right number of external drives to balance cost vs. labor can be determined for a large number of machines. Again, you may be to the point where a mini-SAN is a better solution than removable disks at that point.

The ultimate best solution is, of course, yours to decide. I just like to point out that if purchasing a solution today, DVD writers are not always the best possible solution.


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