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Re: Preferred Backup Method?

David Brodbeck wrote:

On Dec 5, 2007, at 8:12 AM, Michael Pobega wrote:

I'm trying to write a shell script to use tar for backups, but I want to
know; Which directories are nessecary to backup with tar and which
aren't? Obviously /bin, /usr, /home, /boot, /lib, /srv (Where I keep
all of my chroots) and /etc are, but are any of the other directories
mandatory to backup? Or are any of these directories fruitless to

The answer is, "it depends." How much custom configuration have you done? How fast does the system need to be back in service?

For desktop machines that have basically stock installations, I often only back up /home and /etc, plus maybe /var/www if the machine has a web server. I don't see any point in using up space backing up binaries that I can easily reinstall from the Debian CDs. But on a system where I've built lots of local software or done lots of custom scripting, backing up the binaries makes more sense.

Excluding /tmp and /var/tmp makes sense. So does excluding data caches -- /var/cache/apt, your squid cache directory if you're running squid, maybe even web browser caches if you're pinched for space. On systems that run udev, backing up /dev is also fruitless, although it doesn't really take up much space. And you should always exclude /proc. It's not a "real" filesystem anyway.

Just to wade in here, since the OP has asked a question that is also topical for me now:

I'd be wanting to do a back-up from my own machine to an external USB HDD as well as from a second machine connected to the LAN, both using Debian. I would want to save a back up of /home and /etc initially and then a weekly incremental back up of anything that has changed in the meantime. I don't need the encryption and don't really need the compression (the USB HDD is 500GB which can easily swallow both of the HDDs being backed up).

A number of suggestions as to the best program to use for backing up have been made, but many sound like they are overkill for my purposes. All I would need is something simple (like me :) ) and reliable. Any recommendations for this purpose?




"If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about the answers." - Thomas Pynchon, "Gravity's Rainbow"

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