Backup Software

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A simple approach that lets you have lots of snapshots over time is: http://www.mikerubel.org/computers/rsync_snapshots/

David Greaves particularly likes this saying:

It's fast because it does incremental changes; you can access 'snapshots' that represent the system at the time of the backup; and you have simple file level access to your backups. I use it to backup my server instead of mirroring.


One approach is http://www.mondorescue.org/

Jarod Wilson once said:

Another very cool program to check out is mondorescue. You can create a full bare-metal recovery disc set, backup to CD/DVD, ISO image file, NFS, local HD, etc., incrementals, differentials, fulls, etc...

Another is http://backuppc.sourceforge.net/

Mike Trisko said of this:

It's not hard to set up, and once it's there, backups just happen.  It uses a file pool so that identical files (whether across backups or across multiple boxes) are only stored once.  It includes a web interface for monitoring status of backups, doing restores, etc., and has other nice features like e-mail alerts if backups haven't happened for a while for a particular host.  It can use different connection methods (e.g., smb, ssh, rsyncd) and transfer methods (e.g., smbclient, tar, rsync).

Why not use a RAID mirror?

Don't do this!! Please!! It's definitely cool - but is it what you want? If a disk fails then sure - you're back up and running in no time (usually). But if you make a mistake and delete a valuable file - or worse a directory full of irreplaceable stuff like digital photos - "doh!" 'cos it's gone. No chance of getting it back. Nada, zip, none. Toast. Now if you're running a 24x7 operation then mirrors are good - if you're a human on your own system they're not (not for backups anyway). If you say "never" then fine - you don't need backups anyway ;) David Greaves
PS I speak from so close to a bitter experience - and at the time that occurred I had 13 years professional sysadmin experience! (which is probably why it was only so close!) 

Lets re-phrase this. RAID is used in order to keep a system running in spite of HD failures. If you keep your recordings on a RAID5 as I do (or on a mirror (RAID1)), you ensure that even if a disk fails, you will still be able to continue, and your viewing experience / ongoing recording will continue (provided its a well configured RAID. Do *not* use 2 ATA disks on the same channel for this). RAID simply is not a backup solution. Personally when i want to keep a recording i copy it to a DVD. Rudy Zijlstra