Re: [SLUG] Looking for a way (that works) to back up entire system

From: steve szmidt (
Date: Mon Mar 03 2008 - 20:54:12 EST

On Monday 03 March 2008, Donald E Haselwood wrote:
> What is a good way to backup the entire linux system?

> I was wondering how Slug'ers are doing system backups (and of course the
> next step is recovery, but that comes later).
> Don

I never back up the whole thing as it's too easy to just reinstall from
scratch. My main production machine is running RAID as does the backup
server. Then I use rsync to backup data files and personal settings.

For windows you can just use dd from Linux, or Ghost.

On windows it takes a really long time to get back to where you were, but in
Linux the install is fast. I looked on how often I loose drives vs how much
it "cost" to backup everything.

For me that was an easy decision. If I lose a drive per year, which I don't,
then comparing that with space used and maybe delays while backup is running
that adds up to a lot more waste than the occasional install. Plus I usually
want to put a new distro on the failing machine at that point.

rsync runs once an hour on each machine. I don't backup stuff that I can d/l
unless it's really hard to get. Especially iso's. The internet is a better
storage place for programs than I want my backup server to be.

I do d/l iso's and programs that I keep in a directory, but rsync is told to
stay away. Of course CDs and DVDs have been made of iso's I like. (Adding up
to hundreds so I can install RH from the last century if I could find a

The backup server uses high end drives and is running s/w RAID 6 so that I can
use any computer without worrying about h/w RAID issues. (Which has two
stripes and is more resilient to drive failures.)

Recovering a backup is almost more important than the backup, as the first is
kinda useless without the 2nd need. All I do is make my new install and then
copy the backup of /home (which also contains a backup of /etc) to the new
drive and all is well again. At the most I loose 1 hour of work.

Now for critical stuff I recommend using a couple of standalone drives like a
NAS. You can use it to keep an off line storage, to avoid disaster during the
lightning season.

Being off line is important as the shock can blow out every single computer
you have. I knew an office which had two buildings. Lightning hit between two
buildings and fried all 20+ computers. That was not even a direct hit.


Steve Szmidt

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