[nSLUG] Backups: dealing with large, growing photo collections (was: Selling Used Computers)

Richard Bonner ak621 at chebucto.ns.ca
Tue Mar 30 13:37:44 ADT 2010

On Tue, 30 Mar 2010, Ben Armstrong wrote:

> On 03/30/2010 09:20 AM, Richard Bonner wrote:
>> ***   I can't believe that so many don't seem to bother with backups.
>> With the low cost of floppies and flashdrives - even used zip drives,
>> there is no excuse except for laziness, as I see it.

> You've got to be kidding.  OK, I won't disagree that backups are a good
> thing, but as my 1 terabyte drive fills up, you would counsel me to use
> such small media?

***   No, but we were talking about those with older, used computers 
with considerably less storage areas.  (-:

> Even the largest of these, flash drives, would be prohibitively 
> expensive at that size.

***   Costs are dropping, but that aside, one only need back up data, 
not programs. Even with movies, one could transfer them to DVD.

> My backups have been broken for some weeks, so I'm crossing my fingers
> that my relatively new drive will not kick it before I get it resolved.
> I have healthy supply of DVDs and have trimmed my backups down to just
> essentials: people's home dirs minus the easily identifiable
> large/transient stuff that could be re-downloaded should it ever be
> lost.

***   Sounds good.

> The problem is, I still haven't dealt with the issue of regularly
> archiving off the large photo collections each user has from their
> digital cameras, while still making it possible for them to make edits
> as they see fit.

***   My guess is that many of those photos can be dumped. People 
have a tendency to keep too many photos taken milliseconds apart, 
plus all the duds, too.  )-:.

> I'm pondering whether a unionfs would help here.  I could build a
> unionfs on top of already-archived material (as the read-only layer)
> with a read-write layer on top.  In my regular system-wide backups, I
> need only backup the read-write layer.  At some point, I would want to
> re-archive, with the new archived disks containing any updated files,
> and then re-build the union with the newly archived material forming the
> new read-only layer.  The trick would be to identify and throw out any
> disks in the archive that have directories that have changed ...

***   What about using a second TB drive?

> Hmm. Sounds like too much complexity to me.  Would probably be easier
> just to tell users "I'm sorry, once your material is archived, you can
> no longer edit it. You can make copies of files and edit them, but you
> just can't edit the originals."  That is a bit of a sacrifice in the
> users' freedom, though, for the sake of easing administration.  I would
> like to avoid this if I can.

***   To how many users are you referring?

> Does anyone here successfully use a backup strategy that fits these needs?
> Ben

***   I dump millisecond-duplicates and duds, and tend to keep the 
rest on CD-ROMs.


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