[nSLUG] Linuxfest "Backups" presentation

Robin Murray nibor.yarrum at gmail.com
Sun May 16 10:40:20 ADT 2010

Any discussion of backup strategies today should include the cloud. I have
been using SpiderOak for a couple of months now, and although they have been
experiencing some growing pains, I've been impressed with the service. I get
100GB for $10/month, I can back up as many clients as I like on the account,
and my files are available anywhere I have access to the net. The agent
automatically copies new/updated files without your intervention, and no
files are ever deleted on the server unless you give the go-ahead, so
provided you don't blow the 100GB limit, you have access to all versions of
your files. It's essentially a "set it and forget it" strategy (ovbiously
with some caveats). You won't have to remember to manage your backups, you
will have no worries about old media going stale, and if you return home one
day to a large smoking crater, at least you will still have your digital
data nicely stored offsite.

Using the SpiderOak strategy, I was able to justify moving my web site from
a provider to a server in my basement. Because I have my web site backed up
offsite, I know I can recreate it if my server ever goes pair-shaped. I also
get all the benefits of backing up anything else I want and having access to
my files over the net. And to boot, it costs me less than what I was paying
just for an offsite web site.

Although cloud backups won't be for everyone, I think it's the ultimate
backup solution for most home users.

Also I would mention the vital importance of actually TESTING the backup and
restore procedures periodically. How many stories have we heard of people
meticulously creating a comprehensive backup strategy only to find a vital
peice missing when they actually go to restore?

As an aside, I did some research on low level backup utilities and was
surprised at how little afio seems to be used, considering it's advantages.
You can compress each file indivually, and the restore code will read beyond
io errors on the backup media until it finds a good block. Combined, these
two features allow you to restore almost all files from an afio backup even
if the backup is corrupt in some spot. This is an advantage I was unable to
find in other backup utilities.

Robin Murray
Hatchel Lake,
Nova Scotia

On Tue, May 11, 2010 at 9:17 PM, Jack Warkentin <jwark at eastlink.ca> wrote:

> Hi Everybody
> At the Linuxfest on 10 April 2010 I gave a presentation on "Backing Up
> Home computers". I have polished this up and Ben Armstrong has posted it
> on the nSLUG wiki at
> http://nslug.ns.ca/~synrg/LinuxFest_Apr_2010/BackupsPresentationIncProgs.pdf<http://nslug.ns.ca/%7Esynrg/LinuxFest_Apr_2010/BackupsPresentationIncProgs.pdf>
> I would be grateful for comments on this presentation with the goal of
> improving it, so any comments would be much appreciated. So don't be
> bashfull, be *critical*!
> Regards
> Jack
> Jack Warkentin, phone 902-404-0457, email jwark at eastlink.ca
> 39 Inverness Avenue, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, B3P 1X6
> _______________________________________________
> nSLUG mailing list
> nSLUG at nslug.ns.ca
> http://nslug.ns.ca/mailman/listinfo/nslug
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