We have a share available via NFS called share. All of our software, documents, versions of websites are on this share. It doesn’t contain any live systems stuff, but it is quite large. We bought a 15/30 gig DLT drive for cheap on Ebay, and some used DLT tapes to go with it. Many of the tapes don’t even look like they have been used. For home use or a shop on a tight budget, this is the way to go. The tar utility is fabulous, because the format is universal. We use GNU tar, which is what comes with Linux. [political tangent/note: RMS has been ridiculed for his insistence that Linux be called GNU/Linux. Well tar is yet another GNU utility that makes Linux distributions an OS. We tend to agree in general that GNU/Linux is a better, if unweildy, name. RMS, true, is a bit cranky, but so are we. 🙂 Then again, if you care about this, then you probably know how to use tar. :-)) ]
Here is the command we use to backup share:
[root@mondo /share]# tar -clpMvf /dev/st0 *
-c create a new archive
-l stay in local file system when creating an archive
-p preserve permissions
-M multiple tapes
-v verbose, lists the files as you back it up
-f specify a file (/dev/st0, our tape device)
* all files and directories in the current directory
Note that we don’t have anything weird like hidden files, open files, or links to deal with like you would have with live system files. This is simply a share for our data.
When you are done, you can use the -d option instead of -c to compare the files on the tape to the ones on the filesystem:
tar -dMf /dev/st0
If you don’t need the complexity of a more sophisticated backup system, tar is just dandy. Note that with Samba, you could mount Windows filesystems on a GNU/Linux box and back them up with tar. Again, you should only do this for pure data directories, not system stuff, and you should test issues like open files, etc. It would make a glorious secondary backup system for Windows shops. No cost for an extra OS or backup software: just any old box, a tape drive and surplus tapes from Ebay, a bunch of cheap IDE drives in a RAID array and preconfigured Samba (see our article on Samba installation). Back up the target share at night directly to the IDE drives, and after that back up the IDE drives to tape. This will compress your backup window and allow for tape swaps if needed. If you have a failure on your main Windows file server, users could access the files on the Samba box. If your experience is like ours, you may very well have to reinstall your Windows box to get the system stable again. In the mean time, users can access the Samba box. You could set it up Read Only if you wish, or you could mark the files Read Only when you get your Windows box back up and are ready to start copying files.