backup

Lasting Digital Archives: Millenniata's New Archival DVD Technology

A new optical disk technology offers a fundamental new capability -- which is storing offline archives in a format with a shelf life of many decades (or even centuries). The key is in the pits: unlike commonly available dye-based CD-R and DVD-R media, the Millenniata writer actually laser etches physical pits into the writable layer of its "M-Disc" DVD-ROMs. Because the pits are physical structures, like the pits on pressed media, they have the same kind of shelf-life -- but in a way that is economical for low-copy archives. The niche here is for digital archives of "time capsule" data: family photographs, historical records, original manuscripts, video footage and masters, and so on. Perhaps more remarkably, the drives and disks, are affordable enough for the target applications and available commercially right now.

Backup up your GoogleMail locally with getmail

To the chagrin of their competitors, GoogleMail seems to have become almost as synonymous with webmail as Google has with search engine (recently my six year old was explaining to me how he Googled for something at school). GoogleMail is a useful tool and has a lot of advantages over traditional client-server mail accounts, particularly if you are on the move. To be honest those sorts of advantages are present in pretty much any webmail setup: I'm just concentrating on GoogleMail because it's by my experience the most popular. But GoogleMail has one disadvantage, all your messages are stored on Google's servers. If you lose access to Google service or to your account then you lose your e-mails. Fear not oh free software lover, help is at hand in the form of the very useful getmail.

Make your own Wayback Machine or Time Machine in GNU/Linux with rsnapshot

A good backup system can help you recover from a lot of different kinds of situations: a botched upgrade (requiring re-installation), a hard drive crash, or even thumb-fingered users deleting the wrong file. In practice, though I've experienced all of these, it's the last sort of problem that causes me the most pain. Sometimes you just wish you could go back a few days in time and grab that file. What you want is something like the Internet Archive's "Wayback Machine", but for your own system. Here's how to set one up using the rsnapshot package (included in the Debian and Ubuntu distributions).

Indexing offline CD-ROM archives

Suppose you've been good (or sort of good anyway), and you have a huge stack of CD-ROMs (or DVDs) with backups and archives of your old files. Great. But how can you find anything? I solved this problem today by making an index of all the files stored on these disks using a few simple GNU command line tools.

How to back up your Master Boot Record (MBR): fail to prepare or prepare to fail

Backup, like security, is a well-worn mantra in the world of GNU/Linux—and even the most battle-hardened, street-wise user has, for whatever reason, thought about regular backups after disaster has already struck. It is an all too familiar story. System Administrators, by the very nature of their work, will have that imperative carved on their headstones. For them it will be a way of life. Desktop users, being responsible only for themselves, can afford to be a little more louche about such things. If it all goes a bit “arms in the air” there is no one to reproach them but themselves.

Book review: Backup & Recovery by W. Curtis Preston

Linus Torvalds once wrote on linux.dev.kernel, “Only wimps use tape backup: real men just upload their important stuff on ftp, and let the rest of the world mirror it ;)”. While his humorous comment might not be feasible for most, the topic of backing up important files (along with recovering them) is very crucial to any person or business. One excellent book which covers this topic is Backup & Recovery by W. Curtis Preston and published by O’Reilly. The book covers not only specific solutions but methodologies as well. It is a very complete and detailed look at the whole process of data backup and recovery.

Backup your workstation with Backup Manager

Backing up is one of those tedious jobs that has to be done but is usually relegated to the end of the To Do list. Enter Backup Manager, which is a set of Bash and Perl scripts that alleviate the tediousness of performing backups. Taking away some of the complexity of backup tools and combining others, Backup Manager is similar to other backup programs like my pc backup in that it brings simplicity to backing up. Obtaining a higher level view of backups also allows easier management of archives including retention. What follows is a method of backing up a single workstation daily and managing those backups.

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