disk recovery

Jerry McAllister jerrymc at clunix.cl.msu.edu
Mon May 24 06:42:06 PDT 2004


> Hi,
> I have a personal server with 400Gb of hard disks in various shapes and
> sizes.  I don't have enough money for redundant disks, and I would like
> to know what the most efficient way of making sure my data doesn't get
> lost, in case of a hard drive failure.  The best would be for some sort
> of recovery if a disk goes south for the winter.

If that data is important, then it is worth the cost of backing up.

> On this note, what's the best way of recovering data when a disk does go
> bad.

The only way is to restore it from a backup.   You could try one of those
emergency NSA type recovery services, but that would cost you far more
than buying a backup system.   

So, whatever media you choose, shell it out for some backup capacity.
In the short run, some additional disks might be the easiest and
cheapest.   Just add enough disk to hold everything and use dump(8) to
a file on the extra disk to make the backup.   Pull the disks and 
set them aside in a clean storage space.  Use a different set of disk
the next time and alternate/rotate them.   Then if you need something
or everything back, it is easy to get it using restore.
You could create a mirroring system, but that is not quite a backup
since it is left on the machine and is subject to the same environmental
conditions that might cause the main disks to fail.

In the longer run, it might actually still be cheaper to get a 
good tape system such as DLT.    Then you can make a really good
media rotation of maybe 5 sets, plus an occasional "archive" set.
With that much data or more, don't bother with one of the cheapie
tape systems.  You will overload its duty cycle quickly and have
to replace it too often.


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