backup solution for home FreeBSD server

John L johnl at
Fri Apr 6 15:53:55 UTC 2007

>> Get a couple of 150G USB disks.  They work great, you can use
>> dump/restore or just pax -r -w to copy stuff to the disks.

>Have you also considered tape backup as well as standard disks?

I used to use DLT tapes, and I looked at AIT before I decided on
disks.  The disks have a couple of advantages that would be hard to
match with tape.  One is that the backups are completely unattended; I
have two USB drives plugged in at a time, and some little scripts wake
up each night, figure out which disk has the least recent backups,
delete enough old stuff to make room for a new backup, and then use
pax -r -w to make the backup from each of the computers on my LAN.
The only manual work I need to do is to swap a drive with the one in
my safe deposit box once a week.  Also, since they're disks, getting
files back from a backup is a snap, just cp them from the most recent
backup copy.  The three disks together cost under $500, and if I need
more backup space, I can just buy some more larger ones.

To get approximately the same unattended backups I have with my USB
disks I would need an AIT jukebox for about $4000.  Getting files back
would be much more painful, since I would have to spin through an
entire dump or cpio image to find a file.

Tapes make sense if you have a vast amount of data, multiple
terabytes.  You need a lot of terabytes before the cheaper media makes
up for the much more expensive drives, and it's still nowhere near as
convenient as disks.


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