Backup media choices for FreeBSD servers

L Goodwin xrayv19 at
Tue Apr 24 00:09:21 UTC 2007

I need to implement an automated backup facility on the FreeBSD file server I'm setting up for a client. It will have a software RAID 1 Mirror/Duplex that is made available to Windows XP SP2 and Windows Vista Home Premium users as a Samba share.  I also plan to create system recovery disks (disk images) for the server and each Windows client. 

This leaves backing up user data on some schedule. I've read "Backup Basics", but have some questions:

Which is best backup media for a FreeBSD file server, based on known issues (or lack of) with each format? I need to decide between the following formats:
 a) CD-R (or CD-RW?)
 b) DVD-R (or CD-RW?)
 c) Streaming tape (which format/standard?)
Which is the best method for backing up data files on a Samba sharer FreeBSD?
Handbook says dump is the only way to go.

Is it possible to have a Windows client perform the backup files on the Samba share to a local Re-Writable CD or DVD drive? If the answer is YES, what are the pros and cons of a UNIX-based (data-file only) backup vs. a Windows-based one?
Please add to my list of pros and cons:

Windows Backup:
PRO: Backup can be restored to a Windows drive while server is being fixed?
CON: Users might forget to replace backup disk after using optical drive.

FreeBSD Backup:
PRO: Out of sight from users (server is in a storeroom).
CON: Cannot restore backup to a Windows disk while server is being fixed?

These are some of my other considerations:
 1) Cost is a primary concern. Budget does not allow for a multi-drive solution. Best if client does not handle backups (change discs/tapes), so a solution that permits storing several backups to same disc/tape preferred.

2) I only want to back up user data (not the OS). Current user data occupies less than 1GB of drive space, and is expected to grow at a modest rate.

3) I do NOT have a writable CD or DVD drive (but can buy one if not too spendy).

4) I have an external SCSI connection, but very little "shelf" space.

5) The server does not have room for another internal device (except if swapping out the existing ATAPI CD-ROM drive).

6) I have an Ecrix Corporation Model VXI-1A SCSI internal tape drive that I assume is obsolete (comments appreciated). Anyway, I don't have room for it.
7) Have not yet settled on a backup schedule. May be weekly or monthly or ad-hoc, but daily is probably out of the question. The RAID 1 array is expected to provide some degree of protection in leieu of daily backups. Plan to back up all documents each time, rather than implement a two-tiered backup process.


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