small office backup hardware advice

Jerry McAllister jerrymc at
Sun Jun 1 20:32:26 UTC 2008

On Sun, Jun 01, 2008 at 09:38:48AM -0400, Robert Huff wrote:

> Sdavtaker writes:
 >  Im working in a small office (4 PC with 80GB HD each and a
 >  "server" with a 200GB HD).
 >  We were working with no backups at all until now, we was just
 >  replicating some critical data in more than 1 PC all the time,
 >  back then there was no money for any hard copy of the data
 >  outside of the network (maybe a couple DVDR time to time).
 >  Now, they gave me some money for backup stuff.

Depends on just what you need.   If you just want to cover a system
failure, then maybe you should get some USB connected hard drives.
They are pretty cheap now.   

If you have 4 80 GB drives to back up, then get at least 3 drives
with 350 GB space or more.    

Use fdisk/disklabel/newfs to create 4 (or more) 90 GB filesystems
on each drive.    
Then set up a rotation of those drives so you use dump(8) to back up
each current file system that has important data to those USB drives.
So, PC A gets dumped to filesystem da0s1a, PC B to da0s1b, etc.

Say there is a root, /usr and /data file systems that you want to
back up, just for example, then you would plug in the USB disk
and mount them something like this.

On PC A,  
  mount /da0s1a /pcabak
  dump 0aLf /pcabak/root.bak /
  dump 0aLf /pcabak/usr.bak /usr
  dump OaLf /pcbak/data.bak /data

Then on PC B,  
  mount /da0s1b /pcbbak
  dump 0aLf /pcbbak/root.bak /
  dump 0aLf /pcbbak/usr.bak /usr
  dump OaLf /pcbak/data.bak /data

This will crate three appropriately named backup files for each
PC on the USB disk.   This is presuming the USB connects as /dev/da0
It could be something else if you have other SCSI devices.  So, it
might ende up as /dev/da1 or something like that.

Really, you don't need all the extra partitions and filesystems.
Just make one and create appropriately named directories.  But
the separate filesystems will enforce separation of that us 
useful to you.

Or, since there are just exactly 4 systems and it is possible to
make up to 4 slices on a drive, then make 4 slices and then 
partitions within each slice to match those on the current machines.
Say you want, for some reason, to back up partitions a, d, e of
PC A and partitions d, f, g of PC B, etc (just grabbing partitions
out of the hat here to use as example here), then

Make slice 1 for PC A, slice 2 for PC b, slice 3 for PC C and slice 4 for PC D
on each USB disk.

Then make partitions a, d, e on slice 1, d, f, g on slice 2, etc.
Use newfs(8) to build file systems of each of those partitions and
then use dump to create the dump files in each.    That makes sense
but may be more bother then really needed, since you can distinguish
the dumps just by the names you give them.

If you must create archive backups, then you will probably want to go
to a good tape system, such as DLT or LTO tapes.   But, they are so
expensive relative to buying a handful of 350 - 500 GB USB hard drives
that you should think carefully about your needs before deciding.

Have fun,


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