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When did you last verify that your backup could be restored?

Displaying poll results.
My what?
  31% 39 votes
Never
  14% 18 votes
Some years ago
  10% 13 votes
Some years ago with a different backup system, on different hardware, in a different company
  4% 6 votes
My data is public and i just google it for recovery
  2% 3 votes
I'm in the backup department, not the recovery department - you insensitive clod!
  9% 12 votes
Other - please specify in comments
  25% 31 votes
122 total votes.
[ Voting Booth | Other Polls | Back Home ]
  • Don't complain about lack of options. You've got to pick a few when you do multiple choice. Those are the breaks.
  • Feel free to suggest poll ideas if you're feeling creative. I'd strongly suggest reading the past polls first.
  • This whole thing is wildly inaccurate. Rounding errors, ballot stuffers, dynamic IPs, firewalls. If you're using these numbers to do anything important, you're insane.
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  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by zocalo on Monday November 23, @08:56AM (15 children)

    by zocalo (302) on Monday November 23, @08:56AM (#1080602)
    I'm guessing this is intended as a joke poll from the available options though.

    Anyway, on a personal level - I did a selected config and full data restore from backup (i was rebuilding a PC) just this weekend, funnily enough, and yes, everything worked fine.
    Work hasn't been my dept. for ages (hurrah!), but those who are responsible for it test semi-randomly selected restores every weekend except for month-ends, with every on-prem system backup and all key data stores verified at least once a year. We don't put any data on system drives and use a heavily-virtualised infrastructure though, so this isn't really all that hard to do. Not entirely sure how they manage backing-up cloud data, although I know they do, so I'll have to ask about that!

    On the subject of the cloud, and given the times, I am rather surprised that you didn't have an "I completely trust my cloud provider" option though, unless that's supposed to be the "My data is public [AKA in an unsecured bucket] and i just google it for recovery" option? ;)
    --
    UNIX? They're not even circumcised! Savages!
    • (Score: 2) by driverless on Monday November 23, @09:33AM

      by driverless (4770) on Monday November 23, @09:33AM (#1080609)

      Since one would hope at least some of the readers on here do have a proper backup regimen, for which there are no options given in the poll, there's going to be an awful lot of votes in "other". In my case I used versioned backups and test from time to time when I need to roll back to a previous version. Other than that I also get alerts if any backups fail, relying on the backup software to tell me that something isn't working, which is what software automation is meant for.

    • (Score: 2) by cosurgi on Monday November 23, @10:41AM (1 child)

      by cosurgi (272) on Monday November 23, @10:41AM (#1080622) Journal

      every two weeks. just today I am checking if restore procedure was succesfull.

      --
      #
      #\ @ ? [adom.de] Colonize Mars [kozicki.pl]
      #
      • (Score: 3, Informative) by mhajicek on Friday November 27, @07:45PM

        by mhajicek (51) on Friday November 27, @07:45PM (#1081741)

        CNC programming; I work on the local drive, then mirror everything to the server with Beyond Compare to send to the machine.

    • (Score: 2) by isj on Monday November 23, @01:37PM (3 children)

      by isj (5249) on Monday November 23, @01:37PM (#1080657) Homepage

      I'm guessing this is intended as a joke poll from the available options though.

      It is partially a joke. We have all heard the stories about backups that don't work, or simple take too long to restore, rendering them useless.

      There is also the issue about backing up what you need to restore. It can become a problem as soon as you have more servers than your backup system can handle, or if you are in a large organization. Eg. the NotPetya attack on Maersk https://www.wired.com/story/notpetya-cyberattack-ukraine-russia-code-crashed-the-world/ [wired.com] where they had backups of all individual servers but no-one had thought about the domain controllers, so they had to "restore" from an offline DC in Ghana.

      • (Score: 4, Interesting) by zocalo on Monday November 23, @03:56PM (2 children)

        by zocalo (302) on Monday November 23, @03:56PM (#1080704)
        Sure, and in the case of large scale disaster recovery restores like that, the *order* in which you restore and bring up individual systems to restore the whole can be critical. One rumour on the grapevine was this was why British Airways took so long to recover from a DC outage a few years back; hundreds of servers and network devices, all with interdependencies that no one really understood, that needed to be brought online in a specific sequence to avoid overwhelming the DC's power supplies with the initial power-on surge and allowing things to initialise properly.

        One former employer did a dry run of that level of recovery bi-annually, back when I was responsible for such things. Basically, it was the best part of a week (including prep and wrap-up) spent almost entirely in a third party DC / DR facility somewhere, while a typically very nice hotel room sat mostly empty except when you were no longer able to function and needed somewhere to crash. OK, maybe not *quite* that bad, and there were absolutely some memorable moments (and quite a lot of alcohol), but I most definitely do NOT miss those days.
        --
        UNIX? They're not even circumcised! Savages!
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 26, @09:18AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 26, @09:18AM (#1081471)

          One of the problems with serious disaster recovery planning is that no one is ever willing to test it for fear of causing the disaster they're supposed to be guarding against. This is usually true even if the purpose of the test is to demonstrate failover capability that shouldn't even cause an outage at all.

        • (Score: 5, Interesting) by VLM on Thursday December 03, @07:23PM

          by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Thursday December 03, @07:23PM (#1083738)

          all with interdependencies that no one really understood

          I wasn't personally involved but I know a guy who worked at a vmware site. (not vmware inc but a site with vSphere and all that)

          They had a dev cluster of ESXi hosts where DHCP worked incredibly well to assign addrs to the cluster. They would have the mgmt traffic on a /29 and the dhcp server would magically assign all six ESXi hosts and their dev cluster vCenter didn't really care WHICH esxi host was which, they had an automation script (vmware automation or orchestrator or some 3rd party using powershell or some nonsense I donno) that would grab the whole /29. Cool, near hands off ESXi deployment. No need to configure anything just put a new host in the network and it was magically configured and grabbed into the cluster.

          So they set up their main PROD cluster as DHCP. I mean, it worked great for DEV so why not PROD? I think they had a /28 and the script polled each addrs or something "sneaky". You can netboot ESXi using PXE or something (never personally done this...) so adding a host was as simple as plug into the correct VLAN and power up a netboot capable server and let the automation script do its magic and ta da instant new capacity.

          Then someone got the bright idea to virtualize the DHCP server, because, you know, save $$$$, so now their redundant DHCP servers are on the PROD ESXi hosts.

          As you'd guess, they had separate UPS for each ESXi host but eventually they managed to kill all their ESXi hosts at the same time and it was absolutely glorious. The way I heard it they grabbed end user equipment and plugged it into the headless servers and vmware had a high security mode where you could disable local hardware access, so they had to borrow an employees cablemodem to provide DHCP for the ESXi and some web browser long enough to find the DHCP server image on which ever ESXi host, then boot the DHCP, unplug all the crazy stuff, and it all came back up eventually.

          Hilariously for years they had problems where an operator would maintenance-mode host #3 or whatever in vsphere in order to power it down and install more memory or dust the fans or something, then because it was DHCP who knows which one was host #3 so they'd whack the power switch on host #5 for example. Now they're two hosts down. FT fault tolerance and HA high availability got a heck of a workout at that place.

          I've heard NSX stories from both the -V and -T era that are almost as good along the lines where they can't boot NSXmanager to work around a maint window config change because they put NSXmanager on the dead cluster. Its a nice system if you have an enormous ten-tuply redundant cluster but a recipe for pain on small clusters.

          Another "funny" dumb vmware story is messing up vsphere bad enough to be unbootable so you can't access the distributed ethernet switch to mess with anything including provisioning a new vsphere. So you install vsphere on a desktop running vmware workstation then migrate the new working vsphere off the workstation onto the esxi hosts, crazy stuff.

          Basically virtualization takes a system that had numerous small outages and replaces it with a system that has very few unimaginably large outages, not sure there's an actual net gain LOL. Rapid automated provisioning of end user stuff, like the stuff I programmed on, is pretty nice tho. "Run this script over lunch to obtain a new production system for use in testing" is pretty cool, when it works.

    • (Score: 4, Funny) by PartTimeZombie on Tuesday November 24, @10:36PM (3 children)

      by PartTimeZombie (4827) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday November 24, @10:36PM (#1081114)

      I think if you store your stuff in the Cloud you don't have to make backups.

      It's the same a RAID in that regard.

      • (Score: 3, Informative) by WizardFusion on Thursday November 26, @09:14AM

        by WizardFusion (498) Subscriber Badge on Thursday November 26, @09:14AM (#1081469) Journal

        Not really. The "Cloud" may decide to just randomly delete all your data with nothing more than a "Oops, my bad"
        The Cloud is not your friend and should not be used as the only backup location.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 26, @09:40AM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 26, @09:40AM (#1081475)

        I have two owncloud accounts, and both of the providers explicitly state that owncloud is not a backup. Technically, a "cloud account" is a simpler way to mirror data across devices, hiding away extensive usage of `rsync`. A backup is different because it's an offline copy of your data, and you should preferably have two of them, in different physical locations.

        • (Score: 2) by Dr Spin on Sunday November 29, @03:52PM

          by Dr Spin (5239) on Sunday November 29, @03:52PM (#1082043)

          A backup is different because it's an offline copy of your data, and you should preferably have two of them, in different physical locations.

          That is THREE of them. On tape, in three different places.

          When you talk about cloud, assuming the data turns out to be there when you want it, how fast will you get it?

          Your broadband might be 1MB/s. LTO tape can do 6GB/s.

          And you can put a lot of tapes in an estate car ;-}

          --
          Guns don't kill thousands, presidents kill thousands.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 25, @02:18AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 25, @02:18AM (#1081161)
      What are they using for backup? Veeams, IBM Spectrum Protect or something cheaper ?
    • (Score: 2) by dltaylor on Wednesday November 25, @08:58AM (1 child)

      by dltaylor (4693) on Wednesday November 25, @08:58AM (#1081225)

      I do a full-drive zip to an external server (you know, "dd if=/dev/sdX [more parameters] | gzip -9 > [external drive file]"), validate the sums, then copy that zip to another drive stored elsewhere. Recovery has always been trivial: just expand the zip back to an appropriate-sized drive and check the sum.

      I've recovered three drives this way, and migrated two (yes, the MBR data is wrong, but easy to fix).

      Short-term user data backups are usually rsync, with no delete on the target (in case a file has wrongly been deleted). Clutters the target sometimes, but easy enough to hand-prune.

      • (Score: 3, Informative) by coolgopher on Wednesday November 25, @11:08PM

        by coolgopher (1157) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday November 25, @11:08PM (#1081399)

        Depending on where your time & space constraints lie, it could be very worthwhile considering xz over gzip as it achieves much better compression.

    • (Score: 2) by mhajicek on Thursday December 10, @08:00PM

      by mhajicek (51) on Thursday December 10, @08:00PM (#1086032)

      I'd love to make regular backups, but I can't source the hardware to upload my mind.

  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by martyb on Monday November 23, @04:06PM (5 children)

    by martyb (76) Subscriber Badge on Monday November 23, @04:06PM (#1080706) Journal

    Serious question:

    If you only have a single computer, how CAN you SAFELY verify your backup?

    Background:

    I booted my laptop (Win 7 Pro X64; DELL Latitude E6400 - Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Duo CPU P8700; BIOS; 6GB RAM: 2GB + 4GB) from a USB stick running Linux. Used dd to do a full disk copy of the internal drive (1 TB Samsung 860 EVO SSD) to another drive in external USB enclosure (1 TB Samsung 860 EVO SSD). Took something like 6(8?) hours.

    From all appearances, the backup was successful.

    I installed the backup into another laptop (DELL Latitude E6410 - Intel(R) Core(TM) i5 CPU M 540; UEFI; 4 GB RAM: 2GB +2GB).

    Would not boot; kept trying to load, failing, and trying again.

    Tried a few permutations of UEFI parameters with no luck. Intended to go back and try more permutations, but never did... too busy trying to actually accomplish stuff with original system.

    Later...

    Remembered I had deleted a file accidentally, but maybe it was on the backup?

    Removed backup from E6410, put in external USB enclosure, attached it to original E6400... Not recognized?!

    Tried hibernate/resume; still not recognized.

    Tried Shutdown, power off, power on. Forgot my boot order was external USB before internal SSD. Boot failure: Windows was claiming I might have a fraudulent copy of Windows; needed to re-enter product key.

    Doh!

    Powered down, entered BIOS, changed boot order, resumed boot... Windows still claimed possibly fraudulent copy of Windows.

    Gave up. Powered down laptop. Disconnected external drive. Powered back up. Still got complaint of possibly fraudulent copy of Windows. Needed to do some stuff so continued in this "limp mode"... then got a BSOD.

    Every subsequent reboot attempt immediately gave a BSOD.

    I'd been intending to move from Windows to Linux for a long time, so I have used this as motivation to get started -- still have a HUGE ways to go, but am chipping away at things and making slow progress.

    When you have ONLY ONE computer, HOW can you safely verify your backup works?

    I was fortunate to have multiple computers, but it leads me to ask:

    1. What if your boot disk is not removable?
    2. How can you backup BIOS settings? Restore them?
    3. How can you backup UEFI settings? Restore them?
    4. What is an average user to do?
    --
    Wit is intellect, dancing.
    • (Score: 4, Informative) by DECbot on Monday November 23, @05:12PM (1 child)

      by DECbot (832) Subscriber Badge on Monday November 23, @05:12PM (#1080728) Journal

      I'm not a professional and my only backup is spare drive I dumped some files on a few years ago.... So, with those caveats out of the way, here's my suggestion on how it should be done. Have a storage solution for your backups (preferably off site and geographically distant to guard against natural disasters, fire, theft, etc) and a spare internal drive that you image your backups onto. So the procedure would look like:

      1. create images of your drives to your backup storage (external drive, cloud, NAS, etc)
      2. write the backup images onto your spare drive
      3. swap drives
      4. attempt to boot from the spare drive with the images from the backups
      5. if it works and your data is there, it is good. If it doesn't work, check how you're making your backups and transferring images and try again.

      This way, you know you have a good local copy of your data that you can boot from and a geographically remote copy of your data.
       
      If your boot disk is not physically removable, then you made a mistake by purchasing a disposable computer.

      --
      cats~$ sudo chown -R us /home/base
      • (Score: 2) by maxwell demon on Thursday November 26, @01:29PM

        by maxwell demon (1608) on Thursday November 26, @01:29PM (#1081495) Journal

        This procedure has the disadvantage of wearing out your physical connections. Anyway, why would you backup your boot disk anyway? The OS can easily be reinstalled; it's the data you don't want to lose.

        --
        The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
    • (Score: 2) by RS3 on Sunday November 29, @12:49AM (2 children)

      by RS3 (6367) on Sunday November 29, @12:49AM (#1081966)

      Okay, many thoughts and speculations, so take with some grains of salt.

      First kudos for doing a nice simple / complete drive image backup. I tend to do some that way, but I make the image a file on a bigger disk. It works better if you just dd the partition, rather than the whole drive. For example: dd if=/dev/sda1 of=/mnt/windows1.img rather than if=/dev/sda

      Some external USB drive adapters / enclosures are sssllllooooowwwwwww. I usually do what you did, but using a desktop machine with enough SATA and/or PATA ports. In fact, I have one cooking right now.

      You backed up drive image from hardware 1, but expected that Windows install to run on different hardware. I've rarely had that work well if at all. One time I was determined to fix it, and booted in "safe mode", ended up going into "Device Manager", "View" and "Show hidden devices", then using Microsoft's "Autoruns" and Nirsoft's "DevManView" to uninstall ALL of the many drivers for which there was NO hardware in the present machine. Then again in "Device Manager", click once on the top-level computer's name, then under "Action" do "Scan for hardware changes", run Windows Update, do these things maybe many times, etc. After you clean up all the hair you tore out, you get your Windows install media, boot it, and run a "repair installation" and months later you have a partially running system.

      I don't know the number, but Windows counts how many times it sees hardware changes, and at some point moronically thinks you've copied the install and are running it on new unlicensed hardware. I've gotten into trouble with it when swapping RAM, CPUs, hard drives, adapter cards, etc.

      I think, but could be wrong, if you have an OEM Windows install, like Dell version running on Dell hardware, you might not see the stupid messages about not being "genuine" windows.

      If your boot disk is not removable, you look for some automotive body tools and teach it a lesson. Alternatively you find a highway construction site and the computer "accidentally" falls under a steam roller. Then insurance buys you a new one, and you're more careful about buying one with a removable drive.

      I don't know of a way to back up BIOS or UEFI settings. That said, there is an API for software to get at the settings, but you'd have to boot the system to be able to restore, or maybe someone has a utility you can run from a USB / optical boot. I understand most of BIOS/UEFI things well enough to set them, and many will work well with the defaults. Otherwise I might write them down, or take screenshots with a (phone) camera.

      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by martyb on Saturday December 05, @07:56PM (1 child)

        by martyb (76) Subscriber Badge on Saturday December 05, @07:56PM (#1084404) Journal

        Thanks for the response. Much appreciated!

        You backed up drive image from hardware 1, but expected that Windows install to run on different hardware.

        I think there is a misunderstanding. Never once did I intend to boot from the backup. I was just trying to restore a file from it. Had the backup drive connect as an external USB disk. My intent was to locate and then copy a file from the USB drive to my internal drive.

        For whatever reason, Windows failed to recognize that the external drive was attached when I first connected it. I could not find a way to access the files on the external drive.

        Since my system had been up for about a month, I thought Windows might have gone sideways over time. Just need a reboot and I'd be fine. Right?

        Unfortunately for me, Windows did what I told it to do when I tried rebooting. I failed to realize my boot order was USB before internal drive... until it was too late. At that point the damage was already done.

        In all cases. the drives were attached to the same (original) laptop computer; no other machine was involved.

        --
        Wit is intellect, dancing.
        • (Score: 2) by RS3 on Saturday December 05, @08:34PM

          by RS3 (6367) on Saturday December 05, @08:34PM (#1084412)

          My intent was to locate and then copy a file from the USB drive to my internal drive.

          Perfect plan.

          I installed the backup into another laptop (DELL ...

          That's where I thought you were saying you put a "cloned" drive into another laptop. I understand now. :)

          So with drive connected external USB, Windows tried to boot, and somehow corrupted the drive? I can see where Windows would have tried to rebuild its kernel, but shouldn't have corrupted any filesystem structure.

          Have you run simple "chkdsk" and/or other disk check tools, including scanning for bad sectors?

          I have spinning rust drives failing left and right. I hate them. Esp. Seagate.

  • (Score: 3, Funny) by DECbot on Monday November 23, @04:43PM

    by DECbot (832) Subscriber Badge on Monday November 23, @04:43PM (#1080718) Journal

    I've requested for the NSA to send me a copy of all my data for backup verification, but they sure are taking their time getting back to me. Maybe I shouldn't have requested it to be sent via carrier pidgin.

    --
    cats~$ sudo chown -R us /home/base
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 23, @05:52PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 23, @05:52PM (#1080740)

    None of my data is important, I don't care if I lose it.

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Runaway1956 on Monday November 23, @06:24PM (8 children)

    by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Monday November 23, @06:24PM (#1080754) Homepage Journal

    Some years ago with a different backup system, on different hardware, in a different company

    That one amuses me. It also comes closest to what I have. A real "backup" would mean backing up system settings, including drivers, licenses, etc.

    On Linux, just copying /home/user to an external drive is "backup" enough for me. Documents, emails, ebooks and other media, are all easily restored after the most catastrophic system failures. Migrate to a new system completely, and it "restores" equally well. Even your preferences within applications ride along, if you just reinstall those applications.

    Real system settings are "lost" during a migration or hardware failures, but I can install and configure a Linux system pretty quickly.

    Of course, what works for me won't pass for "best practices" for professional/commercial systems. ;^)

    --
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ocb-S26BdRA
    • (Score: 3, Informative) by isj on Tuesday November 24, @12:28PM

      by isj (5249) on Tuesday November 24, @12:28PM (#1080961) Homepage

      That is the same approach as I have for my laptop and workstation. I only back up /home. If I ever need to restore then I probably also want to install the latest OS, repartition, etc. The only thing I will miss on those machines is /root/.bash_history

    • (Score: 2) by KritonK on Thursday November 26, @08:24PM (2 children)

      by KritonK (465) on Thursday November 26, @08:24PM (#1081567)

      Real system settings are "lost" during a migration or hardware failures, but I can install and configure a Linux system pretty quickly.

      On a desktop machine, where little more than the network requires setting, perhaps, although having a full system backup will save you the time of downloading and installing your favorite distro. On a server machine, where you might have tons of email messages and web pages, large databases, and who knows what else outside /home, having only a backup of /home is a recipe for disaster.

      • (Score: 2) by maxwell demon on Tuesday December 01, @09:06AM (1 child)

        by maxwell demon (1608) on Tuesday December 01, @09:06AM (#1082768) Journal

        But you hopefully store your web pages, emails and databases in a known location, which you can then backup the same way as the home directory (though backing up a database might be better done in the form of a database dump).

        --
        The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
        • (Score: 3, Insightful) by KritonK on Tuesday December 01, @10:18AM

          by KritonK (465) on Tuesday December 01, @10:18AM (#1082779)

          These known locations suddenly start to add up. It's much easier to simply backup one known location, /, and be done with it. It's not as if you're going to backup all these files by hand; the computer will do it for you, and with incremental backup solutions, such as rsync or duplicity, even the computer doesn't have to do much work.

    • (Score: 2) by deimtee on Friday November 27, @08:59AM

      by deimtee (3272) on Friday November 27, @08:59AM (#1081664) Journal

      Yeah same. I backup /home and /space to an external drive occasionally and stick it on a shelf. If the machine dies, pfft. Reinstall, upgrade, reload what I want from old /home.

      All the large files - music, movies etc - are on an external raid 5 box. I'd be annoyed if I lost it, but it wouldn't be catastrophic, its backup is the original CD's and DVD's in a box somewhere.

      --
      No problem is insoluble, but at Ksp = 2.943×10−25 Mercury Sulphide comes close.
    • (Score: 3, Informative) by VLM on Thursday December 03, @07:37PM (1 child)

      by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Thursday December 03, @07:37PM (#1083743)

      backing up system settings, including drivers, licenses,

      25 years ago that was a shell script, 10 years ago that was a puppet installation, now a days that's ansible's job. If a human is setting the ntp server address by hand, that's a mistake.

      I can go from freebsd boot image on the PXE server for physical or doing the vmware template thing on a virtual server, to a productive member of the cluster as a member of the active directory and everything in maybe 10, 15 minutes depending on the type of server.

      Its convenient that mysql server #7 (or whatever example) is configured exactly the same as server #2 when it comes to troubleshooting and stuff.

      Also joining a unix server to "big corporate" AD such that SSO fully works, is an afternoon's suffering if done completely by hand, but once 100% automated its like 90 seconds of the server time and it works.

      Ansible kinda grows on you after awhile. Its just a pile of python it don't care about nothing so setting it up is also like 5 minutes of quality time with "pip" the python installer on any OS. I use freebsd and it works fine. Its a "push" system where I have to tell it where and when to push, whereas the old puppet was a seemingly simpler pull system, but not an entirely reliable pull system so it was a PITA when one machine's puppet puller failed.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 06, @12:18AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 06, @12:18AM (#1084450)

        so it was a PITA when one machine's puppet puller failed.

        That's what SHE said.

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by RS3 on Saturday December 05, @08:39PM

      by RS3 (6367) on Saturday December 05, @08:39PM (#1084413)

      I also copy /etc. Even if I recreate everything from a fresh install, it's usually extremely helpful (necessary) to at least see older settings, /etc/pki stuff, /etc/httpd/ for web/blog servers, /etc/my.cnf, ...

  • (Score: 2) by cmdrklarg on Monday November 23, @10:10PM

    by cmdrklarg (5048) Subscriber Badge on Monday November 23, @10:10PM (#1080806)

    The stuff I backup at home is just my Very Important Documents (tax stuff, etc) to several thumbdrives. The only other backups are ones of my C: drive just before I do a Windows 10 feature upgrade in case it goes FUBAR and I have to restore.

    I have a lot of crap stored, but the vast majority of it is stuff that I'm not too worried about losing.

    --
    Will I ever forget to remember?
  • (Score: 2) by Subsentient on Tuesday November 24, @01:13PM

    by Subsentient (1111) on Tuesday November 24, @01:13PM (#1080965) Homepage Journal

    I mirror all my important data to my multiple computers with sftp + rsync, so if one dies, I still have it on the others. If my laptop croaks, I have it on my desktop. If they both croak, I have it on my PinePhone.

    Since I use most of my PCs every day, I tend to run into the folders etc that have my data. And so far they haven't magically disappeared.

    --
    I love when people have bumper stickers that say "Only God can judge me!", because it makes me feel like divinity.
  • (Score: 2) by Thexalon on Tuesday November 24, @02:44PM

    by Thexalon (636) on Tuesday November 24, @02:44PM (#1080989) Homepage

    For anything serious backing up, I'll have multiple servers actively using it at the same time and/or mirroring each other. Which means it's not "restore backup" so much as "switch which server has the writable database" or "regenerate the git host repo from one of the checkouts".

    --
    The inverse of "I told you so" is "Nobody could have predicted"
  • (Score: 2) by krishnoid on Tuesday November 24, @06:32PM (1 child)

    by krishnoid (1156) on Tuesday November 24, @06:32PM (#1081039)

    In case the non-techy people in your life don't think about backups, you can refer them to this Sex and the City clip [youtu.be], which should get the point across. Frankly, with all the crappy accessories they try to sell you with a new PC, I'm surprised that a backup service/procedure aren't an industry standard upsell.

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by julian on Thursday December 03, @03:30AM

      by julian (6003) on Thursday December 03, @03:30AM (#1083498)

      Apple does try to upsell you on a backup service, it's called iCloud and you get a tiny amount of storage for free, 5GB IIRC. Then they charge you more every month if you want more storage. I pay $0.99/month for the extra 50GB which is all I need because the really big stuff I handle on my own.

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Mykl on Tuesday November 24, @10:56PM (1 child)

    by Mykl (1112) on Tuesday November 24, @10:56PM (#1081123)

    I have a Mac at home, so use Time Machine for my backups (to an external HDD that I plug in once a week for that purpose).

    It's come in really handy a couple of times, most recently about a year ago when my old computer finally died. It had given fair warning a few months earlier (internal graphics card failed and needed to be re-flowed by a repair shop), so we knew that it was just a matter of time.

    We went out and bought a new machine and restored from Time Machine with no problems at all. All accounts etc were restored and working successfully.

    It's worth noting however that Time Machine does not back up the OS. It's expected that you install the OS via cloud download, recovery partition, media etc, then restore your content from Time Machine. I found that out the hard way a few years ago when messing with a few OS files that I probably shouldn't have been touching (deliberately downgrading QuickTime to improve compatibility with a really old Camcorder).

    • (Score: 1) by crunchy_one on Monday November 30, @06:07PM

      by crunchy_one (7884) on Monday November 30, @06:07PM (#1082462)

      For my Mac machines I use Time Machine. I alternate weekly backups between two external HDDs, rotating them between my home office and my car. I have also built two thumb drive installers with my current version of MacOS and keep one with each backup HDD just in case I need to perform an offline recovery to a blank HDD. So, I'm covered for theft, fire, ransomware, and software/hardware failure, in fact just about everything short of an EMP event.

      My axe of choice is Linux. I use LVM2 for my filesystem container and automatically snapshot my hot filesystems twice a day to an internal HDD using rsnapshot. Weekly, I partclone my filesystems to one of two sets of external HDDs that rotate between my home office and my car. I also keep multiple thumb drives loaded with Clonezilla and bootable Linux.

      Grudgingly, I use Windows 7 and 10 in virtual machines to run software only available for that environment or to test cross platform compatibility. Since these live on virtual disk images, they get backed up with either the MacOS or Linux. To keep from backing up each entire VDI on every incremental backup, I use Virtual Box snapshots. I've found Window's backup software to be just about useless.

      Over the years I've had several HDD failures, but have never, ever lost more than a few hours work.

  • (Score: 2) by https on Wednesday November 25, @04:24AM (1 child)

    by https (5248) on Wednesday November 25, @04:24AM (#1081194)

    If you dont have backups, and one of them isn't off-site, you have no business calling it a backup.

    --
    Offended and laughing about it.
    • (Score: 2) by ese002 on Thursday December 03, @10:54PM

      by ese002 (5306) on Thursday December 03, @10:54PM (#1083801)

      If you dont have backups, and one of them isn't off-site, you have no business calling it a backup.

      I normally bring a USB disk containing a backup of my home system to the office every Monday and then leave it there until I swap it out the following Monday.

      Then COVID hit. I have been to the office only once since March so my offsite backup is rather stale.

  • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Wednesday November 25, @03:20PM (5 children)

    by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday November 25, @03:20PM (#1081299) Journal

    The only good backup is one made to an external drive. Where I can look at the drive and see a directory structure of the backed up items. They're not in some magical backup format. I can drill down through the backup to a specific individual file and retrieve it. Furthermore, I can think of a recently modified file, and look at on a new backup and see that the recently modified version is what is on the backup.

    I don't make any effort to back up the OS, only my files. Selected directories.

    As I make changes to my system, reorganize, this tends to, over time, make the backup tree larger because it has the old structure and the reorganized structure. (My backup strategy is to copy everything being backed up into the same paths on the backup drive.)

    I use a rotating set of backup drives. Each time I make a backup, I put that pocket drive at the bottom of the stack. When make a backup, about every week or so, or whenever I think I've done something I wouldn't want to lose, then I grab the top drive off the backup stack, plug it in, and run the backup script.

    The only good backup is on an external drive where you can personally verify that your important files are actually there and up to date.

    --
    Fun fact: some people don't like facts.
    • (Score: 2) by isj on Thursday November 26, @02:24PM (4 children)

      by isj (5249) on Thursday November 26, @02:24PM (#1081503) Homepage

      I like the idea of the backup being a plain filesystem, but that doesn't work too well when the backup media are tapes.

      • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Monday November 30, @04:04PM (3 children)

        by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Monday November 30, @04:04PM (#1082405) Journal

        If the backup media were produced from 'tar' then wouldn't it be possible to locate and retrieve individual files? Or even directories?

        --
        Fun fact: some people don't like facts.
        • (Score: 2) by isj on Monday November 30, @09:42PM (2 children)

          by isj (5249) on Monday November 30, @09:42PM (#1082567) Homepage

          Yes, if the tapes were created with a plain tar then you can retrieve individual files. The major drawback is that tar is sequential without any central directory so you have to read all the tape block-by-block before you know what is there. It would be a un-fun user experience.

          On tapes you probably want something like https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linear_Tape_File_System [wikipedia.org]

          • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Monday November 30, @10:18PM

            by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Monday November 30, @10:18PM (#1082582) Journal

            The major drawback is that tar is sequential without any central directory so you have to read all the tape block-by-block before you know what is there.

            That reminds me of a super minicomputer system I used during some college years from 1980 to 82.

            --
            Fun fact: some people don't like facts.
          • (Score: 2) by Dr Spin on Wednesday December 09, @07:50AM

            by Dr Spin (5239) on Wednesday December 09, @07:50AM (#1085461)

            OK, so recovering a tar archive is slow, but it is reliable. If things have gone so wrong you need the tar version, then at least you know the data is there.

            The moment you start with cleverness, you are taking an unquantified risk.

            I have restored tarred data from tape after 30 years with no problems (more than 1 out of three tapes error free).

            I have had several hard disks power down and never spin up again.

            I have had numerous proprietry software archive solutions from companies that went out of business without open-sourcing their "special" data structure.

            I have a significant number of tapes with data on in a format that is documented somewhere, but I am not too sure where.

            You can always recover tarred data (if the tape is not corrupt) - but it helps if you know which version of tar. You can always tell if the tape is
            corrupt (might take a few days to find out for sure). If you have enough copies, on enough tapes, in enough physical locations, you can get your data back.

            If you trust a cloud provider, I have a slightly used bridge you might want to buy.

            OTOH, there are situations where loss of data might save your ass - that is where backup on CDs can save you.

            --
            Guns don't kill thousands, presidents kill thousands.
  • (Score: -1, Offtopic) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 25, @10:01PM (3 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 25, @10:01PM (#1081393)

    I'm an Anonymous Coward. So nothing I say or do is important to anyone.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 02, @11:28PM (2 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 02, @11:28PM (#1083429)

      Yes. Of course even on other sites where I have a signin account, I've noticed that nothing I say or do is important to anyone there either.

      I can't count the number of times I've written out a post or reply, gotten to the end, and instead of posting it just shrug and hit the back button. Because no one cares. On the rare instances when someone does care, it's because they hate what you said, or just flat-out hate you for the crime of existing, so all you get in return is vitriol.

      What's the point?

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 03, @11:30AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 03, @11:30AM (#1083571)

        i was going to reply, couldn't be bothered, then i just posted this instead.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 03, @09:05PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 03, @09:05PM (#1083764)

        What's the point?

        Even when you bother to post a good point, you'll be lucky to get anything, while someone registered will mis-copy the same point, and get 4. There must be an apropos quote from Marvin the Paranoid Android.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 26, @09:28AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 26, @09:28AM (#1081474)

    why would I need to verify anything?
    OS craps out? fine. reinstall, git clone, a couple of rsyncs, and I'm done.

    gitlab is backed up.
    cluster home directory is backed up.
    cluster data is backed up to tape, I verify that it works every time the daemon clears up my scratch folder.
    personal pictures are cloned on a bunch of external drives and the NAS.

    but the mission-critical stuff is just text files.

  • (Score: 2) by maxwell demon on Thursday November 26, @01:34PM

    by maxwell demon (1608) on Thursday November 26, @01:34PM (#1081497) Journal

    When I restored from my backup.

    --
    The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 29, @05:51AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 29, @05:51AM (#1081991)

    My backups return a handle for future restores. That 24 character handle is the only thing that will let me restore the backup. Managing this is risky, I'm trusting that not too much will fail at the same time.

  • (Score: 2) by MIRV888 on Sunday November 29, @03:49PM (3 children)

    by MIRV888 (11376) on Sunday November 29, @03:49PM (#1082042)

    I backed up my media library 3 months ago (2 8Tb usb drives). At the same time I verified the 2 4Tb drives that constituted the last backup. I made the prior backup roughly 2 years ago. The usb drives go into secure, temp/ humidity controlled storage. I never have worried much about an unpowered drive just failing.
    So in answer to the question 3months, and then 2 years.

    • (Score: 2) by isj on Sunday November 29, @08:39PM (2 children)

      by isj (5249) on Sunday November 29, @08:39PM (#1082106) Homepage

      I have chosen to not back up my media library. I still have all the DVDs, so the ripped files on my hard drives are actually the backup.

      The stupid thing is that the backup on my drives aren't unique data. Many people are bound to have the exact same copies. I wish there were some way of using their copies as my backup...

      • (Score: 2) by DECbot on Monday November 30, @09:56PM (1 child)

        by DECbot (832) Subscriber Badge on Monday November 30, @09:56PM (#1082575) Journal

        Once there was a solution for this. It was called bitorrent and services like Napster and The Pirate Bay made getting the backups for your media glorious. Though without the endorsement of the RIAA/MPAA/MAFIAA, these solutions were all short lived.

        --
        cats~$ sudo chown -R us /home/base
        • (Score: 2) by MIRV888 on Tuesday December 01, @06:43AM

          by MIRV888 (11376) on Tuesday December 01, @06:43AM (#1082727)

          I get most of my media from torrent sites. I have from the get go. While it certainly isn't as popular as it used to be, there's still plenty of mainstream and obscure stuff out there.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 01, @04:53AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 01, @04:53AM (#1082700)

    I tripped on the laptop cord and it crashed to the floor. So sad. The drive is now not even visible to the BIOS. I lost two years of notes, pictures and most of all my shop notes on the work I've done to my old motorcycle. And much more....

    I was wondering if anyone here has had any good results with a drive recovery company? Who and how much? What to expect in return?
    Thanks....
    gmby

  • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Wednesday December 02, @12:45AM

    by JoeMerchant (3937) on Wednesday December 02, @12:45AM (#1083039)

    I don't run backups per-se. What I have is a semi-mirrored arrangement with two external USB drives (2TB each). Anything I care about, I copy to both drives... they're about 90% identical to each other.

    Yes, I used to run rsync on a cron job, it was a pita. I might try doing that again, but probably not.

    If one of the drives flakes out, hopefully I've got what I need on the other.

    --
    My karma ran over your dogma.
  • (Score: 2) by Freeman on Wednesday December 02, @07:42PM

    by Freeman (732) on Wednesday December 02, @07:42PM (#1083361) Journal

    There's no need to make a 1-1 copy of my system. It's just as easy to rebuild the OS + programs as it is to maintain a good backup.

    The real deal is to make sure I keep multiple copies of the non-replaceable stuff. Like the family photos. For everything else, there's Dropbox.

    --
    "I said in my haste, All men are liars." Psalm 116:11
  • (Score: 2) by turgid on Thursday December 03, @05:46PM (1 child)

    by turgid (4318) Subscriber Badge on Thursday December 03, @05:46PM (#1083692) Journal

    I recently found a backup on CD-R from 2006. It still seems to work. I haven't tried to read the whole disk yet, but find lists all the files and some of them are readable.

    --
    Don't let Righty keep you down.
    • (Score: 2) by isj on Friday December 04, @05:45PM

      by isj (5249) on Friday December 04, @05:45PM (#1084086) Homepage

      I recently moved and found a stack of CD-RW backups. One was labeled "/dev/sdb". I will have to look into that because it may contain some lost source files that have some nostalgic value to me, eg. a win16 FTP client that was blazing fast, or a full text-mode windowing system modeled on OS/2's WinXxx() functions. Not useful, but I want my trip down memory lane.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 03, @08:40PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 03, @08:40PM (#1083758)

    I use Dominion Backup Plus software.

    When I lose a file, a USPS truck arrives at 3am to replace it.

    Unfortunately, it leaves 20,000 copies each time.

  • (Score: 1) by anubi on Friday December 04, @11:35AM

    by anubi (2828) on Friday December 04, @11:35AM (#1083987) Journal

    https://clonezilla.org [clonezilla.org]

    --
    "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." [KJV: I Thessalonians 5:21]
  • (Score: 2) by Tokolosh on Friday December 04, @09:26PM

    by Tokolosh (585) on Friday December 04, @09:26PM (#1084168)

    “Only wimps use tape backup. REAL men just upload their important stuff on ftp and let the rest of the world mirror it.”

    ― Linus Torvalds

    Our friend Linus did not feel the need to address restoration.

  • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 07, @04:44AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 07, @04:44AM (#1084781)

    My backups are made via rsnapshot [rsnapshot.org].

    So each one is just a file tree on my backup server that I can cd into and look around as much as I want. So there's no need to verify that they can be restored, because a restore is simply "rsync -avHPi backup-server:/mnt/backups/daily.0/backuped-up-machine-name/ /" onto a newly installed machine followed by waiting for rsync to move the data across the wire.

  • (Score: 2) by ElizabethGreene on Wednesday December 09, @02:48AM

    by ElizabethGreene (6748) on Wednesday December 09, @02:48AM (#1085391)

    I got a new PC and didn't move any data over. Everything came from the restore.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 12, @12:57AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 12, @12:57AM (#1086463)

    I've never really verified backups, but my whole "backup strategy" is awful in general.

    I've dealt with major disk failures multiple times. Not fun, but less catastrophic than it probably should have been given how lazy I am with backing things up each time.
    Either a: my data is mirrored to multiple machines (this has saved my ass so many times it's not funny), b: every once in a blue moon, I'll just copy the entirely of /home or C:\Users to an external (very useful, especially since a lot of shit is too big for me to just mirror to every system I have), or c: is something that isn't really worth backing up (music, movies, games, all stuff I can download again or can do without).
    On very rare occasions, I'll make a whole disk image, which is a pain because I often don't actually have another disk that's quite as big as my main one. Very useful though, because I can immediately get back going from a known point.

    I've lost stuff, but generally nothing actually vital. Sometimes, it's been pure luck that I came through as well as I did, though (eg, "graceful" disk failure, where I can at least attempt to do a last-ditch attempt at copying data off).

(1)