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Having trouble installing a piece of hardware? Want to know if that peripheral is compatible with Linux?


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Old 04-25-2003, 04:37 PM   #1
Registered: Feb 2003
Location: hampton va
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unique usb harddrive question

my office is running RH7.1 on our intranet server. as it stands we rely on a tape to backup our software. or firesafety representitive has suggested that we have a portable backup since our support is required 100% of the time. my boss has come to me with the suggestion of getting a usb hardrive and do a weekly backup of the entire 30GB internal drive. the second reason for using a usb device is due to its portability. i believe that he is looking at the way windows works and there is an instant connection and everything works like it is supposed to (as well as win will work).
here is a suggestion that i am thinking of giving him but i would like to run it past you guys for its plausability.
we have a spare laptop (unkown specs as of now) that i could put linux on and use in conjunction with the usb device. i will talk him into me getting a new version of MDK (i personally don't like RH but that is what the admin before me liked). here is where the questions comes to mind. is it possible to copy the entire linux (cp -rf / /dev/sda1) and take the usb HD connect it to the laptop and use the laptop as the new server?? i know that i am missing something. it has to be harder cause i know that linux isn't plug and play. you will forgive me if this seems scatter-brained but thinking of all of the possible probs on something i know little about is giving me a headache.
Old 04-25-2003, 06:22 PM   #2
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You will have to reconfigure some things.

You will need to change lilo, fstab. XF86Config, the modem configuration and perhaps other things relating to the differences in hardware.
Old 04-25-2003, 06:24 PM   #3
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First, gotta check the man page on cp, they added a brilliant new command: cp -a. A -rf won't preserve file perms and ownership right and will skip dot-files and directories.

If you got a USB drive, built a special boot disk for the laptop that had all of the usb-mass storage drivers built into it, and as long as the entire fstab for the server is one partition so you don't have to monkey with the copy of fstab on the portable backup, then yeah, you could boot from floppy to a USB root device and then run the entire server off of a laptop.

A couple things to consider:

If this is USB 1.0, we're talking 1MB per second... think of that in normal ATA terms, 50 times slower than an ATA 100 drive... yipes, it would do in a pinch, but just barely. USB 2.0, no worries, but you'll have to upgrade the snot out of the RH7.1 server in order to support a 2.0 card, a spankin' new mandy on the laptop, no such problem, and if the laptop can't do 2.0 by itself, as long as it has a cardbus pcmcia adapter, a USB 2.0 pcmcia card is about a $50 problem... or really, not a problem.

There are a bunch of other ways to go about this though, an rsync backup on a daily cronjob to an offsite location is about the easiest. The first rsync would be the whole bloody drive, but the second would be only the differences between the two, much shorter... if your office has good outgoing its a solid backup measure. Also, it can be sent through ssh if there are security worries on your boss's end.

Also, why a laptop, most modern day mobo's can boot off of USB (actually, so can the laptops), so you could theoretically turn any available crate into the server in short order.




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