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Old 08-26-2008, 09:34 PM   #1
Registered: Jun 2008
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please evaluate my potential recovery solution

I have a FreeBSD 5.2.1 system.

I was thinking about getting two external USB drives and using them to back up each week. Here are my questions:

1) Does anyone see any problems getting a USB drive to work on a FreeBSD 5.2.1 system? I wouldn't think so, but just in case. Are there any particular brands or interfaces to avoid because they are more difficult than others? I might go with FireWire instead of USB (off hand I'm not sure if the machine has FireWire though).

2) What should I definitely NOT back up besides the /proc and /dev directory. Got any tips and/or tricks, or things to watch for when tarballing an entire system?

3) If I have everything backed up and all of my hard drives melt (maybe the AC goes out and they all overheat) and I replace them all, do you see any problems with using either of the following strategies to get up and running again? Are there any obvious pitfalls that I should try to avoid in such cases?

Potential Recovery methods:

A) Boot from a live disk, mount and partition the HDDs, copy the files, and manually create the boot record on the root drive that causes the HDD to actually boot the OS automatically. I think this would be the best way, except at the moment I don't know how to create a boot record manually.

B) I figure I could reinstall from CDs (maybe even the latest version of BSD, though I'm worried about compatibility issues with my old software installations and my present ability to resolve them quickly), then use the newly installed OS to supervise the copying of the old files from the back-up. I would guess that in this case I need not copy every file from the back-up device (such as the kernel), but I'm not sure what files/directories I should avoid copying. Hence this method is ultimately more complicated.

I'll sleep much better at night once I'm confident that I can restore in an emergency. Thanks for any help
Old 08-26-2008, 09:48 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by davidstvz View Post
2) What should I definitely NOT back up besides the /proc and /dev directory. Got any tips and/or tricks, or things to watch for when tarballing an entire system?
Only back up user data that is important along with custom configurations. Most can get away with backing up /home where users store data and /etc where configs are placed.

Back up any other applications you may have running that are customized or special to ease a quick recovery or restore. Other than that, stick with the bare metal recovery method, if these servers melt, you can easily recover by reinstall BSD, then applying the data that you have backed up that doesn't come default with the OS.
Old 08-26-2008, 11:13 PM   #3
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Ok. I want to reinstall software by going from the back up too. I'm not too good at building from source yet... and I need to be able to recover within a few days at worst (ideally within a night).


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