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Old 07-01-2003, 04:13 PM   #1
Br. Nicholas
Registered: Nov 2000
Location: Buena Vista, Colorado
Posts: 34

Rep: Reputation: 16
tar or cpio - Which is better for tape backups?

Please forgive me if these are really stupid questions, but sometimes Linux makes me feel really stupid (although I like Linux a lot).

I've heard that cpio is better than tar for tape backups because if tar hits a bad section of tape, you can't get anything beyond that, whereas cpio supposedly can. Is there anything to this?

In looking at the cpio man page, I can't see anything that might relate to skipping a bad section of tape. Will it do this automatically, or could someone please tell me how to do this? (I'd rather not have to wait until I HAVE to know this, if you know what I mean.)

Is there any way to verify a cpio tape backup?

One of the things I like about tar is that it has a verify option. Another big, stupid (?) question:

If tar hits a bad section of tape when verifying, will it give an error message? I would assume so, but I've not actually had it happen, that I know of.

So, the bottom line: Which do you all recommend?

Here are two commands I am considering. Am I missing anything here? (I don't do this for a living.)

tar -cvpWf /dev/st0 $BACKUP_LIST >> $LOG_FILE

find $BACKUP_LIST -print | cpio -ov -H crc > /dev/st0 2>> $LOG_FILE

I would *greatly* appreciate any help, advice, and/or ideas about this. I would really like to go with either tar or cpio, but I just don't know which one to go with.

With kind regards,

Peter, archdeacon
Old 07-01-2003, 10:30 PM   #2
LQ Newbie
Registered: Jun 2003
Location: Midwest USA
Posts: 8

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Take a look at this link for a good overview

Old 07-02-2003, 04:06 PM   #3
Br. Nicholas
Registered: Nov 2000
Location: Buena Vista, Colorado
Posts: 34

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 16
Thanks for the link. I've read a few links similar to this.

What I'd really like is some practical advice based on personal experience -- things like, how common is it for a tar tape backup to get corrupted, problems people have had restoring with tar or cpio, etc.

Which do you all prefer, and why?


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