Mar 012010
 

I spent some time thinking about backup strategy, and I decided for my purposes, I’d like to handle the staging process (getting all the files put together), and I’d like the backup solution itself to simply upload the files – but since I want to do nightly backups, I’d like the backup solution to have incremental capabilities.

I narrowed it down to two possible solutions – Tarsnap and Duplicity.  Both support incremental backups, both are command-line capable.  I decided to use Duplicity because it uploads directly to whichever back-end service you use – be it Amazon S3 or an SFTP server .  Tarsnap uses S3, but that’s your only option, and they do some processing for you, and because of that, it costs more.

Now, on to the details.

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Mar 012009
 

I previously discussed configuring JungleDisk on FreeBSD.  It’s not quite the easiest to install since FreeBSD isn’t officially supported.  To take that a step further, I’m now going to show what I do to back up my FreeBSD box at home.

Update, November 2009: I am no longer using JungleDisk to back up my FreeBSD box.  Jungledisk recently released version 3.0 of their software which does not include a command-line Linux version in the standard desktop edition.  I was advised to stick with the old version if I want to continue backing up.  Instead, I chose to change over to Duplicity.  I will write a post on Duplicity in the near future.

There are a couple of steps to this process.  First, we must perform the backup itself.  I’m using dump(8) for this purpose – this program is built right into FreeBSD – it’s purpose in the original UNIX was to dump a file system to a tape drive, but we’re going to use it to dump the filesystem to a file.  The second step is to have JungleDisk back the files up to S3.

Standard disclaimer:  This is not at all supported by JungleDisk and if you choose to try this, you’re doing so at your own risk.  This works fine for me, but your mileage may vary.  I am not in any way responsible for any costs this may incur to you, or any damage this may cause.

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Feb 202009
 

I wanted to follow up a previous post with some additional comments.  This past week, a popular social bookmarking service called Ma.gnolia went down and lost all of their users’ data.  Their users were understandably angry and frustrated.  Citizen Garden did an interview with the guy who created Ma.gnolia and he brings up a question that I alluded to  – we have a lot of content – a lot of data – stored all over the place online – what’s our backup strategy?

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Feb 032009
 

For those of you who don’t know, JungleDisk is a utility that allows you to back up data to Amazon’s Simple Storage Service (S3).  Soon, it will also allow you to use Mosso’s Cloud Files service, which is similar to S3 but hosted by RackSpace. I recently won a free subscription to JungleDisk, thanks to Mosso.

I’ve got JungleDisk set up on my Windows machine and it’s working really well. I was looking around the JungleDisk website, and I noticed that you’re allowed to install the desktop edition on as many computers as you want.  I’ve got two machines here at home – my laptop with Windows, and my file server running FreeBSD.  JungleDisk doesn’t have a native FreeBSD version, but they do offer a Linux version.  Seeing as FreeBSD does have a Linux compatibility layer, I figured I’d at least try to get it to work.  So far, I’ve been moderately successful.

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Feb 032009
 

Over the past few years, a major paradigm shift has occurred in how (and where) our data is stored.  We’ve had data online for quite a while – ever since the first “guestbook” applications appeared on peoples’ GeoCities home pages (usually right next to the animated “Under Construction” GIF).

I’m not going to discuss identity theft here – there are already enough posts about that topic. I’d like to discuss the social and professional aspects of our personal data that’s stored online, and the risks involved.

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Feb 012009
 

I am a strong believer that most non-IT people don’t take seriously the need to have a reliable method of backup for their important data.  Just ask yourself: What happens when you can no longer access the data on your computer? It doesn’t matter what happens – you could or lose your laptop or have it stolen, or the hard drive in your computer could fail.  Any way you look at it, your data is toast.  What, then, would you do to recover it?  It’s always a good time to think about backups, and to help, I’ll show you what I do.

I actually use two backup strategies: Image-based backups (on-site), and online backups (off-site) – and everything is completely automated.

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