[CentOS] CentOS Server Backup Options

Mon Mar 12 19:27:24 UTC 2012
Steve Lindemann <steve at marmot.org>

On 3/11/2012 6:12 PM, Scott Walker wrote:
> What do you guys recommend for backing up a small CentOS server in a
> business environment.  It will have (3) 300gb drives in a raid 5 array but I
> don't anticipate more than about 25gb of data that needs to be backed up
> each night.
> I want a lot of backups with a rotation scheme that included daily, weekly,
> and monthly copies.  I want the daily copies of the data kept until the next
> week, and the weekly copy being kept for four weeks, and the monthly copies
> being kept for a year.
> The vendor is recommending a RD1000 Removable Disk device.  This looks like
> it has great specs.  Each cartridge holds 160gb (non-compressed) and the
> drive costs about $420 but seems that with each removable cartridge costing
> $128, we may be limited to how many cartridges we could have, thus perhaps
> not retaining backup instances as long as I like.
> I asked about a HP DAT160 tape drive.  Each tape holds 160gb
> (non-compressed) and the drive costs about $730, and each tape only costs
> about $24, so it would be economical to have lots of backup instances saved
> for a long period of time.
> I have been using tape and the backup rotation scheme mentioned above for
> over 20 years.  The vendor is telling me they don't recommend tape drives
> anymore and all of their customers are using removable hard drive for local
> backups.  Am I missing something?  My instincts tell me the tape drive is
> the right solution for a system with a small amount of data, where the
> system is used only from 8am - 5pm (so backup speed is not critical) and
> where we want to save backup instances for a long time before overwriting
> them.
> Any input would be welcomed.

I believe in tape... it's just not a viable option with the large disk 
sizes we have today unless you have a lot of money for a fast, 
multi-drive solution.  I can backup a bit over 500GB daily in 3 hours to 
external disk.  Using a single tape drive that would (and did) take far 
too long.

So today I use TB size drives dropped into an external docking station. 
  The docking station plugs into the server using eSATA.  Then it's a 
relatively simple script run by cron to handle the daily backup.  I'm 
happy to share the script if you're interested but it has long lines 
that don't do well in email.  I'll send it offline if you'd like to use 
it as an example.  Buying multiple drives allows us to do media rotation 
just like we did with tape.

The big difference with disks is that I just do full backups each time. 
  In our situation there is time for that and it saves a lot of grief 
when trying to restore something in particular.  None of this running 
back thru the incrementals to get at what you want.  Of course, with 
incremental backups the typical daily time would be much much shorter.

For backing up multiple production servers I have a backup server and a 
private GB network to each system.  Each server runs a backup script at 
night (via cron) to backup to the backup server.  Then we backup the 
backup server to the external disk during the day.  At least one 
external disk is off site at any given time.

I'm aware of the fancy tools to do the job for you but I like the 
simplicity of our home grown solution.  And the only thing I absolutely 
need for a restore is tar.  No databases, no extra applications, just 
tar.  The catch is that I'm not sure it would scale up to a huge number 
of servers gracefully.

It's nice to know what works for the other guy but you gotta look for 
what will work for you.  Good luck.