Backing Up and Restoring Files

Until equipments becomes absolutely failure proof, and until people lose their desire to harm the property of others for personal benefits (and, truth be known, until system administrators become perfect), there is always a need to back up important files and data so that in the event of a failure of hardware, security, or administration, the system can be up and running again with minimal disruption. Only the system administrator may do this.

(Because of its built-in security features, Linux may not allow users to be able even to back up their own files to floppy disks.)

Again, knowing that file backup is your job is not enough. You need to formulate a proper strategy for making sure your system is not vulnerable to disruption. If you have a high-capacity tape drive and several restore diskettes, you might make a full system backup in every few days. If you are managing a system with scores of users, It is more sensible to back up user accounts and system configuration files, from the distribution CDs. (Don’t forget the applications you’ve installed separately from your Red Hat Linux distribution, especially including anything heavily customized!)

Once you’ve decided what to back up, you need to decide how frequently to perform backups and whether you wish to maintain a series of incremental backups — adding only the files that have changed since the last backup — or multiple full backups, and when these backups are to be performed — do you trust an automated, unattended process?

A strategy should be the maintenance of perfect backups without ever needing to resort to them. This means encouraging users to keep multiple copies of their own important files, all in their home directories, so that you are not being asked to mount a backup so as to restore a file that a user has corrupted.(And if the system is stand-alone, you as your own system administrator might want to make a practice of backing up configuration and other important files.)

The chances are that even if you’re working for a company, you’ll make these decisions — all your boss wants is a system that works perfectly, all the time. Backing up is only half the story, too. You need to formulate a plan for bringing the system back up in the event of a failure. 



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