[Dirvish] singling out crucial data

Loren M. Lang lorenl at alzatex.com
Tue Jun 23 20:29:35 UTC 2009

Jason Boxman wrote:
> Of late, I have been pondering taking additional steps to safeguard my data.
> Currently, I have Dirvish running once a day, whatever the Debian package default
> cron is set for.  I am thinking about several additional steps.
> 1) Running an hourly for more crucial data
> The volume in question is on a LVM2 LV, so I was considering doing a snapshot
> prior to backing up the data, perhaps in a pre-backup client script?

My cron job is a wrapper script around dirvish and dirvish-expire.
First it mounts the backup drive, possibly starting luks/dm-crypt if
needed, then uses ssh to each server to run a remote script which
creates the snapshots.  Actually, it unmounts and removes last's nights
snapshot and creates a new, updated snapshot and mounts it.  This allows
my users to retrieve files that they just deleted without consulting me.
 Then the script runs dirvish-expire, follows by a dirvish series of
dirvish command.  The last step is to unmount and possibly close
dm-crypt/luks devices.  I don't use dirvish-runall because I am unaware
of a way to control which vaults are run.  I have different schedules
for certain less critical vaults.  Might need to be a future feature of
dirvish-runall.  I can post my script if anyone's interested.

> I don't want to backup the entire host hourly, as I do so nightly anyway.
> Would I want to create an entirely new 'host' for handling this, or would it make
> sense to finally investigate the branch feature of Dirvish, or some other way?

I create a separate vault per partition per server and, in some cases,
multiple vaults per partition.  I use xdev and exclude to ensure that
there is no overlap in backed up data.  I recommend putting data that is
backed up more often into it's own vault and just running dirvish on
that vault as appropriate.  I have never looked into branches and am not
sure when they would be used.

> 2) Snarfing up crucial data and shipping it off elsewhere
> Somewhat outside the realm of Dirvish, but what might be some viable ways of
> dealing with accounting files, SSH and GPG keys, and other critical organization
> data that ought to be located in additional locations off-site?  Such a step
> could possibly be integrated into a post-server script, depending on the nature
> of it and level of automation possible.  (A USB stick or DVD-RAM might need
> manual intervention, for example.)

I use external USB or E-SATA hard drives for all my backups as DVD are
two small and inflexible for my needs.  For all backups going off-site,
I first encrypt the entire partition using LUKS.  LUKS allows multiple
types of keys for decrypting the drive.  I have a key file which is
stored on the backup server for automatic mounting, and a strong
passphrase which I have memorized as well as written in a few secure
locations such as my Will.  A stolen backup drive should not reveal any
useful information.

> 3) Integrating additional storage on Windows hosts
> I notice modern Windows desktop systems generally ship with a huge amount of
> additional storage that is completely underutilized.  While entirely outside the
> scope of Dirvish, I am curious if anyone has integrated the extra space into some
> kind of backup routine.  Site security certainly plays a role here.  In my
> organization, each system could have backup data without the concern of locking
> down each system to hide backup data from the user.  (Small office, family
> business, ect.)

Since Windows does not use a POSIX compatible filesystem, dirvish will
not be able to backup the files meta-data so it depends on how much that
is valued.  Biggest problem is permissions will be lost.  Other backup
systems are not dependent upon the underlying filesystem being POSIX
compliant, but do not provide the ease of access to data dirvish does.

> I was pondering if some way existed to have the Windows box reboot at a scheduled
> time and run some alternate boot option that brings up, say, a GNU/Linux distro
> that can standby for the appointed hour where data is either pushed or pulled
> to a partition containing extra space.  After, the system can initiate a shutdown
> and be available in the morning for power-on, as per usual.  (Kind of out of left
> field, but something I dreamt recently.)

There are ways of remotely initiating a shutdown or reboot on Windows,
however, I have never done it.  NTLDR, Microsofts bootloader, can boot
start Linux booting as an option.  Wubi, which installs a copy of Ubuntu
Linux onto a Window partition, uses NTLDR to choose whether Windows or
Linux is booted.  The default is specified in C:\boot.ini which can be
edited in Windows to change the default to Ubuntu, and in Linux to
change the default back to Windows before shutdown.  I would not
recommend this approach, but it is theoretically possible.

> Thanks.
> _______________________________________________
> Dirvish mailing list
> Dirvish at dirvish.org
> http://www.dirvish.org/mailman/listinfo/dirvish

Loren M. Lang
lorenl at alzatex.com

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