Subject: Re: Suggestions for a backup solution
To: Steven M. Bellovin <>
From: Steven Grunza <>
List: netbsd-users
Date: 01/02/2002 15:09:50
A key point: "What good is a backup you can't use?"

A friend went through the experience of a hd failure but had a complete 
backup on a Syquest disk.  Unfortunately the Sysquest drive also failed but 
not until it chewed up the backup disk.  As luck would have it he had a 
second backup disk, not as recent but better than nothing, only he didn't 
have anything that could read it.  There was a capacity vs age issue (his 
drive and media weren't compatible with recent equipment) so it took him 
awhile to find someone that could read the second backup disk and copy it 
to a spare IDE drive.

The moral of the story:  Make sure the backup media is readable in generic, 
off-the-shelf equipment.

CDR's are great for this but the capacity of less than a GB vs today's 
double digit GB drives makes them less than perfect; however, you can go to 
just about any computer or office supply store and buy a drive that can 
read a CDR for almost pocket change these days...

Just my USD 0.02 worth...

At 02:52 PM 1/2/2002 -0500, Steven M. Bellovin wrote:
>In message <>, Jukka Marin writes:
> >On Wed, Jan 02, 2002 at 02:01:31PM -0500, Ian P. Thomas wrote:
> >>      I'm about to purchase some sort of backup solution.  I would
> >> like to know what a good solution for a home PC would be.  100 MB Zip
> >> disks seem to small.  What I would like to do is back up the whole disk
> >> to some media on a weekly basis, or more frequently.  Is a tape drive the
> >> best route to go for this?  If so, I'm assuming that SCSI drives would be
> >> best.  What brands run best on NetBSD?  I know where to look for supported
> >> hardware, but some drivers work better than others.
> >
> >Why not buy an extra disk and automatically create tarballs to it?
> >Maybe doing a tape backup once a week or month in addition to this.
> >I have found DAT drives working well - but the tapes are quite small,
> >compared to disks available now.
>That's the real problem:  disks have gotten really big.  I back up my
>laptop's 20G NetBSD partition to a desktop with a 75G drive.  My office
>desktop has two big drives; I use one to hold backups of the other,
>plus "off-site" backups of my laptop.  But I don't find these solutions
>to be completely satisfactory, because I want something that is (a)
>more easily moved to offsite locations, and (b) more immune to the
>vagaries of host software and hardware.  (Case in point:  I just posted
>a report of a hardware problem on my office machine.  At the time, I
>thought it was a controller problem, though I'm now inclined to think
>it's the drive.  But -- even though the second drive checks out clean,
>I'm reluctant to mount it in case there is a controller glitch.  I
>don't dare touch it -- it's my clean backup.  But what good is a backup
>you can't use?)
>                 --Steve Bellovin,
>                 Full text of "Firewalls" book now at