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#298149 - 01/18/21 07:47 PM Re: Offline: Be ready [Re: chaosmagnet]
haertig Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/13/05
Posts: 2270
Loc: Colorado
Originally Posted By: chaosmagnet
What backup solution are you using on your Pi?

I have a Pi3, running Raspbian, with installed free software "UrBackup" https://www.urbackup.org/ Attached to that Pi3 is a 4Tb Western Digital Red Plus drive in an external enclosure.

The UrBackup server runs on the Pi3, and the UrBackup clients run on each of our home computers that I am backing up.

Each computer is backed up once each day, in the middle of the night. I do file backups on both Linux computers and Windows computers, and additionally do image backups on the Windows computers. I have half a dozen or so computers that are backed up with this system. The 4Tb drive is large enough to hold one years worth of daily file backups for each computer, and the monthly image backups from the Windows computers. UrBackup takes care of cleaning up old backups that are past 365 days old. Obviously, you configure how frequently to do backups and how long to keep them. My personal choice was daily/365 days.
UrBackup is smart enough that if I add a large computer to the backup mix, so that the current 4Tb drive is not big enough, UrBackup would make the decision that "Hey, I don't have room for a years worth of backups anymore, so I'll delete the oldest ones to make room for the newer ones".

UrBackup is totally free, and has a nice webserver interface for setup/maintenance. The biggest thing for me is that UrBackup does not use any proprietary formats and you could just pull it's backup data disk and install that into another computer and restore your files from there without even needing the UrBackup software. Of course you'd have to do a little detective work to learn the file structure that UrBackup uses, but that's easy. Using UrBackup for restores is certainly easier, but it's nice to know that it is not absolutely required.

UrBackup does not store multiple copies of a file if it's not changing, it uses symlinks in the background to make an older but unmodified file version appear to be in a newer backup. And it also does this symlinking for files from multiple different computers. Say you have "filename" existing on three separate computers, all identical. UrBackup will save one copy of this file and then symlink that to the other computers backups. This is why it's so efficient on disk space and I can hold one year of daily backups from half a dozen computers on one 4Tb disk. Once you look at your backup disk and see, "Ah, this is how UrBackup does this!" then you are free to restore from backup in any way you wish - not requiring UrBackup if that is what you desire.

If you decide to set this up on a Pi, I would recommend a Pi4 over a Pi3. The Pi3 has the horsepower to run UrBackup, BUT the Pi3 only has USB2, the Pi4 has USB3. That makes for MUCH faster disk reading/writing. If you're like me and do your backups in the middle of the night when you're sleeping and don't care how long they take, a Pi3 works fine. But get the Pi4 anyway - I think you'll be happier in the end.

One other thing - for reliability, I do not have my Pi3 boot and run off the microSD card. I changed the bootloader so it loads the OS from the 4TB harddisk and runs from there. So I don't have to worry about the problem that some people encounter of a corrupted microSD card in the Pi3.

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#298150 - 01/18/21 07:54 PM Re: Offline: Be ready [Re: MartinFocazio]
chaosmagnet Offline
Sheriff
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/03/09
Posts: 3545
Loc: USA
If I die and leave my wife a network diagram she will dig me up and do something unprintable to my corpse. The network as she understands it consists of two things that may require rebooting (the Internet gateway and the wireless access point).

My virtual lab can be quite complex but the hardware it resides upon belongs to my employer. No spousal access is required or permitted.

Really, what Mrs. Magnet would need in the near term is the capability to get into my email (to read the bills that don't come on paper, which is almost all of them) and our online banking (to pay the aforementioned bills). Longer term she would lean on one or more of the Little Magnets for support on her phone and laptop.

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#298151 - 01/18/21 07:59 PM Re: Offline: Be ready [Re: MartinFocazio]
Eugene Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/26/02
Posts: 2856
I was at work one day when my kids were below school age. Got back from a meeting and had a voice mail from my wife saying the internet wasn't working. Then a second voice mail from her saying nevermind as our son taught her how to reboot the router.
So just leave instructions for the kids.

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#298153 - 01/18/21 08:11 PM Re: Offline: Be ready [Re: haertig]
chaosmagnet Offline
Sheriff
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 12/03/09
Posts: 3545
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: haertig
I have a Pi3, running Raspbian, with installed free software "UrBackup" https://www.urbackup.org/ Attached to that Pi3 is a 4Tb Western Digital Red Plus drive in an external enclosure.


That sounds really awesome. Thanks for the clear description of it all, this sounds like it's something I could do. Getting my wife to leave her laptop running might be a challenge, we'll see.

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#298158 - 01/19/21 12:08 AM Re: Offline: Be ready [Re: MartinFocazio]
unimogbert Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 08/10/06
Posts: 876
Loc: Colorado
Haertig,

If I were your wife, and you died suddenly, I'd call one of your friends to help remove all that stuff, erase all the discs, recycle the electronics, and I'd start over with something I could understand - even if that was nothing but a Comcast modem.

A spouse's hobbies (IMO - your computing complex is either a business or a hobby) can be a huge burden when that spouse is gone.
(like my wife's antique sewing machines, and knitting machines, etc)

I had a huge issue (several moments of screaming frustration) upgrading the house modem to enable VOIP landline when I discovered that the wifi was still up even when the modem was turned off. My late wife had implemented a separate wifi node than the Comcast modem and it was well hidden - buried in cables on the floor of her sanctum.

KISS it for your spouse.

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#298159 - 01/19/21 12:12 AM Re: Offline: Be ready [Re: MartinFocazio]
unimogbert Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 08/10/06
Posts: 876
Loc: Colorado
While I'm on some lessons learned-

Setup your investment institutions to send you PAPER 1040s and W-2s.

They usually also have online access so you can fetch them earlier but.... in the event you are incapacitated or dead, anyone who might be trying to help your spouse, will run into enormous difficulty getting the info to file taxes online if the institution knows it's not you.

Paper, in the mail, for me, and my assisted-living parents.

Some institutions are paper or online only while others give you a choice of online for routine with paper for tax docs.

KISS it for you spouse or your kids.

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#298160 - 01/19/21 01:00 AM Re: Offline: Be ready [Re: chaosmagnet]
haertig Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/13/05
Posts: 2270
Loc: Colorado
Originally Posted By: chaosmagnet
Getting my wife to leave her laptop running might be a challenge, we'll see.

If the laptop is left powered down, no harm, no foul. The backup won't happen of course, but it won't hang the system or anything. Other computers will continue to be backed up on schedule. I have my UrBackup server configured to send me an email if any of my computers remain un-backed-up for three days. I have it set to only send me this "not being backed up" email once so I don't get spammed daily if a computer is down. Then UrBackup will send a followup email once that computer has come back online and finally been backed up again.

Say you have a computer set to be backed up once per week. And you leave the thing off for a month. Once it comes back online, UrBackup will recognize that its backup is out of date. It doesn't wait until it hits that normal weekly point. Say that computer normally backs up on Fridays, is offline for a month, then comes back online on a Monday. The first backup will happen right away, on that Monday it came back online. You also can configure an "allowable backup window" and UrBackup will not start any backups outside of that window. My window is set for 2am until 6am, when I am asleep. If a backup were to slip in and start a 5:59am though, it would keep running past the 6am end-of-window. The allowable time window governs when backups are allowed to start, not when they have to finish by. So when I said above "The first backup will happen right away", that really means "right away ... but subject to the allowable time window".

UrBackup can also back things up over the internet, so you can have remote backups. When going over the internet (as opposed to your local LAN), UrBackup encrypts all transmissions. It doesn't encrypt the actual backups on the backup server, just the transmissions over the internet. If you want your actual backups to be encrypted, just point UrBackup to an encrypted filesystem to store it's data on. Use the OS to create this encrypted filesystem, not UrBackup. I like the thinking behind UrBackup. It does backups. If you want encryption, don't expect a developer expert in backups to be an expert in encryption as well. Let an encryption developer do what they are good at, and let a backup developer do what they are good at. When you have a Jack Of All Trades piece of software that tries to do everything itself, it usually does several of those things poorly. So personally, I like the fact that UrBackup does not try to do backup encryption itself. Leave that for the encryption experts!

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#298161 - 01/19/21 01:29 AM Re: Offline: Be ready [Re: unimogbert]
haertig Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/13/05
Posts: 2270
Loc: Colorado
Originally Posted By: unimogbert
Haertig, If I were your wife, and you died suddenly, I'd call one of your friends to help remove all that stuff, erase all the discs, recycle the electronics, and I'd start over with something I could understand...

I would roll over in my grave thinking about my 6000+ eBooks, 2000+ movies and TV episodes, thousands of MP3's and audiobooks, piano sheetmusic, and tons of photos that would go down the drain if that happened. But I guess I wouldn't be needing them anymore anyway.

R.I.P. my dear data! frown

p.s. - But wouldn't I look spiffy in my coffin surrounded by a bunch of harddrives, memory cards and data DVD's making the trip with me! smile


Edited by haertig (01/19/21 01:33 AM)

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#298162 - 01/19/21 01:42 AM Re: Offline: Be ready [Re: haertig]
unimogbert Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 08/10/06
Posts: 876
Loc: Colorado
Originally Posted By: haertig

I would roll over in my grave thinking about my 6000+ eBooks, 2000+ movies and TV episodes, thousands of MP3's and audiobooks, piano sheetmusic, and tons of photos that would go down the drain if that happened. But I guess I wouldn't be needing them anymore anyway.

R.I.P. my dear data! frown

p.s. - But wouldn't I look spiffy in my coffin surrounded by a bunch of harddrives, memory cards and data DVD's making the trip with me! smile


That's the thing- your treasures are YOUR treasures and may or may not have any value to your dependents/heirs.

My late wife was partly hoping to save Western Civilization with some of the stuff she acquired. I'm at a loss as to what to do with it. It may yet be necessary as civilization seems kind of shaky at the moment but likely not.

I'm still discovering 4 years later what's on her most recent computer after I've disposed of 6 of the 9 that were in the house on her passing.

If I'd been the one to die first she would be giving away my ham radios and scanners and aviation books and probably 3/4 of the automotive tools she would have inherited.

In the end it's all just "stuff."

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#298163 - 01/19/21 01:59 AM Re: Offline: Be ready [Re: unimogbert]
haertig Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/13/05
Posts: 2270
Loc: Colorado
Originally Posted By: unimogbert
That's the thing- your treasures are YOUR treasures and may or may not have any value to your dependents/heirs.

So true!

Quote:
If I'd been the one to die first she would be giving away my ham radios and scanners...

BTW, I did finally get my ham license (Technician currently, working on General). I can't remember if I told you that. So thank you very much for those books you gave me a few years ago. I will pass them on to the next person I meet who is interested in ham radio, so they can use them to study up too!

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