Mailinglist Archive: opensuse (3222 mails)

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Re: [SLE] backing up a partition
  • From: pinard@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx (François Pinard)
  • Date: 07 Feb 2000 16:42:24 -0500
  • Message-id: <oqaelcita7.fsf@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>

Michael Salmon <Michael.Salmon@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> writes:

> > Anyone have an idea on how to backup the contents of a _partition_?
> > I'm thinking maybe I could use dd but I'm not sure. For example,
> > I would like to backup everything that resides on /dev/hda2.
> > Ideas/suggestions much appreciated, as always.

> You could use dd but that is an unusual choice.

That much depends on why you are backing up a partition, and where you
are backing it up.

If you backup the partition temporarily because you want to reformat it,
or move the archive to another partition elsewhere having _exactly_ the
same size, you can merely `cp' it (like with `cp /dev/hda2 /tmp/big-file').
`dd' is only useful if you use a tape as an intermediary, to fix some
reasonable block size (that is, how many bytes between two tape gaps).
This is only meaningful if you want to backup the partition as a whole,
and are not interested in later extracting only parts of it.

> The usual ones are tar, cpio and dump. Cpio and tar have the advantage of
> working with any file system but I believe that they still have problems
> with long file names.

`tar' should be OK with long file names.

> Dump is probably most effective, after all that is what it was designed
> to do but it is restricted to a single file system type e.g. dumpe2fs.

If you backup to tape, you might want to take a look at Amanda (distributed
on SuSE). Amanda will take care of managing your tapes, mixing full and
incremental backups appropriately, and using a single tape to backup many
partitions on a possibly heterogenous network. It also optimises tape
writing speed, and tape filling. In the Amanda community, `tar' seems
to be preferred over `dump', especially because `dump' over active file
systems are seemingly less reliable.

Technical notes. Special patches are needed over the standard `tar' 1.12
for Amanda to work. I did not check if SuSE integrated these, but I would
presume yes, as they distribute both `tar' and Amanda. 1.13 is still not
recommended. I've read that the very latest pretests of 1.13 are acceptable
for Amanda, yet many Amanda patches from the latest pretests _before_
1.13 are still missing. (It would be a bit too long explaining it all :-).

If you are interested in tape dump speed for a single machine, and do not
care about something as complete as Amanda, another avenue is using Jörg
Schilling `star', which is said to be dependable, and very fast on tapes.
I do not a reference handy, but it should normally be mentioned in the
`contrib/README' file of a recent `tar' distribution.

> If you want the result to be a file system rather than a file then
> perhaps the rsync might be of interest.

Indeed. `rsync' is a wonderful tool, which should be known.

François Pinard

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