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I'm planning on setting up some kind of backup machine - probably some crusty old Dell desktop - to fetch database dumps from a webapp every night at midnight. There isn't a lot of data, but it's business-critical enough to keep a few copies of, and I don't really trust the web hosting folk with that. Besides, storing my own daily copies (delta's) would enable me to review old states of the database in case something goes Horribly Wrong.

Now for my question: Should I use a tool like rtcwake to sleep (suspend to RAM) this backup machine during the day and wake it up for a few minutes each night? Or will it cause wear on the disks, like turning it off completely would according to this answer?

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As a sys admin, these types of "solutions" make me cringe. If it's important enough to worry about it being backed up, it's important enough to back it up correctly. The problem with these "hack" solutions is that there's usually no monitoring and verification that the backups are happening. You set it up, you get busy, forget about it for a while, the backups start failing for some reason, hosting company has a problem and you need the backup, but it's been failing for the past 9 weeks. –  user78940 Jul 8 '11 at 13:58
    
@user78940 It is a must to build in a monitoring system and keep an eye on daily performance, just like the real solutions. We once set up an ArcServe system at great expense (in their eyes) to the client company, tested for full function in backup and restore, and trained them to run it and monitor its daily log. Six months later we get this call that a server drive had failed. Yep, a month previous they'd started getting this backup failure message that spelled out in 30ft high flaming letters that it was a failure... Monitoring is pretty important, no matter how expensive the solution eh? –  Fiasco Labs Feb 26 '12 at 22:25

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

The sleep/wake cycle will put some additional wear on the disks/fans/PSU/motherboard etc. but given this is already something of a 'ghetto' solution (no offense intended) that doesn't sound like it's enterprise-critical I wouldn't sweat it personally. Just get it built and see how you get on.

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+1 for not worrying about it in this case. If it's a "crusty old" computer, chances are the hard drive will fail either way. –  user78940 Jul 8 '11 at 14:02

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