We recently switched to running our companies warehouse management system server on a linux server. Currently, to create a physical backup that can be stored offsite we are using a DAT72 tape drive to back everything up. Given that these are rather expensive units and we just had one of our two units go out on us, I am wondering if there is a better way to create a physical backup of the server.

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    From my experience, DAT tape drives tend to have a quite short lifespan. You can consider USB drives as a replacement, which certainly give you more storage space and allow to set-up more flexible backup plans if needed. – Alessandro Dotti Contra Jan 27 '15 at 17:02
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    Can you outline what software and specific operating system version your warehouse management solution uses? Any details on the hardware in use? – ewwhite Jan 27 '15 at 17:21
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    What is your budget? – Pitto Jan 27 '15 at 17:29
  • @adc Could you provide me with an example of one? The last one we used was a DAT72 usb unit. – TTarrier Jan 27 '15 at 18:33
  • @ewwhite it is a custom system built in Thoroughbred Basic that was previously run on a unix server and is now on Linux Mint. – TTarrier Jan 27 '15 at 18:34

I am unable to comment so I'll make do here.

First off, 'Better' is a subjective term at best. What work for me, may not work for you. All we can do is suggest, depending on your company backup policies and other requirements, ie. what needs to be backed-up, how long to keep a back up, how far back to keep, will affect what you are able to do.

Things you need to ask yourself and determine.

  1. Do you have backup software that you are using or are you looking for a new way to create the backups as well?
  2. How large is your linux box?
  3. Do you need to backup multiple servers?
  4. How much do you need to backup
  5. How many days do you need to keep?

I use 3 3TB USB hard drives in rotation that I take home. So far they have been very reliable.

USB harddrive are a relatively cheap option for backup storage.

For a bit more, a dedicated system can be setup off-site to vpn or tunnel in to pull the backup down on a schedule.

If you need to Retain several days worth backups:

I have been very happy with a software called rsnapshot ( http://www.rsnapshot.org/ ). It allows the retention of several different copies of a full backup with minimal storage requirements as it uses hard links for files that have not changed since the last backup. It is very easy to setup and can be run manually when you attache your backup device or automatically to backup to a central place.

Alternatively, if you don't need to keep more than one copy, you can use rsync to copy all the files that have changed since the last copy was made onto an external hard drive.

With rsnapshot or rsync you can set it up to copy all the files and directories that are needed into a single command that you can run when it is needed.

It can get much more complicated from here.

  • I was thinking of going with the USB hard drive method. Would you need to mount the drive every time you plug it in before you can do the backup? – TTarrier Jan 27 '15 at 20:36
  • @TTarrier Yes. You will have to mount and umount the drive every time. This can be added to a script for ease of use. It should get the same /dev/sd* every time. To prevent possible issue add a check to make sure it mounted before running the backup. [link] (serverfault.com/questions/50585/…) – grag42 Jan 27 '15 at 20:51

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