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The value of a backup

Isn’t it strange what people find important. Some people think football is important while others like me think mountains are instead. Some think not spending much money is important while others think that having backups are.

With regards to backups I am finding more and more people (and this is in business not home users) don’t think that having a backup is important. To me that makes absolutely no sense.


Backups are like insurance policies. You don’t realise how important they are until you need them, and only then are you truly grateful that you had something in place.  When your car has a bump the insurance gets it fixed and backups are no different. When you need to recover data the backup is there waiting for you.

With the recent end of Windows XP support I have seen countless businesses srambling to upgrade to either Windows 7 or Windows 8 (or even in some cases not really caring) but approximately 80% have no backup solution in place and of those that do no one can remember when the backups were last checked. When I have asked them why they have no backups I get answers ranging from “haven’t needed them yet” to “waste of money”.

At this point the question you should be asking yourself is “how important is my data?” If your business is anything like mine (and most will be) you could not survive if you lost your data.  All your emails, telephone numbers, invoices, documents etc gone when it is so easy to back them all up.

You can automate backups, you can put all your data on a server or you can send it all into the cloud if you so wish. The possibilities are endless.

Whatever you decide to do about your backups remember one thing. Yes you may never need them but what happens when you do and you don’t have any?

About the Author

P1020114

Hi I’m Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Windows, Mac and Linux based IT Support to small businesses in Stirling, Alloa and Falkirk.

Follow @Comtech247 on Twitter

 

 

How critical is your data?

I was talking to a guy last week about general techie stuff when he said “We don’t bother with backing up our data as we do everything on paper”  You can imagine my surprise when he said this especially since he worked for a law firm!!


This got me thinking.  How long would my business survive if I lost all my data? I am not talking about software but rather all my client data, invoices emails etc.  All the stuff that a small business uses on a daily basis.  The answer is not very long.

I had a customer yesterday who had a faulty hard drive.  When I gave him the price to install a new one, recover his files and reinstall Windows Vista he went white (it wasn’t that high by the way).  When I explained he could lose all his data if his hard drive completely failed or if he was lucky he would be able to retrieve some of it back by sending it off to lab (costing hundreds) I thought he would faint.  His data was critical to him but he had never considered how much.

So if all this data is critical why don’t people or businesses better protect it by backing it up. The answer in my experience is lazyiness.  People generally don’t think about it as they have never had it happen to them.  I had a client once who said that “Their systems had never gone down so why would they start now” (I am not joking!!).  I tried to point out that if the hard drive in any on the systems on the network failed they could lose data (no backup system in place).  I was met with “Never happened before”.  People will only start to listen when they have to dig deep into their pockets to rectify a situation that should never have happened in the first place.

My data is critical so I will keep backing it up (and checking it too!!) but how critical is your data?

About the Author

P1020114

Hi I’m Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Windows, Mac and Linux based IT Support to small businesses in Stirling, Alloa and Falkirk.

Follow @Comtech247 on Twitter

 

How to schedule a backup in Ubuntu 12.04


Today I will show you how to schedule a backup in Ubuntu 12.04 using cron.

The cron daemon uses the crontab file  (think Task Scheduler in Windows) which allows you to set the backup schedule. The beauty of using cron is that it works ON ALL LINUX DISTRIBUTIONS not just Ubuntu. You don’t even need to install cron as it comes installed by default.

Ok time to get your hands dirty.  Open up a terminal and type “su” and when prompted enter your root password.  Next you want to open up the crontab file so type “nano /etc/crontab” in a terminal.  The crontab file should look similar to the table below.

 

M H Dom Mon Dow User Command
1 9 * * * Root Tar -cvf/media/dev/sdb/backup.tar /home

Where:

M = minutes

H = hours

Dom = every day in the month

Mon = every month

Dow = every day of week (e.g 1-5 would be Monday to Friday inclusive)

User = user who can perform this task

Command = what is getting backed up and where is it getting sent to

Lets explain this a bit. In the above example I have backed up a folder called home (/home) to a folder called backup.tar which is on sdb (/dev/sdb/backup.tar) at 1 minute past 9 everyday in the month, every month.  The authorised user is root and the command to be used is Tar -cvf.

When you have configured the crontab file save it and exit.  Your backup schedule is now set.

About the Author

P1020114

Hi I am Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Windows and Linux based IT Support, laptop repairs and computer repairs to both business and personal clients throughout Stirling, Falkirk and Clackmannanshire.

For a list of what I can offer you why not visit my website www.comtech247.net where you will find a list of my services, testimonials, blog and much more!!

How to schedule a backup in Small Business Server 2011

Most small companies who require a server for their network will be using Microsoft Small Business Server.  Today we will be looking at Small Business Server 2011 Essentials, specifically using the inbuilt tools to backup the server.  These steps will work on all variants of the Small Business Server 2011 software.

For this tutorial I have Small Business Server 2011 Essentials installed inside a virtual machine using Virtualbox.

First thing we need to do is access the backup utility.

Start – All programs – Accessories – System Tools – Windows Server backup

You should get the screenshot below.

Now we need to schedule a backup so click on Backup Schedule (top right) to start the wizard.  On the following page click next.


You should now be faced with the Select Backup Configuration page as shown below.

In my experience unless you have a specific need to backup only certain parts of the server configuration it is easier and safer to backup the full configuration.  Once you have decided click next.

On the following page you are asked to set the backup schedule.  Choose a schedule that suits you and then click next.

You will now be asked to specify the backup destination as shown below.

What you do next is determined by your backup strategy.  If your strategy is to backup to external hard drives then click on Back up to a hard disk that is dedicated for backups.  If your strategy is to backup to a network share (as is the purpose of this tutorial) click on Back up to a shared network folder. Once decided click next.

Word of warning if you backup to a network share your existing backup will get overwritten each time so you only have one backup on the share.

Because I specified a network share I now have to tell the server where that share is.

When you have specified the backup location click on next.  You will then be asked for network credentials to access the share.

On the final page review the backup schedule and click finish.  Your backups will now be taken at the time you specified.  Just remember to have your server switched on!!

About the Author

Hi I am Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Windows and Linux based IT Support, laptop repairs and computer repairs to both business and personal clients in and around Stirling.

For a list of what I can offer you why not visit my website www.comtech247.net where you will find a list of my services, testimonials, blog and much more.

 

How to schedule a backup in Linux Mint 12


Today I will show you how to schedule a backup in Linux Mint 12 so that your precious data is safe.

Linux Mint 12 comes with the Backup Tool shown below which allows you to backup your data and software installed on the system but unfortunately it doesn’t allow you to schedule backups.  For that we need the cron daemon.

The cron daemon uses the crontab file  (think Task Scheduler in Windows) which allows you to set the backup schedule.  The beauty of using cron is that it works ON ALL LINUX DISTRIBUTIONS not just Linux Mint. You don’t need to install cron as it comes installed by default.

Ok time to get your hands dirty.  Open up a terminal and type “su” and when prompted enter your root password.  Next you want to open up the crontab file.

Next type “gedit /etc/crontab” in a terminal.  The crontab file should look similar to the table below.

 

M H Dom Mon Dow User Command
1 9 * * * Root Tar -cvf/media/dev/sdb/backup.tar /home

Where:

M = minutes

H = hours

Dom = every day in the month

Mon = every month

Dow = every day of week (e.g 1-5 would be Monday to Friday inclusive)

User = user who can perform this task

Command = what is getting backed up and where is it getting sent to

So in the above example I have backed up a folder called home (/home) to a folder called backup.tar which is on sdb (/dev/sdb/backup.tar) at 1 minute past 9 everyday in the month, every month.  The authorised user is root and the command to be used is tar -cvf.

When you have configured the crontab file save it and exit.  Your backup schedule is now set.

About the Author

Hi I am Chris the owner of ComTech. I provide IT Support, Laptop repairs and Computer repairs to both personal and business clients in and around Stirling. For a list of what I can offer you why not visit my website www.comtech247.net where you will find my blog, testimonials, services and much more.  Start supporting a local business today so I can start supporting you.

If you found this blog useful then why not sign up to my RSS Feed for news, tutorials, views and general techie stuff!!

 

 

 

Taking a system image in Linux


I have been playing around this week trying to find the best way to take a system image of a linux system.  The are loads of ways to achieve this but this tutorial will concentrate of using the tar package.

The command is:

BACKUP

tar cvpzf mint.tgz –exclude=/proc –exclude=/lost+found –exclude=/mint.tgz –exclude=/mnt –exclude=/sys —exclude=/media /

RESTORE

tar xvpzf mint.tgz -C /

Ok lets explain this a bit.  The above commands must be run as root.  Your backup will be stored in the directory in which you run the first command.  For example if you want to backup to a network share mount the share and run the command in the root of the share.

Cvpzf stands for compression (vzf), permissions (p) and create achive (c) while mint.tgz is your backup name.  We have also excluded some directories which you don’t really need to copy.  You should definitely exclude media and mnt as any partitions mounted here will also be copied, along with the backup itself (in this case mint.tgz).  If you copy the backup you are making you will get some weird results!!  Finally the / at the end of the command specifies that you are copying the root directory.  If you only wanted to copy your home directory you could change this to /home.

To restore your backup run the second command from the directory in which the backup is stored.  Be warned that once run the backup will overwrite the relevant directories on your system.  For example if you backed up the root directory your root directory will be overwritten once the command is executed.

All that is left is store your backup some place safe, away from your system, ready for future use.

About the Author

Hi I am Chris the owner of ComTech. I provide IT Support, Laptop repairs and Computer repairs to both personal and business clients in and around Stirling. For a list of what I can offer you why not visit my website www.comtech247.net where you will find my blog, testimonials, services and much more.  Start supporting a local business today so I can start supporting you.

If you found this blog useful then why not sign up to my RSS Feed for news, tutorials, views and general techie stuff!!

 

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