Recommended frequency for: OS backups, root/boot floppy creation?

Posted on 2004-11-16
Last Modified: 2013-12-06
As a rule of thumb, how often should I:

1) Take an operating system backup on our SCO OpenServer 5.0.5 box?

2) Create a set of root/boot floppies?

Question by:Geoff_Kovarik
    LVL 14

    Assisted Solution

    SCO OpenServer 5.0.5? You should take one final backup of it before throwing it in the garbage since this is a really old and out of date system.

    Seriously, assuming you can't get off of this system, the question is how much data you're able to live without.

    A typical schedule is to take a full backup of everything on a weekly basis, and a nightly partial backup of files that have changed since the last full.

    But, if you're running a webserver with static content that only gets updated weekly, then you really only need to backup weekly.

    And if you're running a system with real-time financial transactions, you really need real-time backups where you send a second copy of all transactions to a backup server.

    As for creating root/boot floppies, this only needs to be done when you do an OS install/upgrade.
    LVL 61

    Assisted Solution

    Typically when you knowingly patch.
    It is very handy to have list of those few config files you customized, and back up those on daily basis...
    LVL 11

    Accepted Solution

    Your backup policy is dependent on the use and significance of the machine.  

    1) Scheduled Backups

    A good rule of thumb is if only one person has (root) priviliges to modify the Operating System through configuration files or patches, then that person only need take a backup *before* and *after* each update/patch/configuration change that is made.

    If there are a number of people with root privileges, you can not be certain when a change will be made, or if that operator will be disciplined, so you need to create a backup schedule that allows you to restore to the last known working "restore-point".

    This "restore-point" is dependant on the use/significance of the server, so in a critical environment, you should backup daily, and keep the last 5 daily backups (one day longer than the longest public holiday), the last four weeklies and the last 6 monthlies.  In this situation, I make daily backups incrementals, weeklies and monthlies are full backups.

    You should agree this "restore-point" with the user group.  They may feel that its OK to restore to the latest weekly backup, and you wont need to schedule daily jobs.

    2) You should make root/boot floppies whenever the OS is upgraded or takes a significant patch.  You should automate this process where possible.  If I remember correctly, the SCO update includes a step to create floppies.

    Note that this answer does NOT consider the programs, files and data that are on the box, but only the OS configuration.  When you agree program/data/file backups you need to ascertain with the user-group the cost of running and keeping the backup against the cost of how much data is lost.  In one company, we had a particular server where a days data was worth financially less than the cost of taking, securing and keeping the backup, so we reduced the frequency to three days and improved the companies ROI.  Nice way of looking at things?
    LVL 11

    Expert Comment


    Slightly misleading - 'monthlies' actually refers to the fact that I only keep the last weekly backup for each month.  So at any one time I can restore to:

       Any overnight restore-point from the last five days.
       Any Saturday night from the last four weeks.
       The last Saturday night of any month up to the last 6 months.
    LVL 61

    Expert Comment

    the question is not about data,but about operating system and boot floppies ....
    LVL 38

    Assisted Solution

    You only need to perform a FULL system backup after every time you add Sofware, install
    patch, change hardware (relink kernal).

    You only need to remake the Root and Boot FD for every time you change hardware
    (kernel), and you don't need to worry about it for add-on app software.

    You do need to backup your data at least once a day.

    Author Comment

    There's more to this question than I thought, seeing these replies; I'm multiplying the point value, and thanks for all the input so far!

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