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Need to mirror a unix hard drive

Posted on 2007-11-13
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Last Modified: 2013-12-23
We are a pharmacy that runs UNIX.  We use scoserver.  We do nightly backups that sometimes fail, sometimes don't.  I would like to create a real time mirroring or at least a dependable backup.  I do have the ability to ftp into the box.  Are there any good programs (as inexpensive as possible) that will do this real time?  real time mirroring is my preference if you don't think it will slow down my network too badly.

Thanks in advance.
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Question by:joemckamey
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7 Comments
 
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Expert Comment

by:benhanson
ID: 20278161
What you really should have is a hardware mirror.  How this would be done depends on what hardware you are using now, but a RAID 1 setup is really the only way to go for realtime fault tolerance.
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Author Comment

by:joemckamey
ID: 20278182
The problem is our software and hardware are supported by our Pharmacy Dispensing System software company.  They would frown upon us doing anything to the box.  You know how it is, if anything went wrong it would be our fault after that!
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Author Comment

by:joemckamey
ID: 20278188
I agree raid 1 is a great solution...if it were feasable.  There is  program called MirrorFolder out there, but it won't allow mapped drives (which of course I can use a mapped drive as well).  it does raid 1 software version.  Anything like that which truly supports unix?
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by:fseto
ID: 20278212
You can try something like Bacula (http://www.bacula.org/) or Amanda (http://www.amanda.org/).

The *best* backup that I used before are the "snapshots" from NetApps.  But AFAIK, that requires a NetApp Drive.  But perhaps other experts can chime in if they know something like that exists on other unix platforms.
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by:Dozer42
ID: 20278241
Actually the NetApp snapshot feature is relatively easy to implement on Unix systems due to the linked nature of the filestructure.

There's a wonderful program called rsync that can be used to do just that. A google search on the subject should produce some results.

I cannot say if it will work on SCO, but who knows.

I used it to create a 1 Terabyte server (8 120GB raided IDE drives with a 3ware controller) for about $3000, when Netapp wanted some $50,000 for the same amount of storage. Then I used rsync to back it up.

If he connected an external drive to this system and then used rsync to do the backups he could have backups going back years for just the $300 or so for an external 1TB drive. =)

I think the rsync command I used was along the lines of:

rsync -av --delete --exclude *log*

I believe this is the same type of thing that Apple is doing with Time Machine in OSX 10.5/Leopard.
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by:benhanson
ID: 20278243
The crucial term you are using is "realtime"  To get true "realtime" mirroring, you need something working at either the physical drive layer, or at the filesystem driver level.  If you are looking for something like an incremental snapshot, You could probably just use rsync, running an rsync job as a cron task.  Another issue you may run into is that the files you really need may be in use and thus you might not be able to back them up using typical methods.  How frequent are you looking for snapshots?
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fseto earned 500 total points
ID: 20278304
Dozer42:  Thanks!

I found this link, which provides a pretty good summary of using rsync as snapshot backup:  http://www.mikerubel.org/computers/rsync_snapshots/

"realtime" backup such as RAID will be good against hardware failure.  But that's not going to help you if you need to go back in time and recover an older file (or deleted file).  I'm not knocking the raid idea, that's great if you can get it implemented.  But it should only be in addition to, and not replace, a periodic backup routine.
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