Mysterybyte to the rescue

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Mysterybyte to the rescue

Daniel MacKay-2
In 2010, I bought an Atom D510MO all-in-one mobo and a couple 300G drives and someone gave me a cute little case for them and I put Solaris on them and put it in my basement.

That’s the machine that my production machines — in machine rooms, elsewhere — back up to.

(the Linux content here is that the production machines are:
* Debian GNU/Linux 7 2.6.32-44-pve and
* Debian GNU/Linux 9 \n \l  4.9.0-4-amd64
)

A couple days ago, the power supply on the Solaris box failed. The next morning I went to Mysterybyte to ask if they had an old power supply I could try out to make sure that was the problem. They didn’t - but they have a policy that you can bring stuff back within five days.  AND they tested my old power supply and said it was indeed dead.

I put in the new power supply and Solaris spun up:

https://cdn.discordapp.com/attachments/401370401361625101/640206131943178241/image0.jpg

The reason I’m using Solaris is that starting in 1989 I was a Solaris sysadmin so it just made sense. I am no longer.

Except this box has the two drives raid’d in ZFS.

My backup system is this:
* each night the Linux systems rsync their entire filesystems (except /proc etc) to the Solaris box
* after that’s done, the Solaris box does a ZFS “snapshot” of the file systems.

ZFS snapshots look exactly like the original filesystem and take up no space - except as you change files on the original filesystem, the snapshot grows.

.. so with almost no disk space I can have many many many days’ worth of backups on line.  

There’s a cron job that ages them in Towers of Hanoi- 1 day old, 2 days, 4 days, 8 days, 16 etc etc. so the oldest is many years old.
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Re: Mysterybyte to the rescue

Ben Armstrong-2
On Mon, Nov 4, 2019 at 5:41 PM Daniel MacKay <[hidden email]> wrote:
In 2010, I bought an Atom D510MO all-in-one mobo and a couple 300G drives and someone gave me a cute little case for them and I put Solaris on them and put it in my basement.

Nice. The sort of system I wish I'd have built for my home server vs. my current Atom NUC w. SSD inside & attached big USB drive for media storage (my 1st departure from doing a custom build, formerly using end-of-life mid tower or full tower workstations; I'm not entirely unhappy with it, but nor am I entirely pleased).

That’s the machine that my production machines — in machine rooms, elsewhere — back up to.

(the Linux content here is that the production machines are:
* Debian GNU/Linux 7 2.6.32-44-pve and
* Debian GNU/Linux 9 \n \l  4.9.0-4-amd64
)

The more obvious "Linux content" to me in this story is the unix philosophy behind it: as with the software, small is beautiful. Build a box from right-sized components to do one thing, and do it well.
 
A couple days ago, the power supply on the Solaris box failed. The next morning I went to Mysterybyte to ask if they had an old power supply I could try out to make sure that was the problem. They didn’t - but they have a policy that you can bring stuff back within five days.  AND they tested my old power supply and said it was indeed dead.

Whew.

I put in the new power supply and Solaris spun up:

https://cdn.discordapp.com/attachments/401370401361625101/640206131943178241/image0.jpg

Such a cute system! Tidy, too.
 
The reason I’m using Solaris is that starting in 1989 I was a Solaris sysadmin so it just made sense. I am no longer.

This connects well with our earlier discussion about Mike's life extension of his old stuff. There's a human element to these decisions: we invest a lot into the old technologies that we nurse along way past when some of our peers have discarded them in favour of shelling out for new hardware and junking the old. It's not just the waste of the still serviceable hardware that bothers me, but also the waste of time "fixing" something that isn't broken for the admin who thoughtfully and lovingly crafted it to begin with. I have tremendous respect for this approach.
 
Except this box has the two drives raid’d in ZFS.

Cool! ZFS certainly has its appeal for this kind of system (yeah, I know about zfsonlinux, but does it measure up to a native implementation?)

My backup system is this:
* each night the Linux systems rsync their entire filesystems (except /proc etc) to the Solaris box
* after that’s done, the Solaris box does a ZFS “snapshot” of the file systems.

ZFS snapshots look exactly like the original filesystem and take up no space - except as you change files on the original filesystem, the snapshot grows.

.. so with almost no disk space I can have many many many days’ worth of backups on line. 

There’s a cron job that ages them in Towers of Hanoi- 1 day old, 2 days, 4 days, 8 days, 16 etc etc. so the oldest is many years old.

Quite sensible. Man, this shows up my profound lack of attention to backups I've "backslidden" into over the years. Mind you, it's "only" a home network and I do have some measures in place, but nothing so comprehensive and elegant. I gotta do something about this.

Thanks for sharing your story.

Ben


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Re: Mysterybyte to the rescue

Daniel MacKay-2
Ben:

> attention to backups

You notice that my backups are physically separate from the production machines. So if a sprinkler or a bomb or a fire takes out the data centre, I still have a warm copy of my data ready to roll at home.  it would take me a few hours to bring up the services on the Solaris box to take over from the Linux boxes - when I switch the home machine to Linux that could be reduced to a couple minutes.

But I was thinking, one of the functions of NSLUG might be to arrange a backup.. uh… dating service.

So if you’ve got a server in your basement and I have one in mine we arrange for my basement to get sync’d over to your basement in the wee hours of every morning and vice-a verse-a.

Maybe we'd set it up so that I give you an external USB for my data, maybe encrypted with a key that only I have.  It would be my responsibility to make sure that my backups are getting done and are usable.

This is one of my favourite things:

        http://www.taobackup.com/

-dan
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Backup matchmaker (was Re: Mysterybyte to the rescue)

Joel Maxwell
Hi Dan, Ben.

Since you mention basement server, that "dating service" may not end up
for monogamy. ;^)

The fact that the data owner also owns the encryption key piques my
interest.  An automated sync could provide checksums (before and after)
for the files that changed in a completion report to help signal if a
file changed unexpectedly.

My idealistic purpose for this offer would be to have off-site
incremental backups for a narrow scope of data that would have a
history as long as time will allow.  Made up of thousands of small
files, the data is not necessarily regularly accessed - however if lost
re-creating them may not be the hassle - the hassle may be realizing a
proper copy existed at one point.

I tried to cover this niche issue with an SD card in a firesafe box.
However in doing that for six years and updating it recently, I only
had three previous snapshots on it.

Most anything else is easy. Some things I track with code management
since they (and their history) are fine if public (a lot in this group
is). Most of my day-to-day files are included in Nextcloud (something I
run, on my server) synchronization. I realize this is duplication and
not backups however it's useful to note since changing a file on my
main PC will update the file of the same name/location on the laptop
(immediately if running, or next time it's turned on). This is a cool
feature even though it justifies regular backups that are checked
(happy to not experience those issues - *knock on wood*).

In the "more duplication" department, I have a `rsnapshot` job
scheduled weekly for large chunks of my main PC to my basement server,
retaining eight snapshots before cleaning out the old.  These are
archived as hard-linked files for easier browsing and preserving space.
 
For off-site archival, I have two portable high-capacity drives that I
swap out with my off-site location each month.  Data added to those
drives are done with a custom `rsync` command (allow "infinite" history
of changes organized with hard-links) pulling from the most recent
desktop PC snapshot (with a few other things).

It's not perfect, but I find it mostly reasonable since I don't have to
do much to keep it going (there are a few other backup opportunities I
want to investigate at some point as well - but there is well enough
here already).

--
Regards,
Joel Maxuel

On Tue, 2019-11-05 at 10:08 -0400, Daniel MacKay wrote:

> Ben:
>
> > attention to backups
>
> You notice that my backups are physically separate from the
> production machines. So if a sprinkler or a bomb or a fire takes out
> the data centre, I still have a warm copy of my data ready to roll at
> home.  it would take me a few hours to bring up the services on the
> Solaris box to take over from the Linux boxes - when I switch the
> home machine to Linux that could be reduced to a couple minutes.
>
> But I was thinking, one of the functions of NSLUG might be to arrange
> a backup.. uh… dating service.
>
> So if you’ve got a server in your basement and I have one in mine we
> arrange for my basement to get sync’d over to your basement in the
> wee hours of every morning and vice-a verse-a.
>
> Maybe we'd set it up so that I give you an external USB for my data,
> maybe encrypted with a key that only I have.  It would be my
> responsibility to make sure that my backups are getting done and are
> usable.
>
> This is one of my favourite things:
>
> http://www.taobackup.com/
>
> -dan
> _______________________________________________
> nSLUG mailing list
> [hidden email]
> http://nslug.ns.ca/mailman/listinfo/nslug
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