Friday, November 10, 2006

Backups Backups

I recently bought an external hard drive for backups. Originally, I had been thinking of getting one big one, maybe about 200 gb. But then bought a smaller one (80 gb), with an intent to buy one per computer. That turned out to have been a good decision, since the software that came with doesn't handle networked drives or externally shared folders.

When I first tried to hook it up to my server, I got a warning message that it was running on a slow USB interface (i.e. USB 1.1). Then, I ran it for 24 hours, and it didn't complete a full backup. So, I bought a couple of USB 2.0 intefaces on eBay and installed on last night on the server. I then set up to do an incremental backup of my first drive/partition. That seemed to work ok, so I did the next, and went to bed. About five hours later, I looked at it, and found that it had copied everything, but was taking 92% of the CPU. I paniced, figuring that it was in a loop. I went back to my desktop system to check mail, etc., and went back, and noticed that the current task completion bar had advanced a bit. A relief. It turns out that it was writing a log file of the 50,000 or so files I had just backed up. I am now backing up part of the third disk/partition. That should run through at least the rest of the night.

Even running over USB 2.0, it still takes an awful long time to run. I have set maximum compression, but haven't gotten to the backup part yet (it is still comparing files for backup), so that isn't the entire problem. Oh well, it runs in the background, and there is really no reason that I shouldn't just let it run as long as it takes, esp. on my server which has plenty of spare processor power (I did downgrade its dispatching priority so that it won't kill my actual server functionality).

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