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How to backup and restore Unix/Linux

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I know that this is a really simply question, but how does one restore a Unix/Linux client? Specifically:

 

1. What partitions should be backed up? Should we just back up the "Client Desktop", or everything? Even a simple Linux/Unix installation contains several partitions. What needs to be included in the backup?

 

2. How does one restore a Unix/Linux client? Since there are so many partitions, what specific order (if any) should the partitions be restored?

 

3. The boot loader :confused2: On every restore that I've done with Linux, Retrospect tells me that "the boot loader may need to be reinstalled before rebooting the client". I've had VERY limited success trying this, but perhaps I'm simply not doing it correctly.

 

The Retrospect manual doesn't really go into much detail on any of these questions. I have a support call into EMC, but they didn't have the answers readily available and will be getting back to me. But I thought that I'd post here to see if anyone else can help me get a grasp on this thing.

 

Thanks!

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I still haven't received any tutorials/documentation from EMC. I'm beginning to think that EMC is pretty much paying lip service regarding Retrospect Linux support.

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I personally don't have any Linux experience so I can't reply to the question.

 

As noted in the forum rules:

 

While this forum is monitored by members of the EMC Technical Support team, it is not possible to reply to all questions and threads. This forum is not an official method for contacting technical support. EMC employees are under no obligation to reply to individual forum posts.

 

Edited by Guest

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In my experience, users back up the entire Linux system. Restore order doesn't really matter, just like with Windows although restoring the system first is logical.

 

Users handle it about the same way they handle Windows clients for backup and restore.

Edited by Guest

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Robin...

 

I realize that you and your coworkers are not obligated to reply here. However, I have an EMC support contract, and I have been waiting a week to receive information on this topic.

 

Restoring Linux, in my experience, is NOT the same as a Windows client (see my post above about the boot loader), and the EMC tech I spoke to thought that data should be restored in a specific order, but he wasn't sure. That's why I posted this message.

 

If I get any information from my case opened with EMC, I'll try to pass along here to help others.

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I backup all data in "/" so basicly everything.

 

I have not tried a restore, but is it not a matter of doing a quick setup of the OS, install retrospect client and then do a complete restore. (if it's a complete restore we are taking about here). ?

 

I am not sure how Grub handles it when you restore the complete "/" and you have made changes in the volumes setup during quick setup that's not identical to the previus volume setup?

 

Indeed a good question you have raised here.

 

Robert

 

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1. What partitions should be backed up? Should we just back up the "Client Desktop", or everything? Even a simple Linux/Unix installation contains several partitions. What needs to be included in the backup?

 

While I backup the client desktop, it's a really matter of convenience; I don't intend to use Retrospect's backup to restore root from bare metal.

 

Now I'm using Gentoo Linux where there is a script available to do what's called a "stage 4". This script tars up the root device into a single tar file. This can be run on a live system. I specifically have the data partition, /home, excluded. That's what Retrospect is really for. I also save the output of "sfdisk -d root_device" into a file to keep a copy of my partition layout. I use this file and the tar file, which I store on a different computer.

 

2. How does one restore a Unix/Linux client? Since there are so many partitions, what specific order (if any) should the partitions be restored?

 

Basically, I'd boot up the system with an Ubuntu CD. I use Ubuntu because it comes with FTP that supports very large files. sfdisk lets me recreate the partitions from the saved output. Then I mount each partition to a mount point in /mnt matching the root layout. That is, I have /boot, /, and /var on my root device. I create /mnt/gentoo and mount / on it and then create /mnt/gentoo/boot and /mnt/gentoo/var and mount each partition that corresponds. Then I FTP the tar file into /mnt/gentoo and untar it. That's restores all the files.

 

My /home is on a different device, so it doesn't figure into this restore. If I had to restore it, then I'd use Retrospect.

 

3. The boot loader On every restore that I've done with Linux, Retrospect tells me that "the boot loader may need to be reinstalled before rebooting the client". I've had VERY limited success trying this, but perhaps I'm simply not doing it correctly.

 

The final step is to install the boot loader. First, you'd "chroot /mnt/gentooo /bin/bash" to switch into the restored root. I believe you have to first bind mount /dev, /sys/ and /proc on this root to make the environment fully work. That is, for /dev, for example, mount -o bind /dev /mnt/gentoo/dev". Then on Gentoo at least, in the restored root, one runs "env-update" and "source /etc/profile". Now from inside the restored root environment, I run "grub" to reinstall the boot loader. The commands I use in grub are "root (hd0,0)", and "setup (hd0)". But these may vary depending on your what your root device is and its partition layout.

 

This all being said, you probably could Retrospect to substitute for the stage 4 tar file, but to do that, you would have to install and run Retrospect directly from the Ubuntu CD boot environment, so the server has something to talk to in doing the restore and then you'd point the restore volume to root partitions mounted in /mnt. You'd still have to do all the other steps to make it work.

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