CS Backups

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The department uses a three tiered backup system. The first tier uses rsync to quickly copy changes in a filesystem to our dedicated backup hard disk array and is run daily. For tier two, the latest tier one backup is copied to tape every weekend. At the beginning of each semester, a tier three backup will be made by copying the latest tier two backup to dedicated tapes and moved off-site to provide both long-term and off-site backup.


What Gets Backed Up

All CS infrastructure services are backed up including: email (IMAP folders), web pages (www, courses, research, and people), and mySQL databases. One Exception: HCI home directories are backed up to tape once a week only because of the size of the server. Any workstation, by request, will be backed up. Contact the techstaff if you have a workstation you want backed up.

Special Cases

  • Laptops: Laptops can't be routinely backed up because they are usually not left on all the time. The techstaff can set up an "on-demand" backup. This will create a command that when run will instantly backup your laptop when it is convinent for you.
  • One-time: Contact the techstaff if you would like a one-time backup, such as before reinstalling your machine.
  • Very Large: If your back up is very large (over 100gigs), special arrangements may have to be made. Space on the hard disk array is limited, so a daily backup in this case might not be possible.

Setting Up Your Backup

See the following how-tos:

Setting up backups for Windows

Setting up backups for Linux

Setting up backups for Mac OSX


Your backup logs are available online: https://admin.cs.vt.edu/backups.pl


Single files or folders can be easily restored from daily backups. A full system restore can take as long as a week, because the operating system and programs can not always be restored from backups. Most likely the operating system and programs will need to be installed by hand before restoring the data.