Backups && Recovery


Most of the users using computers have a very high dependency on it. Day-by- Day, our data is getting digitized. Everything is getting into electronic formats ( Movies/Pictures/Music et cetera). If you are one, you know how important it is to have a backup.

Lately, I haven’t been using Microsoft Windows on a daily basis. So I’ll comment on Linux here.

The definition of Backup can be different. People like backing-up only the Important data. The problem is that the term Important is very volatile. What is important to X is not necessarily important to Y.

For my backup solutions, in the past, I’ve relied on a KDE Backup tool, Keep. It internally uses rdiff-backup. It was good. It allowed incremental backups. There were some hiccups here and there but overall it was pretty good. But it was very difficult to tell the application about What all it should backup. And then, it needed to do a diff verification for every file that was a candidate.

Restoration from rdiff-backup was not always great. Especially the incremental backups. If something was messed up, it was tough to recover. For example, assume that the backup was in progress. And you needed to rush for home immediately aborting your backup. Keep wouldn’t play good there.

Then came LVM. I’ve used LVM for years but never really looked at it as a backup option. To start with, I’d say, LVM is the Best Backup Tool for my needs. I described Important above. For me, Important is my HOME dir, my /var/tmp/kdecache-rrs dir, and my /tmp/kde-rrs dir. Apart from that, my /etc/ dir, my /usr/loca/ dir. And many more that I can’t recollect. If there was one simple tool to backup all without worrying of Permission, Security Labels et cetera, that’d be LVM.

And LVM allows Online Backups. So I can have my / volume online and still go ahead with the backup while I’m working.

And depending on I want, I can do a File or a Block based backup.


So we know how important our data has become for us, depending on how dependent you are on computers for your day-to-day life. I hate thinking about it but increasing dependency on computers gets me worried about security. Yeah!! You’d say Linux is more secure. (Wouldn’t want to discuss in that direction)

I really like the SELinux Security Features. Most of the people (including Enterprise Customers) I know, disable SELinux on their machines. Currently SELinux doesn’t see a widespread integration into the entire Application Stack. Thus apps just fail as SELinux restricts their access.

On my Debian Box, SELinux is miles away from the kind of integration packages have through apt. That sometimes makes me run to Red Hat based distributions to see what their state is, on SELinux.

So yesterday, I wiped off my Debian setup and installed Fedora. Used it for a couple of hours and decided to go back to Debian again (More of a personal taste).

That’s what I do once in a year.

The thing I have the most, is to lose data. Data being - My Settings and other stuff I mentioned above.

So to recover Debian was just a couple of hours. Just had to do a Block Restoration of the Block Backed ROOT LV to the new LV. And then, a minor grub and kenrel installation. And voila, everything was back just as it was yesterday.

**Nothing much to say. Thank you Alasdair and Team Device Mapper @ Red Hat **