Thursday, 18 August 2011

Implementing Plan C

With the arrival of my brand new 32GB usb drive this morning, I thought that it was time to take my own advice and implement Plan C of my backup strategy. However, as usual things didn't turn out quite as I expected!

My initial plan was simply to create an encrypted directory on my flash drive and copy my backups across the network. However, copying large compressed files from network storage to usb (via pc) wasn't successful and I found Ubuntu reporting errors - so, I modified my plans (let's call it Plan C.i) to replicate the backup using SBackup. Unfortunately, that didn't work either - SBackup couldn't access the encrypted directory so I had to think of a Plan C.ii!

When I first started thinking about a backup strategy, one of the options that I considered was, rsync: however, I abandoned this option because it was just too complicated (for me) at the time. rsync is a command line tool - it's manual stretches to 61 pages when printed to file and it's not a particularly forgiving read! Fortunately, there is a graphical interface (Grsync) in the Ubuntu Software Centre that makes configuring a backup a little less intimidating and, when coupled with some excellent pointers from The University of Auckland, getting a working backup onto a USB drive is reasonably painless.

So, I now have copies of my essential files encrypted and saved to a portable disk: Plan C has been implemented. Given that I probably won't be automating this process (I'll still have to mount the USB drive and decrypt the directory whenever I want to refresh my backup), I kept the backup to absolute essentials only - documents & configuration files - but it is a working solution for disaster recovery.

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