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IMPORTANT: data on SURFdrive isn't back-upped, it only provides online storage you can synchronize with on multiple clients anywhere. It is advised to backup the SURFdrive with one of the backup solutions at this wiki's Backup page.

ADVICE: sync or keep your data on the C&CZ home share, then your files are backed up good!

NOTE: data in version control systems are automatically backed up, but please don't use a repository to backup data! Because then the version control server will become overloaded!

Good backup practices

  • have backups at two different locations.
    Reason: if you only do backups at home and your house burns down, then both your laptop and your backup drive will be lost!!
  • have an offline backup next to an online backup.
    Offline means your backup storage is for a long time not connected to your backup, whereas online means that it is often connected to your laptop.
    Why do we also need an offline backup next to the online backup: an online backup can also be infected if your laptop is infected, but an offline backup is not connected, and therefore is safe from corruptions such as viruses or ransomware. Doing an offline backup is manual work, but it gives you extra safety.
    Offline backup can be seen as archiving your data from time to time in a safe place.
  • always verify we can easily do recovery of backup data
    If you setup a new backup then always verify if the backup is done OK. So when is a backup ok? When you can recover data from a backup. So after doing a new backup try to recover data from it!! Also verify the ease of recovery. Eg. can we recover a whole folder or even all data at once. If you cannot recover data easily from a backup then a backup is useless!!

Cloud Storage is NOT a Backup in general, but can be..

Most people think that cloud storage solutions as dropbox, icloud, onedrive or google drive are also good backups. They are wrong!! A cloud storage is only a syncronization service of your files so that you can easily synchronize files to the cloud and multiple devices. However when a file gets corrupted on your pc it will be synchronized to all devices and become corrupted in the cloud and on all devices!! A Virus or Ransomware can destroy your files everywhere! Although cloud storage has some history features you can only go back a limited number of days and you have to recover file per file manually! Without a good restore feature a backup is useless. So I repeat again: cloud storage is not a backup

Also SURFdrive cloud storage provided by SURF for our University is not a good backup!

However there are some cloud storage services which also provide you a backup service. Look carefully how long they keep the backups and if they provide a bulk restore. Without a good restore feature a backup is useless. Most cloud services call them backup in the cloud, which is misleading because they don't provide long term backups nor bulk restores. So watch out!! A good service seems: https://www.idrive.com/online-backup-features. You may also look at this article: https://www.pcmag.com/roundup/226992/the-best-online-backup-services

Strato seems to have also good online backup in Europe which seems follow the european privacy standards. Storing your data outside Europe, or a specific compagny may cause trust issues!

Finally a good online backup solution comes for a monthly price.

Backup solutions provided by RU

The backup solutions provided by the RU mentioned below do a daily backup, but also keep a backup version for a long time. Backups are also kept in two locations.

Home share from C&CZ

Your Home share is automatically backed up by C&CZ with a daily, monthly and yearly backup. So if you by accident deleted a file few months ago, you can still recover it.

C&CZ implements a good backup solution, where they keep backups for a long time and keep backups at more then one location.


Source: https://www.radboudnet.nl/bestandsmappen/achtergronden/back-ups/

RU-folders are backed up every night. These files are kept for 60 days. All changes are also saved per hour; these files are kept for 2 days.

To recover a file from a backup, proceed as follows: Go to the Explorer and right-click on the file or folder from which you want to restore something. Choose the "Restore previous versions" option. This gives you access to all stored security copies of your folders and files and you can copy or restore the desired version.

Amanda backup server to backup Mac OS X/Linux/Windows clients

C&CZ runs an Amanda backup server to backup Mac OS X/Linux/Windows clients. The backups are made with the Amanda open source network backup software. Amanda can back up a large number of workstations running multiple versions of Unix/Mac OS X/Linux/Windows.

Specific settings for the C&CZ configuration:

  • The Amanda client should listen to the non-standard port 10011 instead of 10080. Change /etc/services to reflect this.
  • The Amanda server is bus.science.ru.nl. Allow this server to access the client in /etc/amandahosts and the only_from line in /etc/init.d/xinetd.

In the summer of 2013 C&CZ has renewed their amanda backup system. They can now backup partitions till 200 Gb in size. Bigger partitions may be possible using an exclude file which specifies several directories to exclude from backup.

C&CZ implements a good backup solution, where they keep backups for a long time and keep backups at more then one location.

Backup solutions you can do yourself

Local backup to an external hard disk (online)

You can do the backups yourself, either by making a copy manually, or automate the backup with a backup client provided with your operating system:

Note: it is always safer to have backups at two locations, so it is adviced to do backup to an external disk at home and at work.

Above backup programs allow you to configure to do backups very often, eg. hourly, but then smartly remove older backups so that over the whole time span you have backups, but more in more recent times, and less for longer times ago. But most programs keep at least one backup per year no matter how long ago.

In Windows and Mac OS X in the file browsing program you can select a file and show its context menu in which a menu time "previous versions" appears. Using this context menu you can then easily access previous versions of the files which reside in your backups.

Two hard disks at two locations

The idea is that you move your laptop between home and work. At each location you have an external hard disk you connect to your laptop. Preferably on connection the laptop will do a backup. Note instead of an external hard disk you could use a network share to do the backup on. What is important is that you you have different backup media at home and at work, and how you connect to them at home or at work doesn't matter. E.g. With a macbook you could let MacOS's Time machine backup to an Apple AirPort Time Capsule over wifi, so you don't need even to connect any cable at all. If your laptop joins the wifi of the time capsule it will automatically do the backup. With a windows laptop you could let windows file history backup over wifi to a network share on the NAS.

Per operating system :

  • Windows File History only allows backup to a single drive. To do also a backup at another location you could use a second backup program for that location specificly. Another good backup program is Cobian backup. Though Cobian backup is not developed anymore it still works fine for all windows versions including windows 10. To install it you need to activate .NET 3.5 in windows. How to do this is described at the FAQ page of Cobian backup. Both Cobian backup and Windows File History let you do backups on a network share instead of an external hard disk.
  • Linux's Back In Time backup program can have multiple profiles, so make a backup profile per disk. Make sure that each disk is automatically mounted with a different mount path. Then you can have per disk a different profile with different backup location. Note that if a disk is not mounted back in time will try to mount it but fails because destination folder is not there. It will only give a warning in /var/log/syslog. So it also wise to check from time to time that your disks get mounted and backups are done. You can easily check this by opening the back in time GUI.

Keep a long term backup (offline)

It is wise to make once a year a full backup to an external drive which you store in a safe place. Even better do this on two different external disks at two different locations to provide redundancy, because a disk make break, or may be destroyed in a fire. This is a long term backup, where you can return to in case of real disaster.

This is important because

  • a virus/ransomware on your computer which can cripple both your current data on your laptop and the backups of your data on your external backup disk. Remember that the backup disk is connected to your laptop, and accessible the virus/ransomware. Whereas the long term backup is stored in a safe place out of reach of the virus. You could say the offline backup acts as safe fallback in these disaster cases.
  • online backups only allow you to recover deleted files within a period of one year. If you by accident deleted a file which you only rarely access, and you discover this file is missing more then a year later after the accidental deletion, this file will probably not available anymore in the above mentioned backup systems which only will keep backups for a year. However it will be on your long term backup!! You could say the offline backup acts as an archive in such a case.

Always verify a new backup setup

If you setup a new backup then always verify if the backup is done OK. So when is a backup ok? When you can recover data from a backup. So after doing a new backup try to recover data from it!! If you cannot recover data from a backup then a backup is useless!!