I hope you learn half as much reading this book as I did writing it. This was quite an interesting project, where we took the original book and expanded its scope so much that we had to change its title. I wrote Unix Backup and Recovery seven years ago, and a lot has changed since thenboth in the industry and in my life. The biggest change in the industry has been the proliferation of Windows, Mac OS, Exchange, and SQL Server in the data center. (I never saw the Apple Xserve coming.)
The biggest change for me has been having my eyes opened to backup and recovery applications beyond those considered "traditional." It's true that I spend most of my professional life consulting with large companies that spend enough on backup software and hardware to fund a small army. I enjoy doing that. It's very rewarding to show a company how to save millions of dollars a year and make their backups and restores faster and more reliable in the process. (By the way, if you need help with your backup system, drop an email to email@example.com's what I do for a living.)
I also spend a good deal of the time traveling the world speaking to users about how to do this themselves. And when I do, I always get questions like these:
I got a quote for backup software from XYX, and they want $XXXX for backup software! Where am I supposed to get that kind of money!?
I couldn't afford backup software from XYZ, so we bought ABC instead, and it stinks. Can you recommend something better?
None of the commercial utilities can back up my MySQL or PostgreSQL database. How do I do that?
How do I do bare-metal recovery on ABC operating system?
Aren't there open-source utilities that do this kind of thing?
So while I'm actually preparing to write my next book on how to select, install, and manage commercial backup software systems, I felt that this book needed to come first. This book is aimed at the people who feel that the commercial software products aren't meeting all their needs.
Perhaps you're a small shop that can't spend $10,000 just to get decent backup software. Perhaps you're already using a commercial backup software package, but you don't want to spend thousands of dollars on their agent to back up your DB2 databases, or you can't find anybody to back up your MySQL or PostgreSQL databases. This book is about giving you optionsfree options.
Almost everything I talk about in this book is either included with your operating system or application, or is available as an open-source project. (The commercial products I do mention cost only $99.) You may be amazed at what you can do for free or almost free.
I Wish I'd Had This Book
I wanted to write a book that would ensure that no one would ever have to start from scratch again, and I believe that my contributors and I have done just that. It contains every backup tool that I wish I had when I first entered the backup business and every lesson and trick that I've learned along the way. It covers how to back up and recover everything from a basic Linux, Windows, or Mac OS workstation to a complicated DB2, Oracle, or Sybase databaseand a lot of things in between. Whether your budget barely stretches to cover the cost of the backup media or allows you to buy a silo bigger than your house, this book has something for you. Whether your task is to figure out how to back up, with no commercial utilities, an environment such as the one I first encountered or to choose from among more than 50 commercial backup utilities, this book will tell you how to do it. With that in mind, let me mention a few things about this book that are unique.
Only the Recovery Matters
As my friend Joe Fitzpatrick used to tell me, "No one cares if you can back uponly if you can recover." Yet how many backup chapters have you read that dedicate less than 10 percent to recovery? You won't find that in this book. I have tried very hard to ensure that recovery is given equal treatment.
Some people may be surprised that there are no product names mentioned in the commercial backup section. I did this for several reasons, the main one being that products change constantly. It would be impossible to keep this book up to date with more than 50 backup products that are available for Unix alone. In fact, the book would be out of date by the time it hit the shelves. Instead, this book explains the concepts of commercial backup and recovery software, allowing you to apply those concepts to the claims that the vendors are currently making. Up-to-date information about specific products is available on http://www.backupcentral.com.
Backing Up Databases Is Not That Hard
If you're a database administrator (DBA), you may not be familiar with the commands necessary to back up your database. If you're a system administrator (SA), you may not be familiar with the architecture of the database platform your DBA is using. Both concepts are explained in detail in this book. I explain the backup utilities in plain language so that any DBA can understand them, and I explain database architecture in such a way that an SA, even one who has never before seen a database, can understand it.
Bare-Metal Recovery Is Not That Hard
One of these days you will lose the operating system disk for an important system, and you will need to recover it. This is called a bare-metal recovery. The standard recovery method described in many backup products' documentation is to install a minimal operating system and restore on top of it. This is the worst possible method to do a bare-metal recovery of a system; among other problems, you end up overwriting some of the system files while the system is running from the very disk to which you are trying to restore. The best ways to do bare-metal recoveries for AIX, Solaris, HP-UX, Windows, Linux, and Mac OS are covered in detail in this book.
How This Book Is Organized
This book is divided into six parts, which are described in the following sections.
Part I of this book contains just enough information to whet your backup and recovery appetite.
This section covers the basic backup utilities that are available to back up your system, and several open-source backup systems to help you manage those backups.
If you have outgrown the capabilities of free utilities or would just like to take advantage of new backup and recovery technologies, you'll need to look at a commercial product. You should also know about the latest hardware that is on the market to assess your full range of backup and recovery options.
A bare-metal recovery is the fastest way to bring a dead system back to life, even if its operating system drive is completely destroyed.
This section explains in plain language an area that presents some of the greatest backup and recovery challenges that a system administrator or database administrator will facebacking up and recovering databases.
The information contained in this part of the book is by no means unimportant; it simply wouldn't fit anywhere else!
What's New in This Book
See preceding section. Seriously, this book has about 75 percent new material when compared with Unix Backup & Recovery. Some chapters in the first book were completely rewritten for this book. Here are the highlights of those changes:
There are eleven completely new chapters, significantly expanding the scope of this book. Here are the topics covered in these new chapters:
For various reasons, some chapters from Unix Backup & Recovery did not make it into this book. All of the following chapters are now available online at http://www.backupcentral.com. The one challenge, of course, is that these chapters have not been updated. Therefore, we've put them in our wiki so that anyone who wants to help us update them can do so.
Speaking of BackupCentral.com
We've completely redesigned http://www.backupcentral.com using a content management system, forums, and MediaWiki. My number one goal for the new Backup Central is to make it much easier to provide you dynamic content and to build a strong community around backup and recovery issues. The new Backup Central has some really great features:
I'll see you at http://www.backupcentral.com!
Conventions Used in This Book
The following typographical conventions are used in this book:
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This Book Was a Team Effort
It's true; my license plate does say MRBAKUP. But that doesn't mean I know everything about backup and recovery. In fact, I've never even used some of the operating systems or database platforms covered in this book! It would be a disservice to you, the reader, for me to write chapters on those productsbut I wanted the chapters in the book. So I hired a team of experts to write the chapters for you. Approximately 250 pages of this book were written by others, and contributors are recognized at the beginning of the chapter(s) they wrote.
It's not an easy thing to write a chapter in someone else's book. Not only do you have to write, but you have to write based on someone else's design. There are also tight deadlines, and the process is nothing but hurry up and wait. I couldn't have done it without them, so please allow me to formally thank all of my contributors.
Without these folks, this book would contain substantially less information than what you find here.
Another group of people I must thank is our technical reviewers, and we had a lot of them! The problem with writing a book with a scope this big is that you need specialists and tech reviewers as well. Because of that, most technical editors reviewed only one or two chapters. I couldn't have done it without them. I'm sure I've miss a few, but here's my best attempt at listing them all (alphabetically by first name):
Also giving this book some flavor are those who contributed horror stories. Even if I couldn't use your story in the book, I want to thank you for sending one in.
There were a few people who were extremely helpful in one way or another throughout this project. I'd like to send a special thank you to them.
I Don't Know It All
If there's one thing I learned while writing this book, it's that I do not know everything there is to know about backups. If you have a better way to do anything described in this book, have learned any special tricks, or have written any neat utilities that you think would help other people do backups and recoveries, let me know. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your tricks or utilities may be included in the next edition of the book and listed immediately on http://www.backupcentral.com.
How Can I Say Thanks?
How can I begin to thank the hundreds of people who helped me?
To God: May any praise for this book go to You alone.
To my wife, Celynn: I say "thank you" for the many nights you spent alone while I pounded away at my keyboard somewhere around the globe. You're a special woman who never gave up on me or my dream. I love you.
To my daughter, Nina: You were only seven when the first book came out. Now you're a beautiful young lady who is growing up so fast. I'm going to have to get a gun and sit on the porch.
To my daughter, Marissa: You were only two when the first book came out. Now you're a beautiful nine-year oldmy, how time has flown. Let's go to the park and ride our bikes together.
To my parents: What can I say? You always believed in me. You always used to tell me, "I don't care if you're a ditch digger. Just be the best darn ditch digger in the world." Well, being a backup guy is as close as you can get to being a ditch digger in the computer business, and I "wrote the book" on that.
To Bob Walker for helping me get my first job in backups, and Ron Rodriguez for being all too eager to give it to me.
To Susan Davidson, who didn't fire me when I couldn't recover that purchasing database in 1992: that second chance was all I needed to become the expert in backup that I am today. If you had fired me (and I'm sure a few people wanted you to), who knows where I'd be today. (If you're curious about the story, look for the sidebar "The One That Got Away" in Chapter 1.)
To Collective Technologies for helping me round out my skills enough to see that I wanted to specialize in backup and recovery, and for supporting me when I wrote the first book.
To Jason Stege, Robin Young, Jeff Williams, Reed Robins, and Elia Harris: Thanks for believing in me when I started my own company. I hope I did right by you.
To Mark Shirman and all my friends at GlassHouse: Thanks for giving me a place where I finally feel like I'm using my talents.
To my wife's family: Thank you for raising such a wonderful lady. Thank you for treating me as one of your own and supporting us on our quest. Pahingi ng sinagang?
To all the teachers who kept trying to get me to live up to my potential: You finally got through.
To O'Reilly: Thank you for the opportunity to bring this much-needed book to market.
To Deb Cameron and Michael Loukides, my editors: We'll have to actually meet one of these days! I don't know how you do this, reading the same book over and over, without letting your eyes just glaze over. You're great editors, and I could really tell that you put your all into this project. Thank you, thank you, and thank you. (Now don't edit that sentence, OK?)
To the reader: Thank you for purchasing this book. I hope you learn as much reading it as I did writing it.