Website - In personal news, I’ve finished migrating all of the information content of to a wiki, based on MediaWiki. I’m still getting some kinks ironed out, and working on customization, but it seems to be coming along very well. It’s wonderfully easy to update information and to link between articles. Most of the content is more like notes than articles, but I’m trying to put most of my SysAdmin and programming notes up there, both for my own future reference and that of anyone who happens by the site. As always, though, some content will just live its’ life as a blog entry, so I encourage searching of my blog as well. This is my fourth instance of MeidaWiki, and while I haven’t set them up to play together, they all run wonderfully - and share a lot of common configuration (though I have separate instances of the code). Hopefully I’ll do a bunch of reorganization of the wiki sometime, and keep adding new content. Some of the newer pages include pages on DenyHosts and HPASM (from my blog post).

Blog - I know the template is awful. It’s on my list of things to do, and should be at the top of the queue in approximately 2056.

Bacula - Up to now, my backups have been a total kludge. The mere explanation of this elicits a feeling of nausea. A shell script on my backup storage server executes via cron. Each of the four important servers on my network (mail, web, monitoring, and development) have shell scripts that handle local backups - tar’ing up a list of directories, MySQL dumps, etc. - then tar gzip the whole thing and plop it in a local directory. The backup server executes these scripts and then copies the temporary files to its own disk via SCP. All of this is handled through an expect script, that runs each server consecutively. By morning, I end up with a 6+ hour job that’s finished, and dumped gigs of files on the backup server. Before finishing each machine, it deletes any backups on the backup server that are older than 10 days. After copying everything, it deletes the client’s local copy. The bottom line is that if a machine goes down, I can re-install the OS and all packages, and then have the backups of just /etc and user data. Not beautiful. Even worse, my backup storage server doesn’t have a tape drive. When I get around to it, I run a script on my development/storage box that copies the latest backups from each machine, located on the backup server, to a tempdir and then writes them to tape. To top it all off, I have only one network, so all of these gigs of data are crawling across my ancient 10/100 switch, along with all other connectivity to the outside world.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like I’ll have the money to upgrade to Gig-E any time soon, even just for the 5 machines involved. More to the point, there’s no way that I’ll have the money to buy a manageable Gig-E switch that can come anywhere close to my BayStack 450-24T. So, it’s time to invest… well… time… in a good backup infrastructure. After doing a lot of research, I came to two findings:

  1. The two main options seem to be AMANDA and Bacula.
  2. I don’t like how AMANDA works.

So, I’m going to give Bacula a shot. I did consult the SAGE mailing list for advice, and got some recommendations for BackupPC, but Bacula seems to be more my type of thing. Well, I did an install, and spent about 8 hours hacking around with the config files. No luck. Bacula is designed to be highly modular and scalable, but to be honest, I find the config files to be *very* complicated. Furthermore, I wasn’t able to find any good example configurations with documentation. After brainstorming for a while (laying in bed watching Law & Order and reading the Bacula docs on dead trees) I decided to give in - despite my continued efforts to stop using it, I checked Webmin and, surely enough, they have a Bacula module. After starting with fresh config files, I was able to get Bacula up and running on my development/storage server (a fresh install of openSuSE 10.1) as the director. I got a file daemon installed on the web server. Everything looked wonderful.

The current status: My backup storage server does only that - storage of backups. Nothing else. It’s still running SuSE 9.3. The Bacula RPMs for 9.3 are from the 1.x tree, and all of my other machines are running openSuSE 10.x, with Bacula 2.x. I gave it a shot but, sure enough, a Bacula 2.x director won’t jive with a 1.x storage daemon. And I’m in dependency hell - Bacula 2.x requires upgrades of everything from the C libs all the way up. So, I’m going to give a shot at an upgrade of the storage machine via YaST, and see where I get.


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