Backup with server

By onesmartidiot
Mar 17, 2008
  1. I'm kind of playing with the idea of having a server. I just dont know how to go about it. I have my old athlon 64 machine gathering dust, and it needs a few new parts. However i wouldnt mind experimenting with it as a storage/ backup server.

    Lets say for now this is my goal:

    1. run the server "tower" in the corner without any input devices (monitor, keyboard)
    2. access it from my core2duo and other athlon xp machine at my desk.
    (also if it works well, the dell down stairs and my other athlon pc)
    3. store whatever i want on it
    4. have it back up each machine automatically every night (or week, month, etc)

    I figure this way is cheaper than buying 4 hard drives for each pc (data stripping/ integrity raid) and personally i think its cooler.

    As of right now, i have a 200gig WD drive that works when it wants to (in the server ginnea pig). If i can get this setup to work, ill go get a few 500 or 750 gig drives for it.

    Im looking into linux rather than windows, even though i have no idea how to use it in a "geek" manner. I just avoid Microsoft as much as possible.

    So far ive downloaded ubuntu server, and last night i downloaded fedorea (red hat i guess?)

    I want to keep this as free as possible, minus buying new parts. also, im going to link the server and 3 computers in my room together via network cable. for "internet access" i will buy more netgear pci cards... except for the server, i dont think theres a reason for it to connect online.

    sorry if i rambled a bit, or asked a question thats already been addressed. i did a search and couldnt relate this setup to anything i found.

    All help is greatly appriciated!
  2. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,524

  3. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    I don't know how relevant the Jobeard info is.. In my experience, newer Samba versions Just Work out of the box.

    It would be a lot cheaper to connect the "server" to the router just like the other machines instead of building a parellel network.

    The server does want to go online too for OS updates and suchlike. And you may want to do some other playing around too like set up a web page or some other method to be able to access your files from the internet.

    The automatic backup is going to be tricky.. What exactly are you going to back up? You need special software to make disk images. If it's just some files, then you can easily schedule a job with the Windows builtin backup utility.

    Also, you have to think about what your backups are for. Is it disaster recovery or archival? If you are going to overwrite the backup every night, then there will be no archival - everything you do today will destroy what you had yesterday when the backup starts. And when the machine dies mid-backup, you are totally screwed.

    For archival type of backup, you need at least two backup sets. Meaning that you may need n times the storage too.
  4. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 9,150   +597

    actually, both answers play together.

    SAMBA is the mechanism for the connection, and the XP box will need the Master Browser to enumerate the shares.

    on the Linux box, you need the SAME user id/password as that on the XP box
    for the user id that will perform the backup (ie: copy files )

    see this samba example
  5. onesmartidiot

    onesmartidiot TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 94

    Alot of info here... lets take some steps back :p

    (me to linux= your grandma to her first pc)

    question 1: First, how am i going to go about making the box sit in the corner with nothing hooked to it but power and ethernet?

    from what you told me, i can take ubuntu, install this samba thing on it, and once its configured to the network i can hook it up all by its lonesome in the corner?

    this is the most important step, because then I can see how it works.

    Im not concerned with the backup thing yet, I understand what youre saying about disc image software. I will probably have it make ...say... a wednesday night back up, then on saturday make another backup next to it. so then i have 2 versions of each system for the week.

    but im figureing that will be microsoft o/s software and it will just make the file on the server.

    So i will go home and enable or install samba... however that works... and then ill be back on here to see what else i have to do.

    the system itself is pretty powerful, here are the current specs (will upgrade/ replace stuff if this plan works)

    amd athlon 64 3000+
    2x 512 gb ddr 333 and 400
    200 gig crappy unreliable wd drive
    dvd burner
    gigabit ethernet (for when i buy a gig switch for the 4 computers)
  6. onesmartidiot

    onesmartidiot TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 94

    oh, i forgot to reply about the parallell network idea.

    the reason im doing this is because the cable internet comes in downstairs, goes into to a cable modem, then into my netgear wireless router.

    then the computers in my room (amd64, amd64 x2, C2D, and athlon xp) are wireless, unless i keep my main desktop wireless and let the other computers/ server mooch off of the internet (if possible)

    id have no problem buying wireless adaptors for the other machines for their essenceial internet needs, but i dont really care if they have internet right off

    basically, the core2duo box is my emailinstantmessageingwebsurfingvideoeditingblahblahblah.... box

    and the others... well, mostly for looks, but i want to have them "talk" with the server also.

    and it would be great if i could get the dell downstairs to back up to this bad boy too.

    too much hard disk failure around here.

    but thats why its as you say "a paralell network"

    if i misunderstood you let me know.
  7. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 9,150   +597

    once properly configured and a few cron scripts
    you'll have to see if theres a samba package for ubtuntu and then install/configure it
    devils advocate question: if your windows box is flat down (ie will not boot),
    what's your plan to get it up and then to perform the restore?
  8. onesmartidiot

    onesmartidiot TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 94

    i was hoping the backup software would have software inside windows to make the image, then if it fell flat on its face, it would have a DOS type reimaging tool. At school they have a NOVELL image utility that works over the network, but my sisters p.o.s emachine has DOS type recovery software to reload an image.

    for being linux illiterate,this is sounding like more than i can do :(

    Lets say... i bought a server o/s...

    are there any.... easier ones to set up?

    ex: xandros

    looks windows based, but isnt microsoft.

    and only 100 bucks...
  9. onesmartidiot

    onesmartidiot TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 94

    haha, im an *****

    they want 800 for it. some add on is 100 :p

    sorry for jumping the gun on you guys
  10. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    The Linux box is easy. Just install the OS (Ubuntu) and set up Samba. Hundreds of guides on how to do that. You have to enable and configure SSH too so you can access the box remotely later on. May need to tweak BIOS settings so it wouldn't complain about missing keyboard at bootup. You do not have to have the same usernames in Windows and Samba unless you are using XP Home.

    Everything else - scheduling backups etc etc is done on Windows. The Samba share is just a network drive you copy files to.
  11. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 9,150   +597

    You better do some more homework; I was afraid this would be your reply.

    At least you're planning for backups, but you need to understand that an unbootable
    system will not be able to access those backups on another system
    (how could it?). You need a plan that includes;
    1. getting the system to boot
    2. configuring network access to your archives
    3. how to restore the system from the specific backup of your choice
    (3) is usually easy; just run the same program that created the backup; BUT --
    if you boot something other than the original OS, is that program still available?
    (1) a good plan is to use a bootable CD with a Slipstream image of the existing system.
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