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Mar 11

Backing Up Your System Data

When running a computer repair business it is important to back up your data. You may have critical information relative to your customers. This information may be names and addresses saved for marketing tactics or credit card numbers for customers that are on a billing plan. The information may also just be saved for future reference in case the customer returns for further assistance.
Getting new customers everyday would mean that the data needing to be saved changes everyday, if you were to lose your data you may not be able to contact a customer once their computer is done. This would lead to the customer having to call themselves to see if the machine is fixed. There’s a good chance this client may not return because of this.
A full back up should be done quarterly on whenever business is slowest, with incremental backups done every night at the end of each business day. A full back up quarterly would save a lot of time by not having to reinstall not only personal files that may be on the machine (music, graphics, etc.) but also any operating systems, programs, drivers, utilities and system files too. Incremental backups every night would not only assure that you don’t lose important customer records, but would also grab other useful data also. A full back up could also save you from losing your operating system as well as any updates or patches previously installed.
The only type of network backup I could think of that would be needed in a computer repair business is backing up data to a location outside of the business. For example to a backup server at home or even one hosted by a pay-for company. The advantage of this is if your business was to ever set fire, flood or fall victim to theft, your data would be safe.
If you’re paying a company to hold your data, an upside could be that you don’t have to physically store it anywhere. Other advantages include the chance that the user does not have to change tapes, label CD’s and other manual labor. Companies may also keep a list of versions of your files if you’re paying for your data to be stored.
On the other hand, disadvantages include having to pay the company to store your data (usually a monthly or yearly fee), slower transfer rates, data must be recovered via internet or post office shipment, service providers don’t always guarantee data privacy and, there may be backup limits as well. There are a few disadvantages I’m not going to get into.
Another option you could go about using is an Optical Jukebox. It can load and unload discs such as DVD, Blu-ray, compact and Ultra Density Optical. Information can be saved for up to 100 years and be accessed at high transfer rates. Although Optical Jukeboxes can hold very large capacities of data, using this type of storage used to be more price efficient than it is now due to hard drive storage becoming so cheap.
In larger companies, the amount of users needing access data stored by a Jukebox could become an issue, but due to the nature of a computer repair business, this should not be much of an issue in most cases. Although it could if you’re a company as big as Staples (EasyTech) or Best Buy (Geek Squad), it may take a lot longer to access data depending on the amount of users attempting to gain admission to it. Even with all that said though, optical drives are usually the best option for large quantities of audio, image and video files. Although hard disks have gotten cheap, 100GB of optical disc storage is cheaper in most cases then 100GB of hard drive space.
Now after you explaining a bit better about what you exactly wanted in this paper, and not just going by what was on the Lab…10 sheet was it? I’ve come to realize a little more on point of what you’re looking for. In a computer business with say, 3 locations in the Monmouth County area, I would do a full backup anytime there were any major system updates, or every quarter of a year. As far as incremental updates go, I would probably do incremental updates at the end of each day using something simple like a CD burner. Whoever was to close the shop for the day would be responsible for the update.
Now if I wanted something a little more automated, I would probably just go with an external hard drive at a central location and have all data backed up to there. Maybe even keep it at my home where it’s safe. If anything were to happen to the data, chances are it would still be at the location assuming all 4 (including my home) locations weren’t flooded robbed or set fire.
If data at one location were to go missing, it wouldn’t be that big of a deal because it wouldn’t stop me from running my business. This allows me a lot of free play as far as what option I’d like to choose to backup. I can pretty much just figure out the bare minimum cost of backing up and go with that method. Mohammad said the average life expectancy of a hard drive is five years. With this said I would maybe compare the amount of CD’s I would use per 5 years versus the external hard drive that I would have to replace every 5 years. Obviously as technology advances, the cheaper method may change.
I would use the dump and restore command, not a GUI. To backup a file or directory I would use dump -0uf databackup /home/mat/data. 0 would be a full backup and can obviously be changed, databackup is a backup file and /home/mat/data is the directory for which a backup is created.

To restore: restore -if databack.
The “i” is for interactive mode, “f” is to restore from the specific backup file and databack is a name of backup file/dump file.

Cron file example for backing up daily 11:10pm and on the 5th of every month at 12:05am:
Shell=/bin/bash
Path=/sbine:/bin:/usr/sbin:/usr/bin
MAILTO=root
# HERE IT WOULD RUN DAILY 10 MINUTES AFTER 11PM WHEN SHOPS ARE CLOSED
10 23 * * * $HOM/bin/daily.job >> $HOME/tmp/out 2>&1
# HERE IT WOULD RUN FIVE MINUTES AFTER MIDNIGHT AT THE 5TH OF EVERY MONTH.
5 0 5 * * $HOME/bin/monthly

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