Re: Filesystem format for external hard disk
- From: Jeff Gipson <jeffagipson@xxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Thu, 31 May 2012 09:58:08 -0500
On Thu, May 31, 2012 at 03:01:09PM +0100, Bryn M. Reeves wrote:
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On 05/31/2012 02:35 PM, Jeff Gipson wrote:
On Thu, May 31, 2012 at 12:15:58PM +0100, Paul Smith wrote:
I have got a new external hard disk, which I would like to use as
a mirror of my home directory (for backup purpose). What format
for the external disk filesystem do you recommend? And what the
proper command to accomplish the formatting?
### End of Message from Paul Smith ###
For best advice, more information would be helpful... For example,
what's your retention policy? If you only need a single backup,
and not historical backups *and* you are using LVM, you might
consider just storing LVM snaphots on the backup drive. If you want
a more flexible solution, you might try using rsync. Tar and dump
are also still used.
That would mean you would need to add the external disk to the system
VG (in order to be able to snapshot logical volumes from the system).
Generally that's a bad idea: if you're spreading VGs over multiple
devices, especially with snapshotting, you typically want redundancy
below the VG (i.e. mirrored or RAIDed PVs). You could also use LVM
mirroring but then you're adding more complexity to the configuration.
Things can also get ugly here if the backup disk is not going to be
present at all times (for one thing if you do ever add one to your
system VG you'll probably need to update the initramfs to ensure it
contains the required modules for the external device).
That's a good point. I guess now would be a good time to mention that a
volume snapshot != backup (see below), however, I've heard of snapshots
sometimes being used to create a "still" or "point-in-time" copy of the
system, which itself is backed up, since backups can take a considerable
amount of time.
As far as your specific question, you need the name of the device,
and I recommend creating a UDEV rule so that every time you plug in
the external hard drivei, the partition you backup to gets the SAME
link in /dev. This can save you from accidentally backing up to a
thumbdrive that was also in the USB port, or maybe a different hard
You can also just set a label on it - udisks and the modern desktop
environments will then mount it under the media directory with a name
based on the label and this will propagate to other systems you may
use the device on without the need to copy rules files around the place.
Labels are okay, but I dislike them because they are abitrary. If labels
are used, then don't used a label like "backups" because it's too likely
to have a naming collision. Use a label like "red-rover red-rover" which
is less likely to have collisions.
As far as using an external drive is concerned, for my backups, I opted
not to do this, because when my house burns or gets blown away by a
tornado, or is robbed (in which case the burgler is likely to take
everything attached to the computer, too) that on-site backup isn't
going to help very much; but the question was just about formatting a
Jeffrey A. Gipson
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