Backup Policy

Revised: March 2, 2007


Server Backup policy

ACOM maintains the following servers which are backed up periodically to other filesystems. We no longer do tape backups. We keep daily, weekly, and monthly mirrors of critical filesystems, and for certain filesysems maintain off-site backups for business continuity.

Unless a server or filesystem is in the following list, you should assume that it is not being backed up, and take action and responsibility for data that you store there.

  • acd.ucar.edu, /ur, /web -- mirrored daily, weekly, and monthly to Etherdrive device. We also maintain a weekly backup at CG-2. Other file systems hosted on acd.ucar.edu are protected on RAID-5 devices, but are not backed up.
  • net.asp.ucar.edu -- /nas is mirrored daily, weekly, and monthly to Etherdrive device. There is no off-site backup for this system at this time.
  • web2.acd.ucar.edu, web and field support -- is mirrored daily, weekly, and monthly to Etherdrive device. We also maintain a weekly backup at CG-2. All directories on this machine are currently included in the mirrored backups.
  • acdnt.acd.ucar.edu, Windows 2003 server on the CIT domain -- Z: drive is on a RAID disk, backed up daily, weekly, and monthly to RAID units physically attached to acdnt. We also maintain a weekly backup to a Windows 2003 server at CG-2.
  • mail.acd.ucar.edu, The mail spool and system directories are mirrored daily, weekly, and monthly to Etherdrive device. We also maintain a daily backup at CG-2 and keep the mail spool mirrored on a hot spare (diskserver4) in the same rack.

 

ACOM Desktop Computer (Workstation) Backup Policy

The Systems Support staff of ACOM do not back up personal computers, project computers, lab computers, workstations, or desktop computers. We also do not back up project servers. Archiving and saving important files on these machines is entirely the responsibility of the end-user or group who owns the machine. Hard disk drives do frequently fail, so we encourage staff to store important documents on a RAID disk on one of the servers (listed above) or on other media which will ensure recovery when a hard disk drive fails or files are lost for other reasons.

Commercial disk repair and recovery services are available, but it is extremely unlikely they can recover a disk after a head failure which is the most common type of disk failure we have experienced. The division and the computing staff cannot be held responsible for data which is not stored on a RAID disk on one of our servers.

It might be worth noting that drives fail at the rate or 1 or 2 a month in ACOM at a fairly constant rate. Your workstation drive may fail at any time, and so it is particularly important you protect data that doesn't exist on servers which we back up.

Laptop computers are one of the most vulnerable places to store data because they can be easily stolen. Our laptop loss rate is about one laptop per year, so be especially careful to ensure data on these computers exist elsewhere and/or is backed up. Never keep sensitive personal information (credit card numbers, social security information, financial information, etc.) on laptops except in encrypted form using a technology such as TrueCrypt. Also, never keep such data on removable media except in encrypted form.

Offline media is also vulnerable to failure. CD and other optical media has a guaranteed lifespan of about 5 years. During this time, data should be backed up from these media to newer media. Careful storage and selection of name-brand media may lengthen this time. Magnetic media (including tapes, diskettes, zip disks, removable hard disks, and USB "keychain" storage devices) usually have a similar 5-year life. The Mass Store is a good resource for data which must be retained for longer periods of time because it uses a system that constantly copies its data to new media.

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