OS2 World Community Forum

OS/2, eCS & ArcaOS - Technical => Applications => Topic started by: Sean Casey on February 15, 2019, 06:20:50 pm

Title: BackAgain/2000 Unreliable
Post by: Sean Casey on February 15, 2019, 06:20:50 pm
I recently returned to using OS/2 after moving to Linux 25-years ago.  I had been searching for a file-level backup solution and had purchased Sytos Plus 1.3, Sytos Premium 2.1, and Backmaster 2 from eBay to evaluate.  None of these provided a generic SCSI driver and none would backup to a JFS disk partition or SMB share without aborting.  I also evaluated NovaDisk+ 6.01, but this couldn’t restore HPFS extended attributes.  NovaBack+ 6.01 appeared to work on my Warp Server 4.52 installation, but the software would not recognize any SCSI tape devices on my ArcaOS systems.  I thought I had found a viable solution using BackAgain/2000.

Wanting to expand the size of the boot partition on my Warp Server 4.52, I stood up a second OS/2 boot partition with some free space between the partitions.  I booted to this second partition and made both a BA/2K tape backup and disk backup of my original boot partition.  Both backups were verified and only a few inconsequential files were excluded from the backups due to file locks.   I deleted and recreated an expanded boot partition, and restored the BA/2K backup from tape.  When rebooting Warp Server, I was presented with missing config.sys device driver errors and also observed missing files preventing Lan Manager from starting once booted.  I again attempted the restoration from the BA/2K disk backup with similar results.

There’s nothing worse than an unreliable backup solution.  I will be removing BA/2K from all of my systems this weekend and will continue looking for a viable tape backup solution.
Title: Re: BackAgain/2000 Unreliable
Post by: Doug Bissett on February 15, 2019, 06:53:21 pm
I will be removing BA/2K from all of my systems this weekend and will continue looking for a viable tape backup solution.

I abandoned BA/2K about 15 years ago. I also would never even consider using tape as a back up media. It is just way to unreliable.

Today, I use ZIP to ZIP up each drive to a USB stick (or USB HDD), or two. You do need the ZIP that is supplied by RPM/YUM (use Arca Noae package Manager to manage the RPM stuff, it is available, for free at https://www.arcanoae.com/resources/downloadables/arca-noae-package-manager/ (https://www.arcanoae.com/resources/downloadables/arca-noae-package-manager/) - be sure to READ all of it), so that it can handle files (in and out) that are larger than 2 GB. To back up my drives (even the drive that I am booted from), I use the commands:
Code: [Select]
zip.exe -9yrS CDRIVE.ZIP C:\* -x@exclude.list 2>&1 | tee.exe CZIP.LOG
in a batch file. The file exclude.list contains file names, that do not need to be backed up (SWAPPER.DAT, for instance, is recreated at each boot, so it doesn't need to be backed up). I will leave it up to you to decide what else doesn't need to be backed up.

To restore a ZIP file, I use the Arca Noae Archive tool, where you can select the files that you want, or the whole thing. To do the whole thing, select the target drive, format it, and unzip everything to the root, making sure to select the full paths option. The AN Archive tool is not available to those who do not have ArcaOS, but you can buy ZIPPY which is the program that the AN Archive tool is based on. It, and a more official PM BACKUP, is available at: https://www.arcanoae.com/product-category/file-disk-utilities/ (https://www.arcanoae.com/product-category/file-disk-utilities/).
Title: Re: BackAgain/2000 Unreliable
Post by: Sean Casey on February 15, 2019, 09:34:29 pm
Hi Doug,

A zip container sounds like a great solution for me, especially since it can break the 2GB barrier.   This will provide me access to files while still allowing me to easily push the backups to another machine for offline archive.

It’s fantastic Arca Noae is providing their package management system to non-ArcaOS systems.  This will save me the pain of having to perform a couple package installations using Alien. 

Thank you for your response,

Title: Re: BackAgain/2000 Unreliable
Post by: Doug Clark on February 26, 2019, 07:44:10 pm

I purchased an upgrade from Backagain/Pro to BackAgain/2K years ago and found the 2K version to be unreliable so I switched back to the /Pro version. I notice the same issues you did: milssing files. I have found BackAgain/Pro to be pretty reliable.

I have a SCSI DAT tape drive (in the basement) that holds 4 tapes and will switch between tapes, but I have lost the little metal cartrigde/holder the tapes went into. And my single tape drive no longer works, so I abandoned tape some years back. Plus the DAT tapes were limited to about 2GB in size.

I have used Backagain/Pro to backup to hard drives. It does a very nice job of that, but you have the 2 GB max size limitation - which is a pain to work around.

As for tape being unreliable - it is still used on mainframes for backups and it appears that IBM still sells tape drives for mainframe backups. As for how long the tapes will store data without loss, who know? The library of congress is starting to express concern about the longevity of CD-ROM disks even in controlled storage. I know from experience that music CDs stored in a car in a covered case will not last very long. And at one time IBM's specs for their SCSI hard drive specified a maximum life of 10 years regardless of how much the drive was used. It had something to do with how long the media would retain the data - not how long the rotating and other moving parts would last. So anything you backup to will have its limitations.

I currently backup to spinning hard drives located on a separate machine. I have learned the hard way that you need at least 2 backed up copies - on separate devices - of anything you really want to be able to recover - even on hard drives. I use either ZIP or xcopy - but I wish OS/2 had a backup utility like TimeMachine on the MAC. What I have started wondering is if SSD drives will store data longer than spinning drives. I know that SSDs have limitations for the number of times you can write to the drive, but I don't know what the life expectancy is of data stored and left on an SSD.

Title: Re: BackAgain/2000 Unreliable
Post by: Dave Yeo on February 26, 2019, 08:04:36 pm
SSD's need to be powered up regularly to stop the voltage leaking out of them. According to this site, https://www.ontrack.com/blog/2016/05/19/hdds-vs-ssds/ (https://www.ontrack.com/blog/2016/05/19/hdds-vs-ssds/) you might get 10 years in ideal conditions vs 30 years for a HDD.
Title: Re: BackAgain/2000 Unreliable
Post by: Sean Casey on February 26, 2019, 09:39:42 pm
Hi Doug C.

You could say I’m neurotic when it comes to backups and I also like to maintain a history of backups that don’t rely on a single device/technology.   

I implemented Doug Bissett’s suggested solution using the ZIP archive with support for EAs.   I backed up my Warp Server’s boot partition, and on a mirrored system, formatted the partition (leaving AirBoot intact) and restored from the ZIP file.   This worked beautifully as I was able to boot Warp Server with no issues.   I now have ZIP backups kicking off at 1 A.M. on two systems via OS/2 cron jobs, with the ZIP files getting pushed to a Linux Samba share where they move onto LTO tape in a daily differential backup.  I can now rest easy knowing I have a viable recovery solution in place.

I would still like to utilize the tape drives I have dedicated to my OS/2 machines as a redundancy, and will keep hunting (now without urgency) for a reliable OS/2 tape software solution that supports generic SCSI. Unfortunately, OS/2 is a hobby with limitations and few options.