Linode backups
#149 Henry, Tuesday, 19 June 2012 12:44 PM (Category: Network)
(Tags: linode backup)

I was looking at the Linode backup schemes, because if there is one thing I am concerned about after the recent debacle, it's backups.

They have a backup scheme that contains four slots. The first slot is taken up with a daily backup. Every morning, the next daily backup erases the previous one. So at any given time, I have a copy that is less that 24 hours old.

The second and third slots are weekly backups. On Sunday, that's my choice, last week's backup is moved to the second last week's backup, and the daily backup copies into the last week's backup. So at any given time, I have a backup that is less than 24 hours old, another that is less than a week old, and another that is less than two weeks old.

The fourth slot is for manual snapshots. If you're about to install a tricky piece of software, but you're worried it might wreck your entire installation (I can't think of anything like this), then you do a manual snapshot into your fourth slot, and do the installation. If it screws up, restore from the manual snapshot. If not, just continue. I like the safety that this implies.

I was a little concerned at one thing. I was looking at my backups and they told me when each one was performed, and there was a link to restore from each of them. But there was a warning that there was no room to install them to. I thought I knew the answer to this, but wanted to be sure, so I asked in the Linode forums and my suspicions were confirmed. To restore, you remove your current disk image. This frees up space, and then you can restore from the backup into that vacated space. I haven't had to do this yet, but I am grateful for the opportunity.

I like this scheme so far. It gives me a great deal of safety. I also plan on keeping dated offsite backups, just in case.

One thing that did come out of the discussion about backups, was about how to effectively use linodes. You can sign up and purchase a Linode, make a manual snapshot of your existing linode, restore to the new one, and use it. When you sign up, you get pro-rated till the end of the month. You can use it for a day or two for experiments, then cancel it, and you get refunded a pro-rated amount. It ends up costing you a dollar or two for a couple of days. Linodes are automated, pro-rated, and expendable if you want them to be. This means you can do a lot of experimentation for not much money.

And if you need a website for one week, you can have your own cloned webserver for one week, then hand it back. This opens up a lot of possibilities.