Alexander Leidinger

Just another weblog

Oct
30

Local backup vs. tarsnap

A lot of peo­ple do not do back­ups at home. Unfor­tu­nately this includes me. So far I was lucky that noth­ing bad hap­pened (or that I was able to get back all via manip­u­lat­ing on-disk-data by hand). For me this is mostly because of the price and com­plex­ity (num­ber of backup media involved) for local back­ups. It also means that I only need a backup for the case of a disk-crash, not because I need to recover a file because I acci­dently deleted it (yes, I am very good at not loos­ing data at home… maybe this is also the rea­son why I have so much data).

I have about 1 TB of raw disk space at home (two times raidz1). Not all of this needs a backup (or is used at all), for exam­ple the base sys­tem files, /usr/local, the ports dis­t­files and pack­ages all do not need a backup, but my cam­era fotos (cur­rently 8 GB) should be included in a backup, my home should be included in a backup, my local stag­ing area for the con­tent of my web­server should be included in a backup, my mails (cur­rently 800 MB) should be included in the backup, local patches to FreeBSD should be included in the backup, …

So let us cal­cu­late with about 200 GB of more (mails, fotos, pri­vate videos) or less (MP3s from my own CDs) impor­tant data for a full backup. Most of it will not change often (MP3s, pri­vate videos, fotos), so once a month should be ok, and some (e.g. my mails) change daily, so an incre­men­tal each day and a full once a week would be inter­est­ing for me. When I do such a backup, I do not want to shuf­fle around tapes a lot. Maybe one or two times (s0 2 – 3 tapes) would be ok. So I am talk­ing about 80 – 200 GB per tape. The prices for this range from 700 EUR to 1300 EUR just for the tape drive. I have also seen a tape drive from Iomega for about 400 EUR (120 GB per tape), but some­how this sounds like a not so trust­worty solu­tion to me (I do not know why, it is just a feel­ing, maybe I am a lit­tle bit biased because of the high-end solu­tion at work, if some­one knows more about those Iomega dri­ves and tapes in a long term or high-useage envi­ron­ment, please write a comment).

When I take the cur­rent price of tarsnap into account, I come to about $60 per month for the stor­age, and again $60 for the ini­tial trans­fer of 200 GB. This assumes the 200 GB are not very com­press­able. With each incre­men­tal backup (changed files mat­ter, not a diff between the files), I assume about 10 GB per month of change (= $3 per month). Yes, this is most prob­a­bly too much, but I try to cal­cu­late a worst case sce­nario. So this sums up to $60 once and $63 per month. I do not take into account my too slow upstream band­with. When I assume a 1500 EUR tape drive plus tapes plus clean­ing car­tridge, we are talk­ing about some­thing like 2 – 3 years of stor­ing the backup in tarsnap (with the Iomega drive this would be just one year).

When I assume that I over­es­ti­mated every­thing with a fac­tor of 2, this means 5 – 6 years of using tarsnap vs. buy­ing an expen­sive tape drive. Now the ques­tion is, will the tape drive sur­vive this long, will I be able to use such a drive in new hard­ware  in 6 years, will tarsnap sur­vive this long, and will it stay at the same or bet­ter price level (this is also influ­enced by the price of the stor­age provider).

Another solu­tion would be to go with a mixed set­ting, e.g. an 1 TB hard-disk (less than 150 EUR  for the hard-disk (with 7 years war­ranty) and an exter­nal case) to do the long term stor­age of high-volume but long-term-stable stuff (fotos, videos, music), and use tarsnap for the low-volume fast chang­ing stuff (con­fig files, mails). This way the amount of money for the really impor­tant things is not much, I would expect less than 1 GB com­pressed (= less than an EUR per month). This also sounds like a solu­tion which allows me to be lazy (the impor­tant stuff can be auto­mated, the nice to have stuff can be done from time to time as needed).

I think I should ask Collin if he has a way to receive SWIFT (IBAN/BIC) trans­fers for tarsnap…

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Oct
19

Some com­pa­nies do not want to get money…

The rea­son for our prob­lems with the phone @Work (see related posts) is known now. The com­pany pay­ing for the phone lines changed the tax num­ber (fall­out of a require­ment to make busi­ness with banks here), informed the 2 phone com­pa­nies they are using about it, got a bill from one with the old tax num­ber and from the other one with the cor­rect tax num­ber, informed the phone com­pany which used the old num­ber again, got again a bill with the wrong tax num­ber, informed them again, … until the phone com­pany cut the line (pay­ing the bill while there is the wrong tax num­ber on it seems to cause big prob­lems later in the tax/money han­dling chain).

So there a sev­eral kinds of phone com­pa­nies here. Those which want to make busi­ness with cus­tomers (e.g. Ver­i­zon in LU), and those which do not (e.g. P&T in LU).

Let us wait and see when we get work­ing phone lines and from whom… :-)

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Oct
19

No phone @Work since a week…

Since a week we (7−10 peo­ple) can not make or receive phone calls with the phones at work. Luck­ily this is only the remote-half of the team which works for this client, the onsite peo­ple do not have this problem.

As bad as this is from the client-relations side of view, I have to say this makes it quiet and relax­ing here ATM… We get requests via EMail or our ticket-system (or a coworker pro­vides some info on the mobiles) and we can han­dle them with­out much disturbance.

Before you think bad about the com­pany I work for… we are just a sub­con­trac­tor, the phone lines are not han­dled by us (but I was told that the issue is now looked at by the big boss).

The run­ning gag of the week is mak­ing the error-noise of the phone.

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Oct
19

On the way to solve the CUPS problem

I opened a bug report for the prob­lem (have a look at the related posts below) and got the response that it is a prob­lem in pstoraster. This means it is a prob­lem in ghost­script, not in CUPS.

So I had a look at pstoraster and seen that CUPS_FONTPATH is added to GS_LIB. The­o­ret­i­cally it should solve my issue when I set CUPS_FONTPATH, but this assumes I can do it with­out CUPS dis­card­ing my settings.

Unfor­tu­nately this assump­tion is not true. I tried it and I still see the same behav­ior as before.

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Oct
17

Rea­son for the env pass­ing prob­lem in CUPS

Today I had the time to have a look at the prob­lem I have to pass the value of the GD_LIB vari­able from CUPS to ghost­script: CUPS is set­ting this vari­able on its own and thus over­rid­ing my set­ting. :-(

It seems CUPS is not check­ing if I have my own GS_LIB vari­able and adding its own path to the already set one. That is bad.

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