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Sunday, November 12, 2006

Fourmilab: New Backup Configuration in Production

Dell PowerVault 124T LTO3 tape changer at Fourmilab The transition to the new in-house server at Fourmilab is now complete with its assuming complete responsibility for backups of all on-site machines. Backups are made to LTO Ultrium 3 tapes with a Dell PowerVault 124T tape changer with one LTO-3 drive and support for two magazines of 8 tapes each, for a total on-line capacity of 6 Tb uncompressed, reserving one slot for a cleaning cartridge; that's what, in marketing, we call “the feature”. The benefit is that I can go out of town for an extended period without shutting down the regular backup cycle since there's more than enough capacity in the tape changer to handle an absence longer than I'm comfortable leaving the site unattended. The tape changer includes a bar code reader, which permits automatic labelling and recognition of tapes regardless of which physical slot they occupy.

For years, Fourmilab backups have been entrusted to Bacula, the open source enterprise-class network backup solution. With the migration to the tape changer on the new server, the server and all clients have been updated to the current 1.38.11 release of Bacula, using the distribution-supplied release 5.0.22 of MySQL on the server. Bacula fully supports automatic tape changers using the MTX utility, and can handle configurations far more ambitious than this (multiple drives, some reserved for restores, hundreds of slots, etc.).

Installation of the hardware and deployment of the new version of Bacula across all of the Fourmilab hosts went without the slightest hitch. You need to read the Bacula manual carefully to get everything right, but if you do, you can be quite confident it will behave as documented.

Posted at November 12, 2006 22:29