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January 11, 2007

Backup & Recovery: Champagne Backup Systems on a Beer Budget

Sebastopol, CA--Using a system without backups is like driving your car 100 miles per hour down a busy road the day after your insurance policy expires. Exhilarating, yes. But you know you're living dangerously. "No one should depend on a car, or a computer, without having at least the basic level of coverage," says W. Curtis Preston, an expert in data-protection systems and author of the new book, Backup & Recovery (O'Reilly, US $49.99). It's a fact that every computer user knows--in theory, at the very least--but one that often takes a back burner to other IT needs, usually for lack of funding or other resources. Preston, however, maintains that a small budget doesn't mean doing without backup.

"A good backup and recovery system is essential for a company of any size," says Preston. "Unfortunately, IT doesn't always get the budget it needs, and the backup system almost never gets the money that it needs. If you agree that you need a very good backup system, but you don't have the money to pull it off, know that this book was written with you in mind. You need champagne backup on a beer budget. Welcome to the club."

Preston's book presents affordable systems that can be implemented in small environments for a few hundred dollars--including hardware. Backup & Recovery provides practical, straightforward instructions and advice for backing up and recovering vital systems without resorting to commercial backup software. It covers everything from basic Linux, Windows, and Mac OS workstations to complicated DB2, Oracle, and Sybase databases, and a lot of things in between. Highlights include:

  • Basic backup tools, including dump, tar, cpio, ditto, dd, ntbackup, and rsync
  • Open source backup tools, including Amanda, BackupPC and Bacula
  • Achieving near continuous data protection using open source tools
  • A step-by-step approach to bare-metal recovery of Windows, Linux, Mac OS, VMware, HP-UX, AIX, and Solaris systems
  • Backup and recovery of databases for sysadmins and DBAs, including Oracle, DB2, Sybase, MySQL, PostgreSQL, SQL Server, and Exchange
  • Criteria for evaluating commercial solutions and for determining whether open source solutions can meet your needs
  • Criteria for evaluating all types of backup hardware, including tape, optical, and disk-based targets such as virtual tape libraries (VTLs)

"Perhaps you're a small shop that can't spend $10,000 just to get decent backup software. Perhaps you're already using a commercial backup software package, but you don't want to spend thousands of dollars on their agent to back up your DB2 databases, or you can't find anybody to back up your MySQL or PostgreSQL databases. This book is about giving you options--free options," says Preston.

"Almost everything I talk about in this book is either included with your operating system or application, or is available as an open source project," he continues. "You may be amazed at what you can do for free or almost free."

W. Curtis Preston has specialized in designing data-protection systems since 1993 and has designed such systems for many environments, both large and small. His lively prose and wry, real-world approach has made him a popular author and speaker.

Background and Market Information:
http://del.icio.us/oreillymedia/backup

Additional Resources:

Backup & Recovery
W. Curtis Preston
ISBN: 0-596-10246-1, 729 pages, $49.99 US, $64.99 CA
order@oreilly.com
1-800-998-9938; 1-707-827-7000

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