Data recovery emergency on a downed server... Help please!!

Wil McGilvery wmcgilvery-6d3DWWOeJtE at
Wed Dec 31 17:55:58 UTC 2003

I find DAT tapes to be a waste of time and energy. I do find DLT and Ultruim tapes to be a reliable source for backing up data. These are more expensive that dat tapes but you get what you pay for.

Backups in my opinion will never be a set it and forget it procedure. Periodic restores are necessary for peace of and the assurance that you can restore when necessary. It is also important to regularly clean your tape drives.

I have not heard of anyone successfully using cd's for backup purposes, but I do know of people using removable hard drives as an alternate to tape backups.

Good Luck.


Wil McGilvery
Lynch Digital Media Inc


416-716-3964 (cell)
416-744-0406  FAX

-----Original Message-----
From: Madison Kelly [mailto:linux-5ZoueyuiTZhBDgjK7y7TUQ at] 
Sent: Wednesday, December 31, 2003 12:49 PM
To: tlug-lxSQFCZeNF4 at
Subject: Re: [TLUG]: Data recovery emergency on a downed server... Help please!!

I have been hearing over and over again how tape drives are far less 
reliable than I once believed... I am now giving serious thought to 
alternative backup schemes but I -have- to find something that will be 
easy to maintain lest user apathy kick in and the backups stop occuring.

So far, I have helped negate the nee for a future recovery a certain 
amount by implementing a RAID1 mirror however that will do nothing to 
prevent more than a single disk failure. I have thought about DVD-/+RW 
drives but that would require more effort on the part of the users; see 
above fear. Finally, I have been thinking about getting a collection of 
laptop-size HDD and placing them into external USB2.0-powered chassis 
and writting a script to do the copy. This would allow for a simple swap 
of a chassis each day and would be a lot faster, to boot. The only fear 
there is the initial setup cost.

As for the superblock; if I was more confident in my own abilities I 
would have tried exactly that. The problem is that the last PC actually 
lost the drive indicating a hardware failure. Given the value of the 
data, I was not willing to risk any further proding by me. If the data 
is recovered and the original drive is still intact than for practice I 
will try just that.

Again, I can't express enough how much I appreciate all the help 
everyone has given me in this!!

Madison (who has finally gotten herself a good night's sleep!!)

Kevin Cozens wrote:
> At 12:23 AM 12/29/2003 -0500, Madison wrote:
>> I have had a drive failure on a server and I can no longer mount the
>> data partition on the hard drive (/dev/hda5 [ext3 under RH7.3]) because
>> the replacement server (Fedora Core 1) claims that the drive's
>> superblock is toast.
> Sorry to hear about your hard drive and tape drive problems. Hopefully 
> the recovery service will be able to help you. As was suggested earlier 
> I was wondering if using one of the other superblocks would have helped 
> you recover the files if the primary superblock was bad.
>>   Now, before anyone rips me a new one, I -DO- have a tape drive but 
>> that,
>> too, has rather depressingly failed. When I try to recover the files
>> from the IDE Travan 8GB drive it successdully recovers about 50 files
>> and then fails with this...
> I don't have anything against using tape for backups but I do have 
> something against tape drives. I have had four tape drives die on me. 
> Actually, it was three drives. The fourth drive was made up of the two 
> main pieces of two other identical drives that had previously failed in 
> different ways. None of the drives had seen heavy usage. In fact, they 
> had each been used for barely a dozen or so backups (IIRC).
> This is why I am now looking at the use of DVDs for backup. I already 
> have software that allows me to backup everything in my Windows side of 
> the machine to DVD. It backed up a bit over 6G on to two DVDs and the 
> bonus is that they are bootable so I can recover from bare metal 
> directly from the DVDs. I'm hoping to eventually be able to do something 
> similar under Linux.
> One other difference between the use of tape and CD/DVD for backup is 
> that the CD/DVD drives (AFAIK) are a lot cheaper to buy/replace should 
> something happen to the drive. There is a place I know of which can 
> repair the tape drives I have at a flat fee of $350 per drive. Only 
> problem is, I don't have confidence that a repaired drive would last any 
> longer then the new ones did.
> Cheers!
> Kevin.  (

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