Backup Policy

How do I request a restore?

What is backed up?
  • Linux/Unix. /home is backed up by default. Additional directories can be added by request or when detected. These typically include /ux0, /ux1, … Of special note, /scratch is not backed up.
  • Windows. By default the entire boot drive, usually C:, is backed up. We also utilize St Bernard Software’s Open Transaction Manager (OTM) software to ensure that open files are backed up, including registry entries. In certain cases, such as “Temporary Internet Files,” Internet Explorer, Firefox, or other browser caches, etc, the directory is backed up, but none of the contents. Additional drives can be backed up either by request or when they are detected.
  • Mac. By default the entire root volume is backed up. Certain directories, /cores, /tmp, etc do not have their contents backed up. Additional volumes can be added by request or when detected.
  • AFS is backed up by volume and is based on the previous day’s snapshot that is kept in OldFiles.
What is NOT backed up
As mentioned under the specific operating systems, temporary directories and cache directories do not have their contents backed up. 

Additionally, TiBS will not cross a mounted file system on Unix/Linux or Mac based systems. For example, if you have /home/data and /data is a mounted file system, it will not be included as part of the /home backup set, but must be defined separately. This also means that you can safely mount USB drive and it will not be backed up.

How long is data kept
Backups are performed in “levels.” ECE runs a four (4) level backup. The levels are: 

  • FULL – this is the lowest level backup and is a “snapshot” of the disk or partition being backed up. FULL level backups are archived and kept indefinitely.
  • MONTH – this is one level up from a FULL and is a “cumulative backup”. “Cumulative backup” means it contains all changes from the previous FULL backup. MONTH backups are also archived and kept indefinitely (more on that shortly).
  • WEEK – the next level is the WEEK backup. WEEK backups are “partial cumulative” which means they contain changes relative to previous backup at the same or lower level. WEEK backups are kept for approximately 90 days.
  • INCR – is our highest level backup. Like the WEEK, it is also a partial cumulative. INCR backups are kept for approximately 30 days.

We permanently archive both FULL and MONTH level backups for an extra level of data security. For example, if for some reason a FULL restore can not be completed because of a problem with the physical tape, we can typically attain the same results by using the previous FULL level backup along with the last MONTH prior to the failed tape.

While FULL and MONTH tapes are stored indefinitely, that does not guarantee our ability to complete a restore. As tape media ages, it can degrade; and so we may no longer be able to access the data. Also, we update our technology as tape capacity and capabilities increase. As a result, it is possible that the hardware required to access a specific tape may no longer be available to us because of some type of failure.

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