[Box Backup] Overall goal for BoxBackup

Per Thomsen boxbackup@fluffy.co.uk
Tue, 21 Dec 2004 23:35:23 -0800

On 12/21/04 8:42 PM, Justin H Haynes wrote:

> My opinion is that the platforms to which boxbackup is being ported 
> represent way too many requirements for restoration.  Backing up a 
> complete system on mac/windows/everyUNIX, may be easy to support, but 
> what would restoration look like?
> Concerning system backups: My personal preference is to automate 
> installations rather than restore because of greater flexibility in 
> taking that one process to many machines/platforms.  Also you can 
> figure for updates in that process.  I bring this up to say, that I 
> would rather reinstall than restore.

I agree with this approach. On Linux for example, build a nice kickstart 
disc, and after installing that, run yum/apt-get to get the latest 
versions of everything, to get a new system up and running. I believe 
there is something similar for Windows (ghosting?)... There are 
utilities for doing this on Mac OS X, too.

Then, when the system is running, get my data back, by restoring the Box 
backups, and (if necessary) run virus scans on all data files.

This brings up another issue with a full system restore. If the full 
system backups were used to restore a compromised machine (virus or 
otherwise), how do you know what to restore? When was the machine 
compromised? With a kickstart-CD, you don't have that problem. You are 
clearly not as up-to-date as you could be, but at least you're sure that 
your machine isn't re-infected from the get-go. And you can get 
up-to-date by applying updates from trusted sources on the net. Using 
something like kickstart CDs isn't a panacea, but getting Box backup to 
do full system backups has problem areas of its own.

The issue I see (and I freely admit that I haven't looked into this 
much) is that restoring a full system will require some kind of 
bootstrapping system, since you bought/reformatted (in the case of a 
compromised system) a disk for your system, if you need to restore the 
entire computer. I worry that turning Box backup into a single tool that 
can do all these things will be (1) too hard to use and (2) too hard to 
maintain. I believe in tools that are focused, and very good at what 
they do.

To me, this seems like a lot of things to wrap around Box backup, to get 
full restores working. Especially if you're going to maintain or expand 
the number of supported platforms. Getting some kind of 'Live CD' thing 
working in concert with Box is no small task.

I'm certainly very interested in a tool that can back up full systems on 
multiple platforms, as well as the data from these systems. However, the 
requirements for these two things (full system and data) are quite 
different, so to include the full system stuff in Box Backup will mean a 
lot more complexity in the system. Not that that's bad, but it's a fact 
that it will take more resources to maintain.

Anyway, I'm rambling so I'll stop.


Per Reedtz Thomsen | Reedtz Consulting, LLC | F: 209 883 4119
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