[Box Backup] Overall goal for BoxBackup

Ben Summers boxbackup@fluffy.co.uk
Wed, 22 Dec 2004 13:01:20 +0000

On 22 Dec 2004, at 04:42, 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?

This is exactly the problem. Box Backup is not just for one platform, 
it is portable. It is not realistic to make a complete system recovery 
system for all these platforms. Effort will be diluted, and it won't be 
terribly good. Certainly not as good as the systems which are already 
out there.

If you want to do full system recovery with Box Backup, then the most 
effective way would be to

* Find the "best" system recovery tool for your platform

* Lobby the developers to integrate Box Backup recovery of system data 
into their system

Of course, I will make life as easy as possible for anyone attempting 
such an integration. But I don't have the time to do it myself, nor do 
I want to reinvent the wheel by doing stuff which is already out there 
and working great.

> 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.

Yes! Backups are for data and configuration. On the other hand, you can 
use Box Backup for all files on the computer.

> I realise that is only part of the idea.  it would be nice to have 
> restoration of a system and restoration of data in one nice package, 
> but is that what we really want?  What would have been the causes of 
> the machine going down in the first place?  How far back do I want to 
> go to restore that system?  How do I know the machine hasn't been 
> comprimised?
> I don't think we should ever give up on new ideas about better ways of 
> doing things, but in the interest of best practices, I would always 
> rather have a tool that does what it sets out to do very very well and 
> completely, than have something that only is able to do part of a 
> thing.  (i.e.  I may be able to restore a Unix machine with boxbackup 
> but its probably not happening with windows or mac)  And, so I would 
> only want boxbackup to do what it aims to do well: backup and restore 
> files.

That is the UNIX philosophy. Do one thing only, and do it well.

> And now to dilute my point :-), you have given me a couple of good 
> ideas.  I would definitely consider using boxbackup as part of a 
> system recovery strategy.  I prefer OpenBSD as a server platform, and 
> it would be handy to have a stock repository for a base installation 
> or even a tweeked one of the most current with all the updates.  I 
> would still be using it as a tool to install a system rather than to 
> restore it, but in the line of system restoration, it might be an 
> effective tack.
> An account could be created for each platform+system  (i386_web,  
> hppa_firewall, etc etc).  then your installers all look the same.  A 
> modified openbsd install script with the boxbackup utilities included 
> and the necessary libraries to make it work.  this would make for  a 
> bigger image, but for net installs media is no limitation.  then it 
> would be feasable to automate system installs with boxbackup.

With OpenBSD, surely it would be easier to to make a tar file 
containing the entire system, and then write a new installer CD which 
uses it instead of basexx.tgz etc?