At work we use Amanda for backups, and it's pretty good -- but for various reasons we don't use the amanda server/client on every single machine. For these exceptions, we point amanda at the host it's running on, where we have copies of the important stuff kept by rsync. This usually works pretty well, and it also fits in well with our other backup mechanism: the copy of yesterday. This is a copy of home directoiries and some other things, updated with rsync every morning at 3am. This gives people an easy way to get something they had yesterday, which means less trips to the backup tapes.
We also do a couple sets of backups with Amanda: daily, where we let Amanda juggle full vs. incremental in the usual way, and weekly/monthly, where we tell Amanda to just do full backups. For those, we just point Amanda at the copy of yesterday, rather than grab full backups over the network.
I've run into problems over the last few weeks, though, where weekly backups have failed for a few home directories -- the fullest ones, natch. It's taken me a while to figure out what's going on, but I think I've got a handle on it finally.
Full weekly/monthly backups take a while to do -- typically two full days, because of non-automated tape changers. While this happens, I let regular backups pile up on the holding disk (close to half a terabyte available), then flush them when the weeklies are done. Here's the error that amstatus shows:
wait for dumping driver: (aborted:nak error: amandad busy)
Thanks to this post (Nabble? Never heard of 'em...) I finally clued in to the obvious: Amanda sometimes asks the local host for backups twice -- once as part of a daily backup, and once as part of a weekly backup. If this is right (why haven't I come across this more often?) it's going to cause pain. We don't have a tape changer, so backups just plain take a long time; there's no one here at 3am to switch a tape. I'm uncomfortable with the idea of turning off regular backups for two days a week. I really don't want to have to come in on weekends to switch tapes. Hm.
Maybe I'll look at just letting weeklies dump to disk over the weekend, then flush 'em during the week. That might work pretty well, actually.
In other news, got a bunch of HP workstations in from CDW, and I'm quite happy with them. At last count, the company has 879 people starting in January (no, not really) and the idea of setting up that many Shuttles (my usual workstation of choice), manually installing XP (no, no automated install yet) just filled me w/dread. The HPs are nice, very well put together (they're built like fucking tanks and weigh just as much), and they come with XP Pro installed. But hey, manager wanted 160GB drives and these came with 80GB drives. What to do?
Turns out you can take out the old, put in the new (bigger) drive, and just use the restore disk. Boo hiss restore disks with no full copy of the OS, but damn it's nice: very few questions, and when you're done you're ready to go. And by "ready to go" I mean of course "ready to turn off all the crap, turn on other crap and install even more crap". I've either got to swallow my pride and get an AD controller in here (Noooooooo!) or else figure out some other way of automating all this.