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Backup Basics Part 3: General Tips for a Backup Strategy

Article Description

Knowing how to configure backup applications and select backup media is half the battle of designing a successful backup strategy. The other half is choosing how and when to back up the specific pieces of data that are stored on your servers, share points, and workstations. In this final article of his series on backup basics for new technicians and administrators, Ryan Faas offers some suggestions to help you make these important decisions.

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Backing Up Open Directory and Everything Else on a Server

The easiest way to make a backup of Open Directory is to rely on an enterprise-level backup tool designed for Mac OS X Server.

You can use these backup tools to back up your entire server, including the Open Directory components. However, if a dedicated Open Directory server is in constant use, it might be difficult to schedule a backup time that will not affect users. Backup tools can usually back up Open Directory while the server is in use, but there will still be a performance hit to the server during the backup operation. Testing the impact before rolling out the backup strategy is a good idea.

Another similar option is to clone the volumes (hard drives, partitions, and RAID arrays) that store the Open Directory databases and files. This is typically the server’s startup drive, although it is possible to customize a server configuration to store these files elsewhere. You can use tools such as the Apple Disk Utility, Carbon Copy Cloner, or SuperDuper to make clones to another volume that can act as complete copies of the original volume or to clone the volume to a disk image that can be saved for later use or restore. Again, you have the problem of choosing a time to perform a clone operation (it’s even more problematic than with a backup solution because the server will need to be taken offline and booted from an alternate startup volume).

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