Category Archives: Storage

BackupPC Setup Manual

July 2007 This how-to article is based on my experience setting up and maintaining a regular Ubuntu 7.04 install running as the backup server at UCSD. The clients varied in their OS’s; Mac OS X, Windows XP, Linux (Debian and Ubuntu). Except for the install commands (eg apt-get install), this instruction should work with other Linux distros.

Client Set Up

Please click the OS that you use to see the specific instructions.

If you have Cygwin installed or are planning on getting it in the future, please use the link for Win XP with Cygwin. If you do not know what Cygwin is, most likely you don’t have it. However, if you would like to find out, click here to find out.

Server Set Up

This manual is written for the administrator who will be setting up the backup server. You must have a root privilege. The server computer will be the computer that will do the backup and keep the backed up data.



Using Unison with BackupPC to backup laptops

These instructions are provided in the hope that they’ll be useful to others. If you find them useful, please drop me a note: stephen [at] Similarly, if you implement this setup on platforms other than Windows and wish to contribute your code (either under GPL, or transferring copyright to me) please do so.

The Problem

One common problem plaguing IT professionals is how to backup data on laptops and other mobile devices. There is considerable value in mobile data, but many users seldom, if ever, bring their laptops back to the corporate or academic campus where it may be regularly backed up.

BackupPC is an excellent open-source product for backing up computers. It excels at backing up desktops and servers, but laptops (as moving targets) are especially difficult. By default, BackupPC can be configured to wake up periodically, say hourly, and look for laptops that have appeared on the network. This is not without issues (some of which can be worked around), but these are compounded when laptops do not have static IP addresses.

A better solution is to allow users to backup valuable data on the laptops on-demand. This page details my solution to do this.


BackupPC Install Guide for Windows XP/Vista Clients

Author: Cody Dunne
Last Edited: 12/06/2008

Most of this guide is not original work, and is based substantially on the numerous sources available online for these tools. It does, however, combine many of the disparate sources for this information, add some of my own experience and insights, and provides an excellent backup scheme for Windows XP/Vista clients. Hopefully it will help other users in this process and prevent them from spending as much time getting it working as I did.


BackupPC How-to on CentOS

Last modified on:
12-15-2008 – Created.

By: MaxHetrick

This guide will assist you in setting up BackupPC using the CentOS RPMs in the CentOS testing repository. It will not go into detailed explanations of all the possible BackupPC configurations. It will also assume that you’re setting up BackupPC to do backups across rsync. BackupPC is capable of archive, tar, smb, and rsyncd backups, but this guide will concentrate only rsync to other Linux hosts. BackupPC is heavily documented when it comes to configuration options, and the guide is present in the web interface. Also, BackupPC should reside on it’s own server, because Apache must be run as the BackupPC user created on the system which could affect regular webserver things.

Read mor on

Partitioning RAID / LVM on RAID

RAID devices can be partitioned, like ordinary disks can. This can be a real benefit on systems where one wants to run, for example, two disks in a RAID-1, but divide the system onto multiple different filesystems:


How To Configure Software RAID To Send An Email When Something’s Wrong With RAID

Version 1.0
Author: Falko Timme <ft [at] falkotimme [dot] com>
Last edited 12/12/2008

This short guide explains how you can configure software RAID to send you an email when something’s wrong with RAID, for example if a hard drive fails. I’ve tested this on Debian Etch, but it should apply to all other distributions with minor adjustments to paths, etc.


Reducing Disk IO By Mounting Partitions With noatime

Linux has a special mount option for file systems called noatime. If this option is set for a file system in /etc/fstab, then reading accesses will no longer cause the atime information (last access time – don’t mix this up with the last modified time – if a file is changed, the modification date will still be set) that is associated with a file to be updated (in reverse this means that if noatime is not set, each read access will also result in a write operation). Therefore, using noatime can lead to significant performance gains.


How To Resize RAID Partitions (Shrink & Grow) (Software RAID)

This article describes how you can shrink and grow existing software RAID partitions. I have tested this with non-LVM RAID1 partitions that use ext3 as the file system. I will describe this procedure for an intact RAID array and also a degraded RAID array.

If you use LVM on your RAID partitions, the procedure will be different, so do not use this tutorial in this case!


Installing and Configuring Openfiler with DRBD and Heartbeat


Openfiler is a high performance operating system tailored for use as a SAN/NAS appliance. This configuration will enable two Openfiler appliances to work in an Active/Passive high availability scenario.



  • 2 x boxes that meet the minimum spec of Openfiler’s hardware specifications.
  • 2 x ethernet interfaces in each box
  • Openfiler 2.3 installation media.
  • Both boxes should have the same size drives in each to avoid any replication inconsistencies.


Install Openfiler 2.3 on both boxes utilizing a disk setup such as the following:

  • 3 GB root (“/”) partition
  • 2 GB “swap” partition
  • 512 MB “/meta” partition (used for DRBD0)
  • Data partition configured as an unmounted LVM (used for DRBD1)



Each Openfiler appliance will have two NICs: one for communicating with the LAN, the other for communicating with the
other SAN (via direct cable). The first will be used for administration, to communicate directly with each node.

A third “virtual” interface is used by the heartbeat service and is what will be used by computers on the LAN.


Logical Volume Manager: How can I extend a Volume Group?

It is a good choice to use LVM on Linux. It provides flexible storage management than any other traditional physical partitoning. With LVM, you can easily create, delete, resize storage volumes. First of all, if you want to know what LVM is, there are many documents on the Internet (e.g. In this example we will learn how to extend a Volume Group size.