You probably know what we’re going to say. We do not trust automation. So when you back up:
A. Get something that you understand
B. Make sure it is simple enough for anyone to use
C. Use it (and that includes checking that it was done)
That’s about all there is to backing up.
Warning: A mirrored drive (or raid array) is not a backup. Don’t let a salesman fool you.
For Wintix 5 (and our upcoming version 6): It’s a little more complicated and there are lots more choices.
- Simplest, fastest and cheapest: do a “dump” and back up the dump file to a CD. CDs are about 25¢ each these days and they hold about 700 MB. The dump file is pure text. That means that you can use any text editor to examine your tables for corruption.
- Set up a second MySQL server on your laptop. Then, use Navicat to copy the tables. This is probably the one you want for your “grab and run” plan. In this case, you would have a database server set up for immediate use. All you would need to do is plug the other computers in and you are back in business.
- Use a tape backup. I’m not fond of these for two reasons: 1. Because it’s automated, no one verifies that the backup is done. 2: When the day of reckoning comes, no one can figure out how to restore files.
- Use a load balancer and a replication server. That way, you have a second computer ready to step in if the first one fails. And, while the second computer is waiting, it also serves up read-only data. This takes a lot of the load off the first computer. Yahoo works this way.
- Use a cluster setup. Basically, this is a second network in a different part of the country that automatically switches over. This is the system when you want 99.999% reliability. The phone companies use it. NASA uses it. Aircraft carriers use it for flight operations.
- Use an external hard drive. They are relatively inexpensive and can store several terabytes of data.