Are You Prepared for a System Failure?

In addition to your normal, periodic system backup procedures, you should create a backup tape of your root volume group. Do this first before performing a cold-install or update, and again after the cold-install or update. If a problem occurs, it’s a very simple procedure to restore the system to its original state.

Using fbackup

Many administrators use the basic fbackup command to back up the entire system to tape. You do not need to unmount any imported file systems; fbackup does not cross NFS boundaries unless specified.

Using the normal tape location to do a full backup, insert a new tape and enter:

fbackup -f/dev/rmt/0m -i -v

Later, if you wish to return the system to its previous state, use the frecover command. See the fbackup(1M) man page for examples.

Other Files to Consider Backing Up

When you are backing up your system to tape or another system, you may want to consider backing up these files as well:

  • Map file for non-root volume groups.
  • Configuration files from /etc: hosts, passwd, group, profile, services, inetd.conf, rc.config.d/netconf, and fstab.
  • Customized files
  • Personal files
  • Other files and directories such as /usr, /local, and /opt.

Ignite-UX recovery commands

A better alternative to using fbackup/frecover is to use the recovery commands available with Ignite-UX. These offer more flexibility than fbackup/frecover, including the ability to recover non-bootable systems.

Using make_tape_recovery

The Ignite-UX server’s make_tape_recovery command creates a bootable recovery tape for an LVM or whole disk file system while it is up and running. When a system has a logical volume layout, the recovery tape will only include data from the root volume group, plus data from any non-root volume group containing the /usr directory.

To create the bootable recovery tape, enter:

/opt/ignite/bin/make_tape_recovery -Av

where: “v” is for verbose mode and “A” specifies the entire root disk or volume group. Also, more than one volume group can be specified with the “-x “option.

If a tape drive other than the default (/dev/rmt/0m ) will be used, modify the command to point to the device you want to use, for example a tape drive at /dev/rmt/3mn:

/opt/ignite/bin/make_tape_recovery -Av -a /dev/rmt/3mn

To recover a failed system disk or volume group after a recovery tape has been made, simply load the recovery tape, boot the system, interrupting the boot sequence to redirect to the tape drive. Allow the install process to complete. Do not intervene. The system will reboot and, because map files for all associated volume groups have been saved on the tape, any other existing volume groups are imported and mounted automatically. Data which is not in the root volume group must be backed up and recovered using normal backup utilities.

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