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Sidebar: The Basics

While this article focuses on the dkmap script as an aid in system restoration, any discussion of disaster recovery would be remiss if it didn't discuss the basics, however briefly.

All system administrators, whether tender novice or wizened expert, should consider these issues:

  • Plan your backup so that no more than four or five volume sets are required for the complete recovery of a file system. Just reading tapes can be the most time-consuming part of any recovery process. Keep backup media well-labeled and if multiple images are saved to a single tape, keep track of that, too. Keep a certain number of full backups at a separate location in case of fire or similar catastrophe.

  • Make sure you have a current bootable tape (or CD) for each architecture you support. If the media is tape, try to keep two copies per architecture. Tapes sometimes die, and their favorite time to die is 2:00 A.M., particularly if they sense desperation in the air.

  • Assess your vulnerability. What are your single points of failure? Is there any equipment in your configuration that users absolutely require to continue their work? If so, do you have the coverage you need, either in the form of spare parts or a maintenance contract?

    If you keep these points in mind, your disaster will be a kinder, gentler one.