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Backup & Recovery: Inexpensive Backup Solutions for Open Systems Paperback – January 13, 2007

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Editorial Reviews

Book Description

Inexpensive Backup Solutions

About the Author

W. Curtis Preston has specialized in designing data protection systems since 1993, and has designed such systems for many environments, both large and small. His lively prose and wry, real-world approach has made him a popular author and speaker.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 768 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (January 13, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0596102461
  • ISBN-13: 978-0596102463
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1.4 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,012,231 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Richard Bejtlich on July 7, 2007
Format: Paperback
W. Curtis Preston is the king of backups, and his book Backup and Recovery (BAR) is easily the best book available on the subject. Preston makes many good decisions in this book, covering open source projects and considerations for commercial solutions. Tool discussions are accompanied by sound advice and plenty of short war stories. If the author addresses the few concerns I have in his next edition, that should be a five star book.

The best aspect of BAR is the author's obvious expertise in this subject. He does a good job sharing lots of his knowledge with the reader. Probably the most valuable conceptual framework I learned in BAR is the difference between backups and archives. Pages 696-7 summarize this nicely: "Backups are the secondary copy of primary data... Archives are the primary copy of secondary data." In this section and elsewhere, Preston describes how archives are the repository one should create when answering ediscovery requests and similar queries -- not backups. This is an extremely powerful idea and I plan to see how my employer deals with this issue.

The second best aspect of BAR involves multiple chapters on backing up various databases. One can usually find similar coverage in single books on specific databases, but having all information in one book is useful for purposes of comparison. Chapter 15 provides an overview of the entire problem by discussing terminology and features found in many databases. This chapter helps storage admins understand the database admin world. Of particular note was the coverage of Microsoft Exchange, which the book calls a specialized database.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Sean P. Hull on October 21, 2008
Format: Paperback
When I picked up this text, I kind of expected it to be a bit sparse in some areas. After all, it's an ambitious book. With individual chapters on every database from DB2, Oracle and Sybase to MySQL, Postgres and SQL Server. In addition he also covers OS backups on Solaris, Linux, AIX, HP-UX, and Mac OS X.

Preston though, succeeds, and succeeds with flying colors. What I was struck by most of all, after reading it, is his clear breadth of knowledge in the subject of backups. Each of the different databases alone do things differently, and have a lot of different concepts, and vernacular to describe it.

He starts the book with the basics, what backing up is all about, why you do it, and what to consider. What are you backing up and why? How often, and using what method? Roll-your-own solution scripting with unix utils like dd, cpio, or tar, go with an open source solution such as Amanda, Bacula, or BackupPC, or consider various commercial solutions. And lastly, don't forget testing and verifying your backups. Preston doesn't let anything through the cracks.

I have worked on Unix for years and years, but my sweet spot is working with databases. So I read the chapters on Oracle and MySQL very carefully. In both cases I learned something new. For instance during an Oracle hotbackup, did you know that changes to datafiles are *NOT* frozen. Learn how Oracle reconstructs your data using a hotbackup, by reading his careful discussion on the topic. Databases are not simple beasts, and the backup considerations are not trivial. Nonetheless, I would recommend this book as your reference for doing database backups on any of these platforms.

Lastly I like the writing style. He calls it "champagne backup on a beer budget". Good stuff. You'll find this book interesting to read, full of detail when you need it and pointed when necessary. Go pickup a copy.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jason on May 3, 2007
Format: Paperback
In the realm of important things in the world of computers are good backups and equally important is the ability to properly restore those backups. My initial attraction to this book had to do with it being tapered toward open system solutions. I am an avid user of Linux and open-source software, so I was interesting in learning about the free tools that the author writes about.

The author starts out by discussing "The Philosophy of Backup" which covers why backups are so important and how you to find a solution that both meets your needs and your budget. Chapter two goes over what to backup, how often and at what levels. It also discussed what types of disaster to be prepared for, automation, storage, testing and things to look out for on various OS's.

Chapters 3-7 cover open-source backup utilities. In chapter three the author discusses and provides examples of how to use basic utilities such as dump, cpio, tar and dd for Unix systems, ntbackup and System Restore for the Window's crowd, ditto for Mac, and the GNU versions of tar, cpio, and rsync. Chapter's 4-6 discuss Amanda, BackupPC and Bacula. Chapter seven digs into near-continuous data protection and how the open-source community is achieving this, and what tools to use.

By chapter 8 and 9 the author is discussing commercial backup solutions. This section is different from the last in that it doesn't really discuss specific tools and how to use them, but rather it discusses the features of commercial products. This section also covers the various types of backup hardware on the market in an effort to help the reader decide what media best meets their needs.

Chapters 10-14 covers "Bare-Metal Recovery".
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