PHILOSOPHY

CSG's standard model for reliable data storage is straightforward:

  • The data on all desktop and laptop computers and cloud VMs is considered expendable. Hence these machines should not contain the only copy of any vital data, but only transient working copies; if the machine is lost, stolen, or fails, then it should be possible for the owner to restore the data previously stored on it, or reconstruct it programmatically from some other reliable source.

  • All data considered vital should be kept (or mirrored) on central CSG network filestores that are backed up - home directories and shared volumes.

CSG maintains regular backups of network volumes, both daily to on-line (disk-based) storage, and weekly to off-line (tape) storage.

WHAT WE DO BACK UP

The only filesystems we back up are the following:

  • Your network home-directory -- i.e. H:\ on CSG Windows machines,/homes/$USERNAME on CSG Linux machines.

  • All other network file-stores, i.e. shared volumes of the form /vol/NAME on Linux, e.g. /vol/dse/vol/lesc and /vol/www. A few /vol areas have been designated as expendable, or have other backup arrangements (e.g./vol/hci2 and /vol/vipdata are stored on a pair of equal sized RAID arrays, and each is backed up to spare space on the other). You can check whether we currently do backups for your favourite shared volume via the link at the bottom of this page.

THINGS WHICH ARE NOT BACKED-UP

  • Laptop hard-drives.
  • Desktop hard-drives, even when they're running a standard CSG installation. (This includes /data on CSG Linux machines.)
  • Server hard-drives, even when they're running a standard CSG installation.
  • Network file-stores which have been designated as expendable, e.g. /vol/bitbucket.
  • Cloud VMs, VMWare VMs and server OS disks

Please read the following new document to avoid losing your vital data: Guide to Ensuring your Vital Data is backed up

ON-LINE BACKUPS

On-line backups are taken nightly to two servers.  These backups are available as two read-only filesystems (/vol/recover and /vol/recover2), allowing you to restore from backup without needing CSG's assistance.  Currently /vol/recover backs up shared volumes, and /vol/recover2 backs up home directories.

See also: Instructions for retrieving files from backups

OFF-LINE BACKUPS

CSG run a weekly tape backup of all home directories and other shared network storage as agreed with their owners. If you require data to be restored from tape, please contact CSG with information on the files you would like to have restored and an approximate date you would like to recover from. CSG routinely keeps tapes for 6 months. Please also bear in mind that restoring from tape requires manual intervention, and so may take a day or so to perform.

CHECKING WHEN YOUR DATA WAS LAST BACKED UP

We can now offer you the ability to see when each networked volume (home directory or shared volume) was last successfully backed up, on:

  • both copies of the nightly on-line backups, /vol/recover1 and /vol/recover2.
  • weekly off-line (tape) backups

Click this secure link to see your last backup information