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Part of the penrose backup system at Hinds Hall.

Backup Servers
"Penrose" and "Feynman"

The James Franck Institute provides two large backup servers for archiving research data, email mailboxes, home directories from departmental and faculty servers, and user data from the desktop hard drives of staff, student and faculty desktops around the Gordon Center.

JFI Computing offers a data backup service. This is available for Linux, FreeBSD, Mac, and Windows desktops, for servers and computational clusters of anyone wanting a backup solution in the JFI.

(To begin backup service involving a terabyte or more of data, a financial contribution to the system may be required from your group to help pay costs of expanding the system.)

All of JFI's servers and most of our faculty-owned systems are currently protected by its chronological archive of past data, stored by days, weeks, months, and years, depending on the retention period being maintained for each particular system.

Both of the backup servers (named feynman and penrose) are using Rsnapshot, a Perl program which pulls in and retains the periodic backup snapshots efficiently, without taking any more space on the server than is necessary. Many of our backup archives (especially the backups for our home directory server) are setup to be retrievable by the users with no help from us, so that if a user needs to recover something, they may simply find their lost files and copy it out of the archive themselves.

While logged in on superabacus, one can find past incarnations of ones home directory on NFS-mount at /nfs/feynman.

Also, for the backups of individual Mac desktops that are being backed up, the personal backups can be accessed over AFP from the desktop of the user they belong to, by doing "connect to server" on the Mac desktop, and connecting to afp://penrose/. These backups are secure, and are not accessible to others besides their owner and the IT staff.

Recently, we began doing backups of Windows desktops. If you would like this service for your machine, it will require us to install an additional program on your computer to allow for connections from the backup server.

When looking at the backups, you will see a list of "daily", "weekly", and "monthly" snapshots. Each of these contains the complete state of the backed up content as it existed at the date of that folder. Look at each folder's date information to find the backup snapshot from the time period you are looking for.

Some types of backups, such as JFI email backups, can currently only be retrieved with IT staff assistance.

If you're interested in getting backup service for a desktop or server in your research group, contact us, and we'll setup a periodic schedule on penrose for your needs.