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Linux Archiving Backups & Restores


We provide nightly network backups for supported hosts running Facilities-supported Linux operating systems, including:

  • Fedora 10,14
  • Solaris 10
  • Ubuntu Dragon (10.04 LTS, 12.04 LTS, 14.04 LTS)

The backup system used on the above platforms is Teradactyl.

Important notes

  • Linux hosts are not automatically placed in the backup system; backups must be specifically requested. See the section below on how to tell if a host is being backed up if you are uncertain if your host is receiving backups.
  • If you add a disk to a host, or change or rename the partitioning, you must tell us in order for the new disk or partition to receive backups. To request backups, send mail to with the name and CMU asset number of the host.
  • In order to receive backups, we must be able to install the backup software on your host and it must be running the Facilities environment.
  • If there is an alternate host you would like the restored data to be placed, then specify the path on the new host along with the new host name.

What is backed up

  • As mentioned above, hosts and new partitions are not automatically put in the backup system.
  • We can back up partitions up to around 500 GB (the old backup system only handled partitions up to 2 GB).
  • Only directories of the form /usrN, where N is some number, are usually backed up. Directories in other places, such as /home are not backed up by default. We also back up the contents of /usr/BACKUP and do not back up /etc/srvtab (since backup traffic is not encrypted).
  • Files/directories whose names match */.netscape/cache/* or */vmware/* are not backed up.
  • If you have a dual-boot machine, only the OS that is running at the time the backup system is operating will get backed up. Linux backups usually run from around 4:00 PM until 10:00 AM. Your machine will be backed up during some random time during that period (it cannot be individually scheduled).
  • Files in the directory /etc/not-backed-up are not backed up.

Special requirements

Because we do network backups of hundreds of Linux hosts nightly, backups for machines with special backup requirements need to be handled on a case-by-base basis. If you need backups for a host that has partitions larger than 500 GB, has a large amount of data that changes frequently, or has a very large amount of data on it (such as a large RAID array), please contact to discuss backup options.

How to tell if a Linux host is being backed up

You can run the program bustatus to tell whether or not a host is being backed up. The path for Ubuntu is /usr/cs/bin/bustatus. For all other Linux systems, the path is /usr/local/bin/bustatus.

How to request a restore

To request a restore on a Linux system, send mail to with the following information:

  • Name of the machine the file(s) were located on.
  • Name of the Machine and path on the new host if there is an alternate host you would like the restored data to be placed.
  • The full path to the requested file(s). Please make sure that these are the actual paths of the file(s) and not a symlink to them.
  • The last known dates during which the file(s) existed.

E-mail containing instructions on how to access restored files will be sent to you after the restore is complete.