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Computer Backup

All staff are STRONGLY advised to have a regular (e.g. weekly) computer backup strategy and a regular (e.g. annual) computer archive strategy.

Research staff should develop their computer backup and archive strategies in parallel with their research archive strategy - looking after your data is your responsibility, explicitly not that of IT staff! Supervisors are advised to implement a group-wide archive strategy, with a clear procedure for when research staff and students leave the group.

College servers are backed-up by College IT staff on a daily basis, but these will not contain your research data.

Computer Backup

IT Services provides a central computer backup facility with easy to use software which can be configured to work automatically. The facility is called the Hierarchical File Server (HFS) and runs Tivoli Storage Management (TSM) software to enable regular automatic backup of personal computers, workstations and fileservers.

Please read the full instructions available on-line at http://www.it.ox.ac.uk/hfs/.

The necessary actions can be summarised as follows:

  • Register your computer and set a nodename and password

  • Download the TSM client software appropriate for your computer

  • Install the software

  • Take an initial backup of your computer

  • Start the backup software and connect to the server

  • Do a test backup on a single file or directory to check it works

  • Do the first full backup (which may take some time ~10Gb/hr)

  • Desktops should setup the TSM scheduler software for automatic weekly backup.

In addition to running TSM weekly backup of files and data, experience says that staff and students should also implement a manual backup routine for important documents (especially theses!). A simple method of manual backup is to run the TSM backup software manually at the end of each day. An alternative manual backup routine is at the end of each day to copy all files modified during the day onto removable media (CD/DVD/MemoryStick/networked disk) and keep the disk for at least one week before overwriting. For particularly important documents (such as theses), multiple daily backups and keeping one copy outside the College increases confidence.

Computer Archiving
There is a central computer archive facility but it is only available in special circumstances. Generally archiving is the responsibility of individual staff and students. Archiving can most easily be done by making a CD or DVD of your files and data using a CD writer. This is a cheap and easy method of storing data. You are advised to make several copies of your CD archives and to check that they are OK and that you can recover your data before you delete your files and data.

Archives are meant to be long-term records of you work, and therefore should be sorted and catalogued clearly. In addition archiving provides a means of recovering from disasters (such as a fire or theft) therefore at least one copy of the archive should be stored off-site in a secure location (perhaps with your supervisor).

Finally, remember that digital media like CD and DVD degrade over time and become defunct: Users wishing to maintain a long term archive should migrate their data to new storage media every 5-10 years.

The College IT staff can provide advice on developing backup and archive strategies and (time permitting) can help if you encounter problems installing and configuring the TSM software. Also the IT Services helpdesk (advisory(at)it.ox.ac.uk) can provide support.

Page last updated: 15/10/2015, at 13:46

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