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This page will provide tips on one of the most underestimated necessities in the computing world: Backups. Protecting data from accidental loss is vital, and it is important to do so frequently because you never know when your hard disk will crash (or your house will burn down, or your laptop will get stolen, and so on...)

Where to store data

The contents of your home directory in the SfS are said to be backed up on tape regularly by the system's administrator, so you probably don't need to worry about that. But you probably also work a lot on your own machine. Copying the data frequently to an external hard drive protects them from hard disk crashes, but not from fires etc. So it is a good idea to make backups on remote machines.

Rumour has it that the quota in the SfS will soon be extended to 1 GB per student, which would make them suitable for backing up code, text documents, a small amount of graphics etc. The same holds for servers you may have access to by virtue of working at some department. But if you need more space and a more persistent solution that doesn't depend on some Hiwi position, you may want to consider spending a little money on a rental (probably virtual) server. Here's the result of a little googling for interesting offers:

  • 1&1 offer virtual servers starting from 9,99 € per month. Capacity: 10 GB
  • Host Europe offer comparably many gigs per buck (e.g. 30 GB for 19,99 €/month). Plus, with Ubuntu and many features, the servers should make for good webservers.
  • is specialized on storing data using the Unix tool rsync. Pricing seems to be flexible.

Some more ideas:

Backup Service by Uni Tübingen ZDV

How to automate backups

Backing up is tedious. And let's face it: if something's tedious, you wont do it. Not while doing 8 Scheins this turn, while finishing the abstract for the next TaCoS and working on the paper for this course you took last year. So it's best to leave the process of backing up to someone with a more sincere commitment to tedious tasks: The Computer. Here are some resources on how you would go about making a computer doing such a thing.

  • Incremental and Static Backups with git and rsync -- A small guide to introduce you to two of the best tools in UNIX-land to incrementally back up your data effectively and efficientely. Incremental backups have the added benefit that you will not use content you once had on your filesystem ;-)