Computer Backup Policies
Purpose of Backups
There are two reasons to run backups, to recover the contents of a disk in case of disk failure (commonly referred to as "backup"), and to checkpoint versions of files for later retrieval (commonly called an "archive"). The backup function requires only the latest version of each file on the system. Older backup versions can be deleted. The archive function requires several snapshots of the system be kept for some period of time. Older archives can only be deleted when it is determined that the data is no longer needed.
The CSG runs automated backups of most computers in the laboratory. We cannot run automated archives; we cannot determine which files need to be archived, nor determine how long to keep files. Users who want to archive their files to protect against accidental changes, for historical purposes, or to make space on their hard drives can do so, however the user needs to manage these archives.
- In case of disk failure, restore all files on a server disk to the previous day's version
- Provide one year of old data backups stored on servers
- Return a PC to a working state following a disk failure on a critical disk without reinstalling all applications or manually entering user preferences
- Provide two months of old backups for PC's
- User-initiated and archive backups are not deleted automatically; for now, they are kept indefinitely
We keep old backups so we can recover files that are accidentally lost or destroyed, however we do not have the resources to keep backups for indefinite periods. Since server backups are kept longer than PC backups, we strongly recommend that you keep important data on a file server. Also, we do not have the resources to backup the entire drive on every PC. Limitations are described in the section "What is backed up".
Note: For automated backups to work, your PC must be running and connected to the network during the backup time frame. If you shut down your PC at the end of the day, it will not be backed up.
All desktop PCs set up by the CSG are configured for automatic backups. Laptop computers are not configured for automatic backups, as they are usually not turned on during the backup window. Laptop users may perform their own backups manually. If you have a laptop that stays at LLE and can be left on, you may request that it be added to the automated backup schedule.
Exceptions to these policies may be made at the discretion of the CSG Group Leader.