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        Caucus Backup Services
CaucusCare now offers an off-site data backup service for your Caucus server(s).  The details follow below.  You may also purchase backup services directly over the web.

What is it?
The Caucus backup service (or "CBS") is essentially a complete "snapshot" of the files and data that you select, updated once per day.  It even keeps files that you have deleted.

Technically speaking, it is a daily "rsync" of your selected data, copied over the network during the early hours of the morning when network traffic is low.  "Rsync" is short for remote synchronization, meaning that only the data that has changed on your server is copied.  We use a "non-deleting" rsync, which means that even files that you have deleted on your server are still kept in our backup. 

Why should I use it?
You should already have some sort of local backup service in place.  Most hosting services, for example, offer some sort of incremental backup service.  Some also provide you with RAID (redundant array of independent disks) hardware, which helps protect you from hardware failure (but not human mishap).

The CBS, however, is an excellent complement to any existing backup service.  It offers some distinct advantages:

  1. Deleted files are kept forever.  Typically, incremental backups expire after a time -- often just a few weeks.  So if you want to recover a file that was deleted or renamed two months ago, it may not be on your incremental backups!

  2. Easy restoration.  With CBS, your files are backed up on a large hard disk on our server, in a mirror of your existing server's directory structure.  (No waiting for a restore request to be queued off of tape or a CD/DVD jukebox, or having to restore a full backup and then a set of incrementals.)  The files are kept under a unix userid that you own -- you can use the unix 'ssh' or 'scp' tools to examine or copy those files at any time of your choosing.

  3. Failsafe.  If your data is critical to your operation, you should have a minimum of two backups, in separate locations, administered by different people.  There are plenty of horror stories about backups that have happened to real people:
    1. A server gets wiped clean because of a sales order typo (this actually happened to Doc Searls)
    2. The files the hosting service is backing up do not include new disks that were added later on.
    3. Nobody knows how to use the file restore client (or if it even works).
    4. The person who does know how to restore files is away on vacation.

What does it cost?
A one-time US $150 set-up fee.  After that, $15 per month, for up to 20 gigabytes (total snapshot storage); contact us at sales@caucus.com for pricing on larger systems.

What about security?
The data transfers to our server are automatically encrypted by ssh, which is as secure as any internet transaction can get.  The backed-up data lives in a userid accessible only by you and our system administrators.  We keep our server up to date with all current security patches on a weekly basis.

What are the downsides?
The CBS should always be the complement to a separate incremental backup system.  The CBS always has the most recent daily versions of your files.  If a file changed 2 days ago, and you want that version, you'll need to go to your incremental backup.

The CBS does not preserve the ownership information of the original files, since they are being copied to a single userid on our backup server.  It's assumed that you will know who should own files if you need to copy them back to your server.

How do I use it?

  1. Backup:  We will help you set up a script, 'backup_to_caucuscare', to be run by root via 'cron' on your server.  After that, the backup runs automatically.  We can also provide scripts that do automatic archiving of individual Caucus conferences, which provides an additional layer of backup specific to Caucus data.

  2. Restore:  At setup, we will supply you with a userid and password on our server.  Then at any time, you may 'ssh' to our server, and use 'scp' or 'rsync' to copy files back to your server.  Or we will do it for you (additional fees are charged beyond one restore request per month).

How do I order it?
Contact us at sales@caucus.com  We can invoice you monthly or yearly at your preference.

And whether you use CBS or something else, backup your data!

Future Products
We're considering offering expanded backup services, that may include:

  • Preserving multiple dated sets of backups

  • Recording file ownership information
Let us know if either of these enhancements would interest you.