Monday, May 11, 2009

My little backup solution

Hi All,

I get a few people that I know asking about backup solutions for home, so I thought I would put document what I use and works well for me.

What I needed was a solution that would allow for the following:
1. backup multiple iterations
2. allow for centralized backup for multiple computers
3. simple to use (I am a simple person)

What I ended up with was the following:
1. D-Link DNS-323 2-Bay Network Storage Enclosure
2. WD 500GB Drive (bought a while ago, so increase as needed)
3. Tivoli Continuous Data Protection

Now I know you all are going, "of course you went with a Tivoli product", but I downloaded the trial and was quite pleased with how it worked and did the tasks I needed it to do.

Here are some screen shots

This is the Start page for TCDP. I have meshed together the flyouts for the My Files, Local Storage and Remote Storage to show some more info.

The General Settings (Accessed from My Files flyout > Settings) allow for some configuration options such as where to backup locally, how many iterations and how much space to use.

In the Files to Protect settings, you can set the files/directories to include and exclude.

Email protection will allow for some various email programs for backup.

Remote Storage allows for TCDP to backup files to a remote storage device. In my case it is the DLINK NAS as listed above.

Advanced Settings allow further configuration to tune TCDP

As files are modified, TCDP will back them up locally and remotely (if available). Below is the Report feature that shows the image files I used for this blog being backed up. The popup in the screen occurs when you click on the Date/Time for the row that you want to see to provide more detail.

I really have not noticed any performance impact, but you also have to look at what is being backed up. I made sure to exclude any of the VMWare extensions and a few others that I know I do not want backed up. This is just like setting exclusions for Antivirus software :)

The restore is also quite simple and will allow for selection either from the local or remote source. When restoring, you have the option of restoring to the original location or to a new location. I would put screen shots for the restore steps, but this one is getting long enough already.

The backup and restore does work, and works well, I tested it out recently after someone had their drive crash with all their pictures. I wanted to make sure this worked!

There is a "demo" on IBM's site at, but it is more of a high level of what the product does rather than a look at using the actual product.

Now the only issue I have with it is that there is not currently a linux client, which may or may not be a problem for you. It is not a big deal for me as anything linux I have does not really require a backup solution.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Script to retrieve Tivoli patches

For the longest time, I have been visiting the IBM FTP site looking for patches that have recently become available. This is especially true when I am waiting for one to come out that I am expecting. If anyone else has done this, then you know how much fun that is. I am on the various emails that let you know when patches are released, but these seem to have no rhyme or reason on when they are run or what they report on. The best source seems to be the FTP site.

Recently I decided to do something I have been meaning to do for the longest time and that is write a simple script that would connect to the ftp site and find any recently released patches. In order to use this script there are a couple modifications that will need to be done. I have kept all the variables in the Initialize subroutine in order to make these modifications easier.

SMTP Server - This will need to be modified to supply any smtp server.
    $gMailDomain = "";

Sender address - Whatever the address you want the "From" field to use
    $gSenderAddr = "\@";

Recipient - Address to send the listing to
    $gToAddr = "\@";

    Note: to send to multiple addresses, just comma delimit:
    $gToAddr = "name1\, name2\@domain";

Also there is a variable to specify the number of days to look back for patch updates. Just set the global variable $gDayDiff to the number of days you want to look back for updates.

When the script is executed, it will create a file called updates.html (name can be modified by changing the global variable $gHtmlFile). This file is then used as input into the email.

This script does have a requirement for the Mail::Sender module. If you do not want to receive the emails, then comment out the following lines
    use Mail::Sender
    The entire SendMail subroutine

The file can be downloaded from:

I have tested the execution on Windows XP, Vista and Red Hat 4. Please let me know of any errors you might encounter.

BTW, leave comments and let us know you are out there.


Martin Carnegie