There are a lot of myths surrounding data backups. Ones says that "the more often you take backup everything, the better it is", but actually that only applies to data that's changing. There is little point in wasting a lot of resources repeatedly backing up the same unchanging builds in /usr/local
if you're in a stable web server environment where you web site content and MySQL databases are the critical data, with configuration files such as .htaccess being used for any minor tweaks the server needs on a per-directory basis.
But using a carefully structured backup strategy could
lead to you missing out one critical element, so it's best to check out that your backups are good. How to do this?
Yesterday, I had an eight hour airline flight ... and I had with me a Linux / Fedora laptop and a "complete" set of structured backups from which a restore / rebuild of our web site should be possible. What better opportunity to spend a couple of hours (a.k.a. one battery laptop lifetime) checking that my backups really did work?
I'm pleased to report success; in the time I had, I stripped out delegate's builds of Apache httpd, PHP and MySQL from /usr/local, installed a fresh set using the distributions I had with me as part of the backups, restored the specific config files and then the websites including HTML, CGI, Database and ancillary directories from my backups. And (apart from accessing data from other servers such as the European Central Bank - not available in-flight!) it all worked.
A few more pictures
I wasn't the only one working in flight ...
An evening flight, the low sunlight over the wing ...
... and as we flew into the night, cities lay out below us. (written 2008-09-18, updated 2008-09-22)
Associated topics are indexed as below, or enter http://melksh.am/nnnn for individual articlesA162 - Web Application Deployment - Backups and File System Management 
Linux - where to put swap space - (2004-12-16) 
Symbolic links and hard links - (2005-06-02) 
What backup is adequate? - (2006-01-04) 
Finding where the disc space has gone - (2006-02-06) 
Copying files and preserving ownership - (2006-04-28) 
Boys will be boys, saved by Ubuntu - (2006-05-27) 
tar, jar, war, ear, sar files - (2006-06-10) 
Copy multiple files - confusing error message from cp - (2006-12-30) 
Finding public writeable things on your linux file system - (2007-01-06) 
Linux run states, shell special commands, and directory structures - (2007-08-03) 
Linux / Unix - layout of operating system files - (2007-11-20) 
The tourists guide to Linux - (2008-05-20) 
Dialects of English and Unix - (2008-08-21) 
Some Linux and Unix tips - (2008-11-18) 
How much space does my directory take - Linux - (2009-07-20) 
An overpractical test of our backup strategy! - (2013-03-30) 
Backups by crossover between network centres - setting up automatic scp transfers - (2013-04-13) 
More or less back - what happened to our server the other day - (2013-06-14) 
Checking MySQL database backups have worked (not failed) - (2015-01-10) 
Commenting out an echo killed my bash backup script - (2015-01-19) 
Backup procedures - via backup server - (2015-01-24) 
Extracting data from backups to restore selected rows from MySQL tables - (2015-05-01)
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