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Sun Solaris Tip: A Free Home Network Backup System Using Solaris Software

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If you're looking to create a network data backup system for your home or small business, you can use the Solaris operating environment on Intel architecture. This article tells you how.
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You can use the Solaris operating environment on Intel architecture to create a home network data backup system for the Solaris, Linux, and Microsoft Windows platforms. This same configuration makes an excellent choice for a small business network as well. Even better, you can save about $400–$5,000 with this setup.

Solaris software ships with a Media Kit containing the Solaris Software Companion CD, which includes a large array of popular free software, including these:

  • Samba—Lets you share files between platforms

  • cdrecord—Lets you burn image, music, or data CDs

These two programs can form the backbone of a network data backup system without any commercial software—which is good because commercial software programs can range from $400 to $5,000. This is not cost-effective if you have several Microsoft Windows machines sharing an Internet connection and possibly a small server running Solaris software or Linux.

Using noncommercial software, how can you back up data on your home network? The first step involves configuring Samba on your Solaris software system. With the Samba program, data backup is a simple task among systems running various platforms. By employing the Microsoft SMB system protocol for Network Neighborhood and file sharing, Samba makes a system running Solaris software behave like a Microsoft NT file server.

The second step involves sharing the Microsoft Windows system disks and folders. Samba can share the directories in Solaris software, enabling Windows computers to display those directories in Network Neighborhood. Samba also permits a Solaris system to mount shared folders and disks on Windows computers.

Step three? Using the smbmount command, run a simple script that attaches to the remote Microsoft Windows computers. This enables all the computers on the network to be backed up with one local command, such as tar or cpio. For backups, GNU tar offers significantly enhanced features. When the remote data is backed up onto one local file on the hard disk, use the cdrecord command to burn the data onto CDs. If the backup size is large, simply attach a Sun tape drive—or almost any other commercial tape drive—and dump the backup to tape. For further convenience, this process can be automated by running the backup script from cron, the scheduling tool.

Michael O'Brien has written an excellent article, "A Linux-Based Automatic Backup System", that details how this can be accomplished. While Linux is used for the example, the process works the same for the Solaris platform.

Visit http://www.samba.org for further information on using and configuring Samba. To learn more about the Solaris 8 operating environment, visit http://www.sun.com/solaris.

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