Theory computing back-up policy

What is back-up for?

It may seem obvious, but back-up is of critical importance to data security. From a simple mechanical defect in drive hardware, to a fire that burns down the entire Physics department, the range of possibilities for data loss is great. And without back-up, the cause is irrelevant because the result is the same: catastrophic and total loss of all of your data (and possibly your career).

Simply, back-up is a way of reducing the probability that an unlikely event will wipe out your data. It is about disaster mitigation.

What is back-up not for?

Perhaps more important is what back-up is not for: backup is not archiving. It is not for historical recovery. Do not rely on our back-up system to retrieve old copies of data. If you want access to historical versions of work, use version control (and remember to back-up that version control). Don't rely on our systems to do this automatically; you will probably be disappointed.

Our back-up systems are designed to recover our system to a point shortly before a disaster. Backups take place nightly and we keep incremental backups for 2 months

If you are prone to randomly deleting your own files, and not noticing until months after, then please contact us right away so we can advise you, because our current system is not sufficient to protect you.

What is backed-up in Theoretical Physics

Apple desktop system
On the Theoretical Physics Apple desktop system, only home directories, web content and Group areas are backed-up Contact us if you are at all unsure.

Cluster systems
Hydra has a daily backup to local storage and another daily backup (if your home directory is < 500 GB) to the University's HFS backup facility, and also a backup to another computer room in another building twice a month.

What is not backed-up in Theoretical Physics

Apple desktop system
No data other than that in the home directories, and the web content, is backed-up. This includes all data on scratch partitions, To reiterate: if it is not in your home directory, and not in /web or /Groups it is not backed-up.

Laptops (and other self-managed systems)
One might be tempted to say that is goes without saying, but I will say it anyway. If you do not back-up your laptop (or other self-managed system) yourself then it is not backed-up and your data is at risk. It is your system. You choose to use it. Nobody else can do it for you: back it up.

If you don't know how to do this, or want to discuss the options, please contact support.

What is the back-up schedule in Theoretical Physics

The Apple system backs up nightly to a completely separate system which stores data incrementally.

Categories: Theory