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Old 03-02-2007, 03:57 PM
The-REV The-REV is offline
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HowTo Understand Importance Of Backup


Backup a VPS is mandatory in order to have peace in mind. First you have to investigate if your VPS provider really does backups if it is announcing one. We recently cancelled VPS accounts in two top rated VPS providers because both simply does not its announced "full daily backup". For ethical reasons we do not show here this two names. But a lot of VPS providers are really honest and does fine all advertised backups. In second you have to try the efficiency of your Virtuozzo Acronis snapshot, if you are using VZPP. In another VPS provider that we have VPS we tested this feature of Plesk 8x and we was impressed with its efficiency: we did a backup (30GB) of the entire VPS in few minutes; then we reinstalled the VPS and finally we restored it in few minutes using this Plesk backup. But you have to consider that this kind of backup is stored in the same physical server that is hosting the VPS you are using. Due this it is highly recommended to chose a VPS provider using monsters 64 bits servers with Raid 10 located in reliables data centers. But note that yet is not totally satisfactory for your peace in mind. Imagine a disaster with a physical server like this and you have not an external backup...What you will say to your customers? Do you will suggest a re-upload to all of them? We experienced these disasters in the dawn of VPS, with the brutal general crash of our deceased and buried partner Featureprice some years ago, with the first versions of Plesk; then we experienced two more physical servers disasters. Well, keep peace in your mind using a reliable, simply and affordable external backup account as the provide by BQ Internet Corporation (we found it in a WHT post topic, signed in and we are very satisfied with its performance - these fine folks uses rsync technology, that does perfect backups quickly and easy - in files, not tarball). With this feature you can backup your entire VPS and restore it in minutes at cheapest price: only $5 USD/month for 10GB, $20.00 USD/month for 100GB ...and more, if you want for terabytes. This backup method we enthusiastically recommend for all VPS (and physical servers) owners.

Some users thinks if the VPS is running during the backup operation corrupted files will be generated. If you stop the VPS you simply cannot backup it by SSH (e.g. using rsync) if you are a user (customer). If you are a VPS privider, O.K., you can backup all VPS you have in your physical server. Note: when you does a Plesk backup of one account, first of all this account is disabled (stopped) by Plesk. Then, no corrupted files should be generated. About Acronis snapshot, this is the feature bused by Plesk 8x to do the entire VPS backup (does it in minutes) and the VPS needs not to be stopped (read please the Plesk release - swsoft.com on this issue). If the user have an original VZPP this snapshot is available under Maintenance icon: simply click it and you are done). But some VPS providers does not offer original VZPP, but customized ones, like Spry (it's VZPP have not the Maintenance option) or simply does not allow VZPP access to VPS/VDS users, like Godaddy. This Maintenance incon is a default option that exist in Plesk 8x/VZPP (not in cPanel, Direct Admin, Helm, Ensim, Webmin or other CP). When you enter in your VZPP (also in your CP with VZPP direct access) you can see the icon Maintenance. Clicking it you will see, Reinstall, Repair and Backup options. But you VZPP have to be the original one, not a customized VZPP like some VPS providers are offering in order to avoid disasters. Note that Plesk is not for idiots and some newbies are clicking all icons exist...Obviously Plesk expect that a Plesk user really know that what he are doing. In fact, Plesk is the creme de la creme for admins, not for users - and for customers I'm thinking that cPanel is the best.

What's New in Plesk 8.0.1 for Linux

Plesk 8.0.1 offers you the following new features:

- New and improved Acronis True Image Module - Plesk now comes with a new ATIS module. Using this module, administrators can create server disk backup images without interrupting server operations and perform easy and fast recovery of the entire system. The module enables scheduling backup tasks, launching manually backup tasks, selecting the compression level for backup images, setting up passwords to protect backup images, and other useful features.

- New generation of Backup Utilities - The improved backup/restore utilities based on Plesk Migration Manager engine let administrators backup and restore client accounts, selecting which client's domains to backup/restore and whether the client's information should be backed up/restored. The improved domain restoration brings now a domain to the very state the domain had during the backup. Backup files are no more digitally signed, which lets domain administrators to migrate their domains from server to server by themselves. This generation of Backup Utilities also allows to backup/restore Site Applications and Application Vaults.

By default Plesk does not include for VZPP snapshot option like exist for separate accounts: upload to remote FTP. If you are the owner of the virtualized physical server (the one that hosts VPS) you can do it. If you are customer of any VPS provider ask it's support. That is our recommended backup for all Plesk 8x users:

1 - Backup all accounts (websites) in separate starting the cronjob you want (daily, weekly, monthly)

2 - Backup manually your entire VPS using Acronis module

3 - Backup the entire VPS via SSH using rsync storing files in a remote account (BQ Internet Corporation recommended). This permit restore the entire one or an user or directory tree as /var/www/vhosts/(alldomains). Restore runs at average 880kbps.

Want to migrate to another VPS provider using Plesk? Use PMM.

Want to migrate (...)using cPanel not Plesk compatible? Restore your rsync backup to your new VPS and config email accounts.

Note: At this time cPanel cannot migrate (yet) Plesk 8x accounts and Plesk 8x cannot be migrated to Plesk 7x via PMM.

In fact, unfortunately many web hosting providers simply does not the backup advertised for it's VPS plans as we have verified. Example: John aims to be a web hosting entrepreneur, order only one dedicated server in a data center but have not money to order a second server for backup. John uses Virtuzzo or other, as Xen etc, oversell VPS announcing that all VPS plans includes daily backups and some months after various VPS crashes by corruption and needs to be reinstalled. But backups simply not exist...Unfortunately this is common. Customers goes to forums and post negative reports about these dishonest web hosters but the fraud continues.But many and many honest web hosting companies exist and these ones does the advertised backups as is in the description of it's plans. Then we recommend: select accurately your new web hosting provider if you are looking for one: google the Web seeking for reviews of it's customers, search WHT and Web Hosting Jury and more. That is the basic rules in order to avoid horror histories or simple disappointments. In the beginning of our web hosting history we are reseller and our selected customers, all of them VIP as intellectuals, politicians and academics (around 30), uploaded it's websites to our reseller account. We "quickly" retrieved all websites using our telephone connection by AOL. Just four days after the owner of the server informed us: "Oh, we apologize but our first HDD is corrupt and all content are lost!! We have replaced the HDD and you have to re-upload your data". For tunatelly the data was re-uploaded because was part of the content of our PC...From this lesson we decided to store all customers data in a separate web server and the restore task, if it is necessary, is now performed in minutes by server to server connection at around 900kbps average in minimum. But we never experienced other disaster like the one reported here, only VPS without advertised backup issues and we simply replaced the dishonest or problematic ones by others, more efficient and we can recommend various at this time, but we will not indicate it's names and URL here according this forum rules.

Plesk Migration Manager is cool but is not perfect yet and have some issues...

1 - PMM requests a lot of free disk space in order to perform a perfect migration server to server;

2 - PMM for simple websites has no problem, but if you are running forums and working using a lot of date in cache the migration will be complicated, because in this case PMM does not migrate ALL data - example: probably you will lost all tickets in your Plesk Helpdesk (if you have one). Another example: during the normal (not customized) migration PMM corrupts DNS cache, then webalizer will not run fine in the new server of VPS and your statistics about traffic etc will be lost.

3 - Yes, a lot of trash will be migrated in na simple and automated migration.

The ideal solution is you use a reliable external backup (we recommend BQ Internet Corporation - cheapest and finest, using rsync) and move filers to your new server by SCP. Today, unfortunately, migration is a routine because many web hosting providers sucks and when you discover the trap you are entered you have to migrate quickly...

If you have performed a default PMM migration task you don't repair any error using Plesk Backup, available with some enhancements since release 7.5.4 Reloaded. We don't recommend Plesk backup by SCP because SSH connections and its encryption tunneling have some problems as we have detected and the only one recommended method is backup and restore by rsync. Plesk backup usage is as follows:

Backing Up Your Data Using Plesk Backup

To back up all data, including server and control panel configuration, remote database servers, license keys, user accounts, Web sites, databases, and mailboxes with e-mail messages, run the command:
/plesk_installation_directory/bin/pleskbackup --all <backup file name>
To back up all user accounts with all users' sites, run the command:
/plesk_installation_directory/bin/pleskbackup --clients <backup file name>
To back up all sites hosted on server without storing details for each client account, run the command:
/plesk_installation_directory/bin/pleskbackup --domains <backup file name>
To back up selected user accounts with web sites:
1 Create a text file and list there the control panel login names of the clients whose accounts you wish to back up, one login name per line. For example:
client1
client2
2 Save the file.
3 Run the command /plesk_installation_directory/bin/pleskbackup --clients <backup file name> -list <file name>
where <file name> is the file listing the objects you wish to backup that you created at the step 1.
To back up selected web sites:
1 Create a text file and list there the domain names of the sites that you wish to back up, one domain name per line. For example:
domain1.com
domain2.com
2 Save the file.
3 Run the command /plesk_installation_directory/bin/pleskbackup --domains <backup file name> -list <file name>
where <file name> is the file listing the objects you wish to backup that you created at the step 1.

To back up a specific user account with all user's web sites, run the command:
echo 'client's login name' | /plesk_installation_directory/bin/pleskbackup --clients <backup file name> -list -
To back up a specific web site, run the command:
echo 'domain name' | /plesk_installation_directory/bin/pleskbackup --domains <backup file name> -list -

Available commands
Command
Arguments and Syntax
Description
--all
backup file name
Backs up all data related to your installation of Plesk and saves them into file under the specified name
--clients
backup file name
Backs up all data related to all or selected client accounts (including web sites) and saves them to file under the specified name. For a selective backup of client accounts, compile a list of client accounts, save it in a file, and then use the --clients option together with the -list <file name> argument.
--domains
backup file name
Backs up all data related to hosted domains/web sites and saves them to file under the specified name. For a selective backup of domains/web sites, compile a list of domain names, save it in a file, and then use the --domains option together with the -list <file name> argument.
--help or -h
displays the available commands and options
Available options
-no-content
Backs up only settings related to control panel, without the content of sites, mailboxes or databases.
-only-mail
Archives only content of mailboxes.
-list
file name
Specifies the path to file that

contains a list of objects (client accounts or domain names)
you prepared for a selective backup.
You can use the -list argument with hyphen instead of file name, if you wish the pleskbackup utility to read
from stdin. For example: echo 'domain.com' | pleskbackup --domains <backup file name>
list -
-verbose
displays backup progress

Restoring Your Data Using Plesk Backup

To restore data from a backup file:
1 Generate a file that defines mapping of items (user accounts, sites, etc.) stored in the backup file to the items currently served by your Plesk hosting platform. To do this, run the following command from the command line:
/plesk_installation_directory/bin/pleskrestore --create-map <backup file name> -map <map file name>
If you have a multivolume backup, you should specify the first volume as the <backup file name>.
A mapping file will be generated and saved to the specified location. In most cases you will not need to edit this file: you will need to review its contents and specify mapping for items only if you fail to restore data from a backup due to object conflicts (for example, the range of IP addresses listed in the backup file is different from those available on the server), or if you wish to specify individual objects that should be restored.
Note: for details on mapping, see the Editing a mapping file section of this guide.
2 Restore the data you need.
􀂃 To restore all backed up data, including server and control panel configuration, applications vaults, user accounts, web sites, databases, and mailboxes with e-mail messages, run the following command:
/plesk_installation_directory/bin/pleskrestore --restore <backup file name> -level all -map <map file name>
where <backup file name> is the name of the backup file or—if you have a multivolume backup—the name of the first volume, and <map file name> is the mapping file name.
􀂃 To restore all user accounts with users' sites, run the command:
/plesk_installation_directory/bin/pleskrestore --restore <backup file name> -level clients -map <map file name>
where <backup file name> is the name of the backup file or—if you have a multivolume backup—the name of the first volume, and <map file name> is the mapping file name.
􀂃 To restore selected user accounts with all their sites, run the command:
/plesk_installation_directory/bin/pleskrestore --restore <backup file name> -level clients -filter list:client_name1,client_name2,client_name3 -map <mapping file name>
where <backup file name> is the name of the backup file or—if you have a multivolume backup—the name of the first volume, and <mapping file name> is the mapping file name.
􀂃 To restore a specific user account with all user's web sites, run the command:
/plesk_installation_directory/bin/pleskrestore --restore <backup file name> -level clients -filter list:client_name -map <mapping file name>
where <backup file name> is the name of the backup file or—if you have a multivolume backup—the name of the first volume, and <mapping file name> is the mapping file name.
􀂃 To restore a specific user account with selected web sites belonging to the user, run the command:
/plesk_installation_directory/bin/pleskrestore --restore <backup file name> -level clients -filter list:client_name1,domain1.com,domain2.com -map <mapping file name>
where <backup file name> is the name of the backup file or—if you have a multivolume backup—the name of the first volume.
􀂃 To restore a specific web site, run the command:
/plesk_installation_directory/bin/pleskrestore --restore <backup file name> -level domains -filter list:domain_name -map <mapping file name>
where <backup file name> is the name of the backup file or—if you have a multivolume backup—the name of the first volume.
Note: if you want to restore the data of a site backed up on another server, before doing so, make sure that the respective domain name is set up in Plesk. If it is not, add a new domain name through the control panel (without setting up a hosting account for it), and then run the aforementioned command.
Table 2. Pleskrestore utility commands and options.
Available commands
Command
Arguments and Syntax
Description
--create-map
backup file name mapping file name
analyzes the specified backup file and creates a mapping file under the specified name
--validate-map
backup file name mapping file name
validates mapping file
--restore
backup file name
restores data from a backup file
--help or -h
displays the available commands and options
Available options
-level
clients, domains, or all
specifies restoring level: clients restores user accounts, domains restores web sites, all restores all items from the backup file
-filter
mapping file name or list: item1, item2, item3
specifies objects for restoring: user accounts or web sites
-license
specifies that the license key from a backup file should be restored
-map
mapping file name
path to the mapping file
-verbose
displays restoring progress

Acronis True Image 9.1 Server for Linux

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The only Linux disk imaging and bare-metal restore solution on the market!

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Are you a small organization running a couple of mission-critical Linux servers in one location with limited IT staff? How much business would you lose if these servers went down? Acronis True Image 9.1 Server for Linux provides comprehensive system protection and recovery of Linux servers and allows you to get back to business and minimize downtime.

Acronis True Image Server for Linux allows you to 1) create an exact server disk image, including the operating system, applications, and configurations and 2) backup mission critical databases.

After a system crash, Acronis True Image Server for Linux allows you to perform a full system restore, a bare-metal restore or just a restore of individual files and folders in minutes.

Based on the exclusive Acronis Drive Snapshot technology, Acronis True Image Server for Linux allows you to create a server disk backup image without interrupting server operations, providing 24 x 7 availability.

New features:
New! DVD Burning — Save backups directly to DVDs without using 3rd party DVD burning software

Automatic image verification — Peace of mind by ensuring that images can be used for restoration

Modify images — Mount images in read/write mode and apply changes directly

Differential backups — Decrease the number of backups you manage


File backups, in addition to our traditional image backups — Flexible system protection

Exclude files from backups — Capture only business data and saves space in storage archives ensuring that you capture only business data


Custom scripts before/after backups — Facilitate compliance with company-wide backup policies


Throttling to control hard disk write speed and network bandwidth usage — Minimize disruptions of business operations


Create CDs with bootable images, and bootable recovery media ISOs — Eliminate the need to have separate recovery media

Certifications


Ubuntu Software Certified
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SuSE Certified Linux Software
Acronis OS Selector partitioning and boot management software has been certified with SuSE Linux

Ready for Mandriva Linux
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__________________
The-REV, OS/2 Guru
http://macarloshark.com/
Trusted Since 1997
Blog: http://my.opera.com/The-REV/blog/



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  #2  
Old 04-08-2007, 10:39 AM
krystofo krystofo is offline
WHT Addict
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: New England
Posts: 100
Very helpful! A 'dummy' like me especially likes the idea of a third-party backup for $5/month. Presumably this includes fully backing-up a vBulletin forum...? (Including mySQL database.) If so, then it is worth it for that alone.
Quote:
Originally Posted by The-REV
...Well, keep peace in your mind using a reliable, simply and affordable external backup account as the provide by BQ Internet Corporation (we found it in a WHT post topic, signed in and we are very satisfied with its performance - these fine folks uses rsync technology, that does perfect backups quickly and easy - in files, not tarball). With this feature you can backup your entire VPS and restore it in minutes at cheapest price: only $5 USD/month for 10GB, $20.00 USD/month for 100GB ...and more, if you want for terabytes. This backup method we enthusiastically recommend for all VPS (and physical servers) owners...
Also, I have read numerous arguments about cPanel vs. Plesk, and I like the way that you sum this up.
Quote:
Originally Posted by The-REV
...Obviously Plesk expect that a Plesk user really know that what he are doing. In fact, Plesk is the creme de la creme for admins, not for users - and for customers I'm thinking that cPanel is the best...

__________________
Krystof
Stocknectar.Org
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  #3  
Old 04-12-2007, 11:36 PM
dbpalan dbpalan is offline
Junior Guru Wannabe
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by krystofo View Post
Very helpful! A 'dummy' like me especially likes the idea of a third-party backup for $5/month. Presumably this includes fully backing-up a vBulletin forum...? (Including mySQL database.) If so, then it is worth it for that alone.
Also, I have read numerous arguments about cPanel vs. Plesk, and I like the way that you sum this up.
The $5/month backup using the technique of rsync, which is a file based remote backup technique. Some files must be in risk of corruption using file based backup, database data file obviously, log files and files created by your applications follow.

Rsync still did excellent job, provided that you understand what are the risks -- You need to know which files could be backup safely by rsync, and which could not. You need to know which files are not harm even if it was lost, and which must be retained.

The way I did backup for my Debian based VPS without service interruption:

1. Backup dynamic files (e.g. use "mysqldump" to backup instead of using "rsync", this would cover any applications generating files to "var")
2. Backup system status / restoring rules (e.g. list packages and version installed by "dpkg", list firewall rules by "iptables" or store the scripts generated them, list cron jobs )
3. RSync all static files (e.g. "/etc", "/home") as well as files generated from #1 and #2 at the time slot that the files does not modify (e.g. at the time 3:00AM daily)

After all, you would be able to restore your server "almost the same" in case it was down painlessly even you get back a fresh server:

1. Reinstall all packages from the packages list
2. Replace static files (e.g. "/etc" and "/home") from your backup, ensure ownership and access mode retain
3. Restore database file from backup
4. Rebuild system status (e.g. install cron jobs, run filewall rules)
5. Restart services

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  #4  
Old 04-13-2007, 08:16 AM
krystofo krystofo is offline
WHT Addict
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: New England
Posts: 100
Thank you for the clarification DBPALAN!

If Rsync is only reliable for static files, then maybe there's not much point. (All my static files are edited on a "mirror" of every website on a flash drive--then copied to a desktop--then uploaded via BatchFTP.) So, I had better learn to backup my vBulletin manually. (Unless maybe I can find some kind of backup software at the vBulletin forum.) Incidentally, I recently made the decision to use only one copy of the paid vBulletin forum for my 10+ websites, instead of 10+ free PhpBB forums. My reasons: much less security problems with vBulletin because it is not free, and only one forum to maintain security updates. Now I also add: only one forum to have to backup......Anyway, until I learn just how to do all this, I will be referring to your checklist regularly......!

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