Disaster recovery option for file server

Jeff Boyce jboyce at meridianenv.com
Fri Apr 17 17:04:21 GMT 2009

Greetings -

I have not been a long time follower of this list, but I have scanned 
through the last year or so of archives, after not finding much from google 
searches.  I am hoping someone here can inform me if what I want to do is 
feasible, and give me some general guidance to follow so that I can continue 
my research and complete this task.

I admin a RH3 system that is primarily a Samba file server for a small 
office of 8 Windows PC's.  We have been having some hardware issues with our 
server recently and want to have an option that minimizes our productive 
down time if other hardware issues occur.  Our file server is backed up on 
tape daily, so the potential loss of files is not an issue; maintaining 
continuous access to the files (if a hardware failure occurs) is the problem 
I am trying to figure a solution for.  We do not have the funding in the 
near term to just replace our server, so that is not an option.

What I am wondering is if I can use rsync to mirror a copy of our two 
primary Samba shares from the Linux server to my Vista desktop.  The Vista 
desktop is relatively new and has a large enough hard drive to place copies 
of the Samba shares.  I would probably set it up as a  cron job to run every 
night.  Then if we had a hardware failure on the server, I could make the 
shares available from my Vista box to the rest of the office and keep our 
project data available while we diagnose and replace our failed hardware. 
Then whenever our server is back up I could transfer the data back to it.

Is this a possible solution, pushing the Samba shares from a Linux box to a 
Vista box using rsync?  I have fixed ip addresses in the office, so I am 
sure that I can make sure there is a solid communication link all the time. 
Do I need to be concerned about the data going between different file 
systems (ext3 on the Linux server to ntfs on the Vista box, then probably 
back to ext3 again)?  Would I have to run cygwin on the Vista box?  I would 
prefer not to if possible.  Can anyone give me some basic guidance on how I 
might do this?  All the discussions I see about using rsync is either 
between two Linux boxes, or from a Windows box using cygwin to a Linux 
server.  What I am considering doing is neither of those cases.  Thanks.

Jeff Boyce

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