Wednesday, 28 February 2007

A really slick backup idea!

And it wasn't even mine.....

Its another not very exciting post about backup, I know its not the most fun subject even for fellow nerds but its a fact that backup is very important (see the last but 1 post). One issue we have as a company with distributed sites and therefore computers is trying to make sure we get copies of the data from harassed managers. Its no use giving them a cake of Cd's and a printout which requires them to do complicated computing tasks, it simply doesn't work, so you have to think of something really slick and this is what our main mac man Nigel has done.

At the same time that I was playing with rsync to backup my Manchester installation over the VPN Nigel was using the same program, which comes as standard on the Mac, to do some simple backup tasks on his computer. Having both recently installed a nice RSS reader called Vienna we have access to a useful little blog called Mac OSX Hints which pretty much does what it says on the tin. One hint which Nigel picked up on was a rather nifty little application called "Do Something When" which very simply runs a script when a USB Flash drive is plugged into a Mac. Using the power of his brain Nigel that put these 2 ideas together resulting in "A really slick backup idea", luckily Nigel doesn't blog so I get to write all about it and reflect in the glory of the idea without doing a thing - sweet :o)

So after a small amount of programming, setting up you Flash drive and rsync script, every time you plug the Flash drive into the Mac it automatically does an incremental backup of your predefined files! This will allow us to present our managers with a backup solution which is so slick they can't fail to use it.....

The rest of this week has been programming for me, a mix of finishing our new job applicant database and moving our exisitng data into the new database, from Microsoft SQL server to MySQL which has been a bit painful. A thing to watch out for if you are trying to use DTS to move data between these databases is that text data will not copy across using an ODBC connection and I couldn't tell you why. Varchar data will move and I have checked its not a collation issue, it just won't go, answers on a postcard please. The solution I used in the end was moving data to excel spreadsheets and then pushing the data into MySQL from there, not very elegant really.

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A view from the rack is the personal blog of an IT manager who works for a pub company - hence beer