3. The initial backup

Your initial backup of a machine newly registered to the HFS should be all of the following:

  • A manual backup not a scheduled backup.
  • A backup of local disk drives and partitions only, not of network drives or of removeable - floppy, cdrom - drives.
  • A backup of less than the daily limit (100GB for desktops/laptops; 200GB for servers; 300GB for large servers).

Your initial manual backup will essentially be a full backup of your entire local filestore. With disk capacity in a typical personal computer ranging from 10GB to 200GB and with those in departmental and college servers often being even larger, this can mean that your initial backup requirements are very large. This is particularly so if you have installed a large amount of software and/or data onto the machine prior to this backup. Network transfer rates vary: approximate maximum speeds are 30GB/hour on a 100Mb network and 300GB/hour on a 1Gb one, but such a speed can be reduced greatly by other factors such as other traffic on your local network and the speed of your machine's disk(s). Please try to estimate and allow sufficient time for this initial backup to complete while you are in attendance.

By default TSM will back up all the files on your machine, though there are a few exceptions - for these please see the HFS Policy Pages.

If the total amount of data does not exceed 100GB (for desktops/laptops), 200GB (for servers) or 300GB (for large servers), please go right ahead and start the first backup.

If the total amount of data to be backed up will exceed the daily limit then it will need to be staged (i.e. spread over a number of days). This is not difficult but some consideration needs to be given as to how best to proceed. If you are unfamiliar with the HFS backup service, it may be best to contact us at hfs@ox.ac.uk in order to discuss the initial backup. There are some examples shown below for guidance:

  • If you have several (small) disk partitions then backup one (or a few) partitions each day - as illustrated in the section titled 'Backing up your local disks' in the guide below appropriate for your client platform.
  • If you have one or more very large disk drives, then the initial backup can be split by selecting individual folders for backup. This is illustrated in the section titles 'Backing up selected files & directories' in the guide appropriate to your client platform.
  • If you have one or more very large drives and are unable to manually split the backup into separate 'chunks', just backup the entire disk. The account will be locked when it exceeds the daily limit (see above) and may be unlocked as detailed in the paragraph below. Repeating this process will eventually backup the entire disk - that is, the backups start from where they were locked, they do not restart from the beginning.

In cases where the initial backup of a single large partition is being done in stages, it is very important that a manual full incremental backup is run over the entire partition before including this partition in the scheduled backup. That is, once the partition has been backed-up in stages, it should then be manually backed-up in it's entirety. This ensures that the backup has a completion date which is then used for processing of subsequent backups.

We have procedures in place that detect when a client has sent data in excess of the daily limit in a working day. The backup session will automatically be cancelled and the client account locked. Newly registered clients (those registered within the last 14 days) will be automatically unlocked to allow completion of the initial backup; this is done at 10:00 am the next day (2 pm for those clients on the server service). This is effective for the first 14 days after registering the account with the HFS service. When the next backup session is started, the backup carries on from the point at which it was stopped. The whole process usually takes just a few days and once completed, subsequent sessions will only backup files which are new or have changed since the last time. After the first 14 days since registration the lockout is effective until you contact us.

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