The following recommendations give advice on how to get the best use of TSM and the HFS backup service.
2. Limit what you back up
2.1. Only back up what you need to back up
The fewer files that you select for backup, the quicker your backup will be, and the less you will use the university resources involved in sending your data to the HFS and in keeping it stored there. You are also more likely to notice any problems with your backups (such as files failing to be backed up) if you keep your backups to a manageable size.
2.2. Only back up your work
The HFS is intended for the backup of your university-related work. So, whilst we understand that hard drives may contain a combination of both work and personal data, please try to exclude from backup your non-work files, using the instructions mentioned in the previous section. This is particularly important in the case of copyrighted material such as music and movies, which can take up a substantial amount of hard drive space. We already exclude certain files from backup, most notably temporary files and virtual machines - on this please see further our page on files and folders excluded from backup.
3. Check that your backups are working
For all accounts except those registered for backup-over-VPN, e-mails are sent out if a scheduled backup fails to run correctly. However these mails are only a guide, and the absence of TSM scheduled backup failure report does not guarantee that every single file has been backed up. We therefore recommend that you verify that your backups are running as intended.
4. Avoid making large-scale changes to your computer or your data
Sometimes making large-scale changes to your computer is unavoidable. Please bear in mind, though, that such changes may affect your backups. The lists below cover the most common types.
4.1. Changes that cause TSM to resend data to the HFS
There are several sets of circumstances in which TSM can be inadvertently prompted to resend data unnecessarily. If you find that you have made changes of the sort listed below, then your TSM account may get locked because you sent more than the daily backup limit allows. To avoid this, stop your TSM scheduler and run manual backups, keeping within the daily limits until your backups complete again. For how to stop the TSM scheduler, please see our instructions for Windows, Mac and Linux. For how to keep within the daily limit and so avoid your account getting locked, see our FAQ item How can I limit the amount of data that I'm backing up?.
my-laptop, C: would be represented as
\\my-laptop\c$, D: as
\\my-laptop\d$, and so on. Renaming a Windows machine changes that path, causing a complete resend of data under the new path - e.g.
\\my-renamed-laptop\d$. So please avoid renaming your machine unless absolutely necessary, and if you do have to then please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note that this is only true of Windows: renaming Mac and Linux machines causes no such problem.
/Volumes/my-renamed-external-drivewould be resent by TSM. In Windows, take care not to vary the order in which you attach any extra drives - Windows will assign them different letters if you change the order, so you might find that TSM resends the data that you backed up from E: again from F:, as if F: were a different drive.
dataand you rename it to e.g.
old-datathen TSM will regard it as new and resend the entire contents of that folder, including all sub-folders. Changes of permissions usually also occasion resends. We therefore request that large-scale changes to your data be avoided unless absolutely necessary.
4.2. Other changes
There are other changes that are system-wide but which generally do not cause a resend of your data, but which can have other unforeseen consequences - these are listed below.
5. Keep data sets to a manageable size
TSM works on each data partition/drive as a whole. It composes a list of what is on your machine, compares that with what is stored on the HFS, and backs up the difference. If, therefore, you have many millions of files in one partition, TSM can become very slow as it tries to process the whole list at once. Before you first back up, please first of all consider the arrangement of your data and split it into partitions - ideally of no more than 1TB and a few million files in each.
6. Cease backing up from drives whose data is needed for restores
If data is lost from your machine and you then run a further backup, then the copies of those files on the HFS are scheduled for deletion, and only
kept for up to 90 days. So if you lose data from (for example) a Windows drive
C: and then back up
HFS copies of your data are at risk. We therefore recommend that as soon as you discover you have lost data from an existing machine, you
stop your TSM scheduler. For how to do this, please see our instructions for Windows, Mac
and Linux. Alternatively, please email us at email@example.com
and ask for your data set to be renamed, so that you do not accidentally back up over it.
7. Register one account per operating system
You can register as many TSM accounts as you need in order to back up your data. For most people this will mean one TSM nodename per physical machine, though in the case of a multi-boot machine a TSM nodename is needed for each operating system that you wish to back up. So, for example, if you manage a lab of machines all running just Windows, then you may register each one; or if you have a dual-boot machine running Windows and Linux then you should register for two TSM accounts, if you wish to back up both operating systems. However:
8. Let us know if you stop using the HFS
In order to manage our system efficiently, the HFS Team will remove any backup account, including its data, that has not backed up for 90 days or more; and, similarly, any individual partitions which are in an active account but which have not been backed up for 90 days or more will be deleted. Before doing so, we attempt to inform the registered contact with up to three warning mails. This process is described in our page on deleting old backups.
8.1. If you go away temporarily
We can keep your data for you while you are away, if you are leaving Oxford temporarily and cannot back up regularly - for example because you are on extended leave away and your machine is in Oxford. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to ask us to retain your backups, letting us know when you will be away till. Please note that we can keep data from dormant accounts only for a reasonable period of time.
8.2. If you leave Oxford University
If you have finished with your TSM account, please uninstall TSM and deregister your TSM account. This saves resources at the HFS end, as otherwise we retain unused accounts for up to 90 days before deletion.