[lug] network drives as backup?

siegfried siegfried at heintze.com
Mon Jul 24 21:48:04 MDT 2006

I'm working on exactly what you have in mind. When using the web interface
for the NSLU2, it will format the disks using a special flavor of EXT3. This
is not obvious, however, from using windows explorer (for example). NSLU2
also supports NTFS and standard EXT3 but you have to format them yourself by
disconnecting the drive from the NSLU2 and plugging it directly in to you
desktop's USB.

Is there some reason why DHCP and bootp/PXE won't work with an NSLU2? I was
hoping it would but have not tried it yet. There are lots of problems
however: IDE drives do about 60-70 Mbit/s (according to Seagate tech
support), true USB 2.0 does about 12Mbits/s. Most modern desktop machines
are advertised to have USB 2.0 ports but in fact have USB 1.3 ports and you
have to buy a separate PCI card to get true USB 2.0 ports capable of 12
Mbits/s. USB 1.3 are much slower, maybe about 1 Mbit/s? NSLU2s are going to
be much slower than that. Network booting might not be tractable at these
extremely slow speeds. I'd like to verify this for myself, however. 

But if you are just going to do network backup and not boot from it, I'm
hopeful a NSLU2 will be fast enough.

I have not personally tried accessing the NSLU2 disks from linux yet. NSLU2
tech support says this is not a problem.


-----Original Message-----
From: lug-bounces at lug.boulder.co.us [mailto:lug-bounces at lug.boulder.co.us]
On Behalf Of D. Stimits
Sent: Monday, July 24, 2006 9:05 PM
Subject: [lug] network drives as backup?

I find myself possibly in need of a cheap backup device, and options 
like tape drives are way out of my price range. One possibility that I 
find interesting are network drives, not the expensive RAID stuff, but 
simple things like the LinkSys EFG120/EFG250 or NSLU2.

I hesitate though, as I suspect there are lots of gotchas. For example, 
the specs seem to indicate that they run a windows filesystem, and 
probably require SAMBA or some such nonsense. It'd also be nice if such 
a device had the option of doing DHCP and bootp/PXE, but probably not 
many can do this. Any suggestions in this area?

I'm not wild about the idea of using CD's or DVD's as a backup medium, 
but if I did, is there a simple way to restore from these, e.g., maybe 
amanda software works with this?

I'm actually tempted to just add a removable bay hard drive in such a 
way that I could back up data but not do a real restore from it (the 
advantage of being able to plug it in to any machine and copy over).

D. Stimits, stimits AT comcast DOT net
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