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Comment How big is "big"? (Score 1) 118

The first thing I have to say to everyone who asks me to design a backup solution is "what's your recovery solution? what are your recovery needs?". Then design your backups around that. Don't back up anything that won't be restored. You have to protect against both disaster recovery (loss of total system) and operational recovery (file deletion, corruption, historical trails). DR for a PC is usually from a stock image; OR for a PC can be managed through much better methods than PC backup.

The only thing I do at work all day every day is backup. I'm certified on one of the major commercial backup applications, two purpose built backup appliances from different vendors, and have formal training in a few other commercial applications. We have a team of 6 that manage backup for the company's data internally, another team of 5 that manage backup for our IT customers, and a couple of part-time backup admins for rogue corporate business units. We have an offshore team of 12 that support backup & storage for both internal & external 24x7 (max 3 on shift at any time). Internally our biggest backup server runs 10,000jobs/day for 1300 hosts; across all internal servers it's something like 25,000 jobs on 4,000 host. I spent almost $1M in capital this year just to refresh EOSL backup infra, and have asked for $3.1M next year to get into the 21st century for all our backup storage. My colleagues have spent at least as much in growth this year. Across the enterprise we protect 12PB of front end data. Globally we are considered a small customer to our backup software/hardware vendors. We don't do endpoint protection because it's not worth the effort.

If you really are going ahead with what you've described (I suggest you don't), then my biggest worry would be software & config deployment during version upgrades, OS re-installs and infrastructure changes. If you add another backup server are you going to have touch every PC? If you upgrade your server to a version that drops support for a given client version and the user doesn't bother upgrading can you push it down? Can you make sure it gets pushed the next time he logs in?

If you have any remote users, use a tool that does client side deduplication and incremental forever with synthetic full backups being hydrated on the server.
Know what your requirements are for portable media, and make sure the tool you use includes/excludes it as per corp policy. Will rsync of / pick up /cdrom? Set the users expectations appropriately and communicate with them what they can expect of you. Make sure everyone knows where their division of responsibility starts and ends, and make sure there's training material available that aligns with those divisions.

That said, if you really are a big company, then forget the endpoints, put your user's data on LAN shares, SharePoint, Exchange, etc and protect their data using server backup. Encrypt the endpoints in case some PHB decides to not use the LAN shares and stores corp data locally, but if he didn't put it on the LAN as per corporate policy, then let him sweat it out for losing his data when the laptop gets stolen/dropped/dies/etc. I have no sympathy for anyone that doesn't follow documented policies & procedures. They all get the stock corporate image, which gives them a personal and a team share. I don't even cheat like some of my colleagues, my laptop is not backed up to our backup servers and I've had it replaced/reimaged every 2 years or so. I keep my historical PST files in two locations. Two hours of setting up my windows preferences or importing app settings from dumps I put on my home drive and I'm back in business. Data doesn't belong on PCs - I wish they were all dumb terminals and any machine you log in to mounts your home drive, runs apps off shares or in remote sessions, and your profile follows you around. Or follow the mainframe strategy and RDP into your desktop / use VDI.

Anything less than 20 endpoints I'd consider small, go ahead and use simple tools like rsync. More than 20 you need an easy to deploy, intuitive to use background service that connects with a central backup server that manages everything from schedules to include lists and retentions. Give your users a point & click interface to run manual backups and restores (or don't, and all restore requests come to you [which sucks because you can't do your job and live your life if you're always working on someone else's problem]). Use software that controls access so that only the user/machine that made the backup can pull down a recovery - you don't want the night guard pilfering the CEO's data just because he knows how to spoof an IP when the CEO's offline.

I can't recommend a particular OSS or even free closed tool that is, what I would consider, good enough for big business. I played with Amanda/ZManda very briefly a few years ago but configuring the rules was less straightforward than I anticipated. Veeam was mentioned earlier and their commercial product seems to have a decent reputation so their free product could be worth considering. All the rest that I could speak about are not centralized and/or have way too much administrative effort to provide users with the level.

Lastly, don't forget - nothing is free. Open source software may not have any licensing costs but in my experience requires more internal support than a well built commercial offering or even service provider. There are a lot of products out there where the client software is no charge and you just pay the service provider a few cents per gig.

Comment Assumptions... (Score 1) 142

“We see magnetized rocks on the Mars surface,” ... “And so we know Mars had a magnetic field at one time"

I think all we can say with reasonable certainty is that rocks on the Mars surface were exposed to a magnetic field. As far as I've found, there's no observable evidence that the magnetic field must have come from Mars itself, or even that the rocks were impregnated with magnetic alignment while they were on Mars.

Europa for example has a magnetic field that was induced by Jupiter's own field and was not created by Europa itself.

Comment Re:Pack and Move (Score 1) 370

I came to say almost the exact same thing.

Go offline. Live in the real world. Take up farming or some other sustainable life-style; olive farms in Tuscany are nice. You can probably find somewhere you can work in exchange for room and board. Probably 6 months or less before the band-wagon wears off and the supporters move on, but personally I'd go for 2 years to be sure.

Comment Remote login (Score 1) 125

When I was a developer 15 years ago I used gnome's virtual desktop with a 2x3 grid. Didn't have (m)any issues with cross contanimation. Mouse edge for .2 seconds for transition as well as hot keys. Today as an admin I use remote login to a server, same user account (hence same prefs) with multiple concurrent sessions. When a new problem interrupts my current tasks I open a new session.

Comment Well Rounded Governement (Score 1) 157

The key issue I've read about relating to your campaign is that the government is "illiterate when it comes to technology". Governing, like managing and leading, requires being an expert in working with advisers, it's up to those advisers to be experts in their fields. Technology aside, what makes you more qualified than other candidates in the fields of National Defense; Foreign Affairs; Environmental Protection; Infrastructure Management; Resource Management; Financial Management; Employment Stability; and Resource Sustainability, etc?

Comment Re:... How can they even watch the internet? (Score 2) 63

Are you trying to say mongrel or Mongol. Either way your ignorance is amazing; I don't mean it's a good thing, just that I am amazed someone can be so ignorant.

I believe natural selection is a good thing, but not so much about manual selection. Humans make too many mistakes to be allowed to make those decisions.

Submission + - After We're Gone: The Last Electrical Device Still Working 3

Leomania writes: After watching a post-apocalyptic Sci-Fi short on YouTube (there are quite a few) and then having our robot vacuum take off and start working the room, I just wondered what would be the last electric/electronic device still functioning if humans were suddenly gone. I don't mean sitting there with no power but would work if the power came back on; rather, something continuously powered, doing the task it was designed for. Are we talking a few years, decades, or far longer?

Comment It's just a tactile photo - what's the problem? (Score 2) 63

Did people have the same dilemma with developed photos when they were first becoming widespread? You put it on your mantle beside the family portrait. You give it to a loved one. Give it to a blind friend in wallet size.

When my mother in law first heard about 3D printers and this type of technology, she wanted to run out and buy a 3D printer so she could make a family 'portrait' of statuettes. She still doesn't understand that she also needs a 3D scanner, not just a 3D printer...

Comment Re:Store two digital copies, but keep one off-site (Score 1) 446

I concur. Use the cheapest long term storage media and have multiple copies. In keeping with your current strategy, acquire two portable fire-proof safes that only you know how to open. Keep your original data at home, put each safe at a friend/family member's house. Now you have three copies of your data in three locations. If one copy ever becomes damaged, take immediate action to replicate an existing copy to a new 3rd location.

Comment Re:Solution: Stay off the bleeding edge (Score 1) 179

Perhaps my language did not clearly convey reality. Let me provide an example. Version X is released on Jan 1. Probably will not ever be installed (see below). Version X.1 is released on Mar 1, might get installed, but not before Nov; for this example let's assume that patches keep coming. X.1.2 comes out May 1 - still not installing it, yet. Jul 1 comes around, if the features in X are absolutely required, and we've had it in the lab, and the customer acknowledges that we are not responsible should the product not perform as documented, we'll install it. Again, let's assume it's a no-go. Sep 1: X.1.3 comes out, we'll aim to install it in November, along with any patches and hotfixes listed in the latest release notes. Bottom line, major release X comes out in January, we'll probably not be running it before November.

Prime example, Windows 2012 began rollout on production servers in January 2015 and we'll have >2000 installs by the end of June. My job is to make sure we never have more than 24 hours data loss on any system, can't do that unless I'm sure the product performs as advertised. In my line of work, there's nothing worse than being told every job/transaction completes successfully but it turns out the data is unusable or empty.

For most of the software I use, a major release X is two digits, such as 5.2, 5.3, and 5.4 or 7, 7.1, 7.5 and 7.6 - each is a major release in its own right, so I'm dealing with or 5.4.5. We're finding that, where in the past the product usually went GA as 7.1.0 with a few hotfixes for corner cases, 7.6 didn't go GA until, and the vendor is recommending to skip straight to 7.6.1. When it came time to install 7.5, you needed to install the patch before starting the application. Another example, 5.5.0 isn't GA yet and they're up to One of my colleagues in a different business unit installed RA at the vendor's direction for case resolution, and he was hit by a bug that caused a complete filesystem panic and 18 hour service outage.

Now, to put some real world application to your original statement... Can you name any major release of commercial software that needed 0 or 1 patches? Anything from Microsoft, Apple, any Linux or BSD distribution, Solaris, AIX, HP-UX? Anything from NetApp, EMC, Cisco, Brocade, SAP, CA, Google, Symantec, Mozilla, VMWare, CommVault, Oracle, IBM, McAfee, MySQL, Sybase, Apache? These are the major vendors I deal with. The reality is that software products have become so complex that the vendor cannot test every use case before releasing the product, and invariably GA releases are getting buggier and buggier.

My leadership team fully supports my position - and I wasn't even the one to come up with it. I just live(work) by it. Maybe the leadership team of one of the world's top 100 sustainable corporations are all "fucking incompetent", but I think you're the outlier in this case.

About beta....
My hard and fast rule is at work, not at home. Yes I used beta software on a personal device that is not used for any primary function. It's not my only tablet and its far from being my only computing device. There is nothing unique on it, I have good, complete, tested backups both locally and off-device, and I thoroughly studied and understood the roll-back process before starting the install. I had relegated that device to lab/disposable status when I did the install. That said, the beta label from PA isn't the same as beta for other products, i.e. Windows. Once PA makes a stable release, that's it, they're not updating that branch ever again and have moved on to other Android releases. Windows OTOH, once the product goes GA, they keep patching it.

Comment Solution: Stay off the bleeding edge (Score 2) 179

I have a hard and fast rule at work: unless it's a real lab device, never ever ever install anything that has been out less than 6 months and is not on its 3rd patch.

It doesn't matter how much a customer wants (read: is willing to pay for) a feature that's out in the next release, if the product version is X.0 or even X.4.0 - if the last number is a not a 3 - I'm not installing it unless I've had it in the lab for 6 months and have thrown everything I can think of at it, including production size load & stress testing. Normally when they find out how much that lab costs they back down. The lab I have cannot provide a production sized load so its basically useless beyond functioning as a classroom for new features.

I have a Nexus 7 (tilapia) and it got Android 4.4.4 loaded in January. It's actually ParanoidAndroid 4.6 beta 6, which I read as 4.6.6. That beta was released on Nov 3rd, it was the 6th patch so I only waited 3 months. Before that I was running their stable release 4.45, which I installed 1 month after its release. Before that I was stock.

Some programming languages manage to absorb change, but withstand progress. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982