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markb
Posts: 124
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Re: simple backup processes for individual users and Classroom work

Fri May 11, 2012 1:45 pm

It occurs to me that for people unused to using Linux, there is no easy way to backup any work they have done on the Pi. By easy, I mean simple to do for a typical user who may have access to a Windows PC, or to a teacher in a school faced with a handful of SD cards containing students work.

I’m sure we’ll all agree that there are many ‘good practice’ guides for development, some that will contradict others, but there is one habit we would want all Pi users to pick up: BACK UP YOUR WORK!

Taking the first class of users, how can they easily take copies of any code etc? There seems to be two options:

1. If they have network access, make use of a network file mount to copy from the SD card to another device.

2. Take a direct copy from the SD card from another device (clearly requires a separate SD card reader)

I’m sure an easy-to-use guide could be created for the first option; the second is a bit more complicated. Unless the back-up device is running Linux (or OSX), a Windows PC wont be able to read the partition that user’s work is stored in. so we either find a way of making windows read that relevant part of the card, get the user to copy data to the windows-readable partitions whilst using the Pi or possibly produce a simple bootable CD image containing options to copy data.

Expanding on the latter option, I also foresee a teacher will have more complex requirements, such as:

Re-imaging an SD card after corruption with a basic build

Automatic backup of a student’s work after a teaching session

Automatic restore of a student’s work before a teaching session

Copying a common set of instructions, tools, documents etc to a batch of SD cards

Etc.

I don’t know if this is being looked at as part of the “Education Pack” work, if so I apologise for the duplication.

Your thoughts?

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cheery
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Re: simple backup processes for individual users and Classroom work

Fri May 11, 2012 3:26 pm

You could store your code in git and/or provide a cloud service for small classrooms that sit in LAN.

I think it's quite okay and easy to access the SD-card too, assuming you have a linux system. ^^

You might like an another RPi with an SD-card reader.

If you'd like to connect just two RPi systems, would that be possible with an ethernet cable?

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markb
Posts: 124
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Re: simple backup processes for individual users and Classroom work

Fri May 11, 2012 3:56 pm

cheery said:


You could store your code in git and/or provide a cloud service for small classrooms that sit in LAN.

I think it's quite okay and easy to access the SD-card too, assuming you have a linux system. ^^

You might like an another RPi with an SD-card reader.

If you'd like to connect just two RPi systems, would that be possible with an ethernet cable?



I'm sure you can, but I think we will need to lend a hand, I'm not being rude to you but I think if I said to an ITC teacher "you could store your code in git and/or provide a cloud service for small classrooms that sit in LAN" they'd probably call security.

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Ed Raket
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Re: simple backup processes for individual users and Classroom work

Fri May 11, 2012 9:13 pm

Are we talking back-up of the Pi's SD, or back-up of the changes to the Pi's SD.. ?

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SN
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Re: simple backup processes for individual users and Classroom work

Fri May 11, 2012 11:25 pm

I think I raised a similar issue weeks and weeks ago - how an IT teacher could do a quick restore/reset on a set of SD cards/raspis for a class of 30 or so - the answer to me now would appear to be that you have a standard SD card image that NFS mounts to an expendable filesystem image elsewhere that can be simply backedup, overwritten or restored at will from a central point - all raspi's are equal essentially until they pick up the differentiating login info which links into the pupil login area - I suppose you're into a centralised LDAP solution here...
Steve N – binatone mk4->intellivision->zx81->spectrum->cbm64->cpc6128->520stfm->pc->raspi ?

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markb
Posts: 124
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Re: simple backup processes for individual users and Classroom work

Sat May 12, 2012 7:20 am

Ed Raket said:


Are we talking back-up of the Pi's SD, or back-up of the changes to the Pi's SD.. ?



The latter. SD cards are are easily lost or damaged

Bakul Shah
Posts: 313
Joined: Sun Sep 25, 2011 1:25 am

Re: simple backup processes for individual users and Classroom work

Sat May 12, 2012 11:13 am

If all the RasPis are networked and a file server is available, you can rsync to the server. A simple script should make it easy.
A better option might be to buy a USB sdhc card reader and rsync to it. The card reader will make the system pretty self contained. A simple script can be used to organize backups in a directory structure such as 2012/0512/

Max

Re: simple backup processes for individual users and Classro

Sat May 12, 2012 1:17 pm

Another option would be to not only store the files on a central server, but also run the applications on that central server and use the Raspberry only as terminal.
Using Edubuntu to turn a normal Intel/AMD computer into the central terminal server is not that difficult, and something even folks that don't know what git is should be able to manage.

Image

Matter of ticking a box during installation, add users to the system, and you are good to go on the central server side.


Not sure how well a Raspberry is suitable for the terminal client side (e.g. I do not know if the USB ethernet controller won't give additional lag, etc.), but it is something I'm going to give a try.

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Morgaine
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rsnapshot

Sun May 13, 2012 4:35 am

rsnapshot is one of the best backup systems out there. With very little effort it will perform snapshot backups from one or more machines to a local drive or alternatively to a remote host, using the highly reputed rsync. It's kicked off whenever you like from crontab or manually.

In the Pi environment, it would be simplicity itself to back up the SD card to a USB thumbdrive, and the backup snapshots don't take up significantly more room than the original because they're done incrementally. What's more, the backup is fully browseable all the time.

rsnapshot really gets my reward for ease of use and high utility. It almost makes backup a pleasure, and that's saying something.

Morgaine.
Intolerance is a failure of education. Education is predicated on tolerance of the uneducated.

Old Frank
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Location: North Wales

Re: simple backup processes for individual users and Classro

Wed Jul 03, 2013 8:29 am

Morgaine, is a USB thumbdrive one of those memory sticks you poke into the USB port?

mccp
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Re: simple backup processes for individual users and Classro

Wed Jul 03, 2013 9:05 am

I believe Morgaine has left the forums so I'll answer your question:

yes it is.

W. H. Heydt
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Re: simple backup processes for individual users and Classro

Wed Jul 03, 2013 4:38 pm

This discussion is a good example of why I think there needs to be a "Raspberry Server" board with a SATA port. My guess is that such a thing is 2 to 5 years in the future...

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