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[rdiff-backup-users] First restore gone horribly wrong

From: chris young
Subject: [rdiff-backup-users] First restore gone horribly wrong
Date: Fri, 17 Sep 2004 12:52:01 -0700 (PDT)

I have been using rdiff-backup to back up my web server for a while. Now I have had my first restore attempt and it wasn't pretty.
I was hoping someone could help me see where I went wrong including if the way I am trying to use rdiff-backup in the first place was not the best solution to my problem.
I have a web server in a remote facility. I have SSH access to it. It runs Red Hat 9.
I have another remote server in the same facility that I have been using as a backup server.
I installed rdiff-backup on both machines and set up a key so I could do unattended backups each night to the backup server.
My intent was to basically be able to use my backup data to effectively restore the web server to its running state before it crashed so I was backing up everything except the following directories:
- /dev
- /mant
- /tmp
- /proc
- /var/qmail/queue
The reason I was not backing up those is from a recomendation I got about those directories.
Since I don't have physical access to the machines, in the event of a major malfunction, the facility techs have to re-image the hard drive as it was originally. Then it is up to me to get it back to the state it was in prior to the crash.
Well it finally happened. My hard drive started to go. At first the problem was just a few directories that had input/output errors when accessing them. It quickly progressed though.
I am running MySQL, Apache, Qmail, Plesk and a few other software packages.
When the techs left me the re-imaged drive the operating system was the same version as I had in my backups but MySQL was not. I thought I could just restore everything I had backed up, overwriting the older versions of software, and end up with the system back where I started from.
I am realizing that may have been my first mistake, assuming it could be that easy.
But things really went wrong when it became clear that the ID's for the accounts on the two machines didn't match up and as a result the permissions and ownership of the restored files was a complete mess. It was then that I actually read the part in the manual about mapping the UID's. I was completely unaware that would even be an issue.
Unfortunately, because Red Hat 9 is officially dead, the server facility no longer keeps drive images available to restore from. They had to install from rpm's which took them 12 hours to complete vs. the two hours they guarantee to restore from a drive image. And since my restore attempt corrupted some operating system files, I get to do it all over again.
So I am looking for some guindance and feedback please.
1. Was my original intent of being able to just restore files over a freshly provisioned hard drive realistic? vs. just installing the correct software and then restoring the data only instead of the apps?
2. Is anyone else doing anything like this and can you share your method and setup?
3. In the future, I assume I can just set up a UID map by looking at the /etc/passwd file on each machine? Or do I need to look elsewhere for that?
Perhaps I know just enough about Linux to really get myself into trouble like this.

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