Running a headless Linux meant I was running disk less, and had no backups.

I had a Linux server and had a USB attached disk which I used to do backups. When I logged on after boot using the locally attached screen and keyboard the USB disk was visible. I configured an auto backup procedure, and checked it worked whenever I powered on the server.

I got into the a habit of using telnet to logon and accessing the system remotely. By chance, I checked to see if the backup disk was full, and found the disk was not visible. When I logged on with a local screen and keyboard, the disk was there, and had not been updated for over 100 days.

Digging around I found that USB disks can be mounted at startup or when a user logs on.

The mount information is in a file /etc/fstab.

I used the Ubuntu program “disks” to display and manage the disks. I selected a USB disk, clicked on the settings button, and selected “Edit Mount Options”. By default it had “User Session Defaults” on – which means mount the USB when a user logs on locally. I set

  • User Session Defaults off
  • Mount at system startup
  • Show in user interface
  • Mount Point /mnt/backup1

Next time I rebooted in headless mode, the disk was there as /mnt/backup.

I checked my backups – and they were done. I remember one of the points from when I use to do a MQ health check with customers.

Always check your backups are being done – and are backup what you expect.

Colin Paice

I should have paid more attention!

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