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Author Topic: PBX Backup?  (Read 5689 times)

apemberton

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PBX Backup?
« on: 17 January 2012, 11:42:14 am »

I have now got to the stage that my home PBX (Freeswitch running on an eSata Sheevaplug) has become reliable enough to change over all room phones to the switch (except one analogue phone in case of loss of house power - the switch and LAN core is on UPS).

I now feel that I must have standby hardware to cover Sheevaplug/disk catastrophes. I currently have a spare eSata Sheevaplug and a spare 1TB drive which can substitute for hardware failures.

My question is how to keep track of changes of programs and parameters performed on the live switch so that there is no major disruption. I could consider a hot-standby approach which two eSata Sheevaplugs plus disks keep track of each other (but how?) but that seems to me to be a waste of resources and precious UPS power.

I guess it would be possible to connect a USB drive to the live PBX Sheevaplug and periodically transfer the image from the eSata to the USB drive (preferably in the wee small hours -CRON job?).

Any thoughts?
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Tony Pemberton

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Re: PBX Backup?
« Reply #1 on: 17 January 2012, 06:05:29 pm »

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spare eSata Sheevaplug and a spare 1TB drive
Don't leave them lying around in a drawer, power them up at least once a month, otherwise when the crisis strikes and you need to rely on them....

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a hot-standby approach which two eSata Sheevaplugs
I suggest you take a look at 'High Availability Clustering' for a few ideas, you would need to scale it down to a 'miniature' version for the Sheevas, but the concepts (and the software you would use) are still sound. The Sheeva supports watchdog, make use of it.

Test, test, test....and when you are sure you have got everything right, pull the plug on the master and observe! don't wait for the (real thing) drama to turn into a crisis :)

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how to keep track of changes of programs and parameters
'rsync' will work this out and transfer for you  (no need to copy whole images, although initially cloning the master system is a very good idea, think boot sectors, 'blkid' and everything that entails), and could easily run from cron.

You will need to take care when backing up the master when it is running, or the clone will be missing the cached program data from the master, but will get other live data, lock files, etc, of a running system for processes which do not exist that can cause problems (when you do boot it). I am unfamiliar with Freeswitch so cannot be specific, sorry.

My personal preference at home is to frequently rsync all the nodes onto my workstation via the network (big disk on workstation, small file-systems on the nodes, shell scripts save all the typing). Once a month'ish I connect an external big disk to my workstation and rsync the whole internal disk across, and then stash the drive in a safe place.

If you are not comfortable using the command line (I expect you are), 'unison' is a friendly front end to 'rsync'.


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Advocatus Diaboli - My agenda is not to give you the answer, but to guide your thoughts so you derive it for yourself!

apemberton

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Re: PBX Backup?
« Reply #2 on: 18 January 2012, 12:24:15 pm »

Thanks for that, rsync is probably my solution. I am just going to try it out in a parallel non-live setup and it could help in other duplicated servers I have.

Other points noted.

Thanks again  :)
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Tony Pemberton

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Re: PBX Backup?
« Reply #3 on: 18 January 2012, 09:37:46 pm »

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other duplicated servers
If any of these are 'professional work' servers you may need to get political and consider professional backup tools for the distro in question (if you screw up a rsync, it's your fault, but if amanda screws up, it's amanda's fault :)
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Advocatus Diaboli - My agenda is not to give you the answer, but to guide your thoughts so you derive it for yourself!

apemberton

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Re: PBX Backup?
« Reply #4 on: 20 January 2012, 09:02:05 pm »

Psst, who is this Amanda? Nudge-nudge. Phone number?  ;D

No, it is not a commercial setup, all this stuff is for my home. I am sole administrator, resident geek etc. Frankly I don't need it to survive but Gotta keep my mind in gear after my working days. Doing it all myself gives me both grief and satisfaction. Sheevaplugs help with a low-cost (my pension isn't that big) yet reasonably reliable (now and hopefully without power cuts) home network.

 
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Tony Pemberton
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