Backups at Jefferson Lab

Tape Backups

The Computing and Networking Infrastructure (CNI) group is committed to providing reliable and redundant backups of all system and user generated data on each of the systems we administer.  Our intent is not to only provide a service to the computer users who may wish to retrieve archived documents that are no longer stored on primary disk storage.  We are also preparing for both random mechanical disk failures as well as for the recovery of Jefferson Lab (JLab) work and research in the event of massive physical disaster (i.e. fire, flood, hurricane).  Further details on backup procedures and policies can be found on the CNI Backup and Disaster Policy page.

Computer users are responsible for backing up all data that is not stored on a disk managed by CNI. This includes all personal computers (Windows, Linux, and Macintosh), as well as, workstations not under the support of CNI.  The Accelerator Controls and Engineering (ACE) team manages the majority of desktops for the Accelerator Division and Engineering Division.  If important desktop data is saved on the home or group areas (on Windows the J: or M: or O: drives) they will be backed up.  We do not back up individual desktops.

Backups are maintained of the following centrally maintained directories that are provided from central network fileservers: home, sgroup, group, apps, and site. The scratch, work, and cache directories are not backed up.  Detailed information on centrally provided directories can be found on the JLab-CUE Directory Structure page.

Data backups at Jefferson Lab (JLab) fall into four types, (1) File System backups, (2) Virtual Machines (VM) backups, (3) Business Database File backups, and (4) Email backups.

File System Backups

File system backups come from file systems that are normally touched by human interaction.  They include home directories, group directories, software repositories, CAD drawings, databases, and many others.  These backups go to Tape.  Each week, the previous week’s backups are removed from the Data Center and are taken to a fire proof safe in another building.  They stay in that safe for 2 weeks, and then they are rotated back to the same building as the Data Center, but kept in a tape safe room on another floor.

 Backup Class

 Backup Retention Time 

 User-daily (incremental)

 1 month

 User-weekly (full)

 1 year

 User-monthly (full)

 Forever

 System-daily (incremental)

 1 month

 System-weekly (full)

 6 months

 Database-daily (incremental) 

 1 month

 Databases-weekly (full)

 1 year

 Database-monthly (full)

 Forever

Virtual Machine Backups

VM backups are a disaster recovery (DR) backup only.  VMs are backed up incrementally every night.  Full backups are taken every 7 days (or when an incremental backup goes over 50% of the full backup).  We keep at least the last 14 versions of a VM in the backup system before they are deleted.   These backups are written to a disk based fileserver only.  (no tape).  The physical location of the stored backups alternate daily between CEBAF Center and Test Lab.

Business Database Backups

Business sensitive databases are routinely backed up via the File System Backups described above.  Given the crucial importance of these backups to the business needs of JLab, extra backups are completed.   These database files are first encrypted by JLab and then they are synchronized with an offsite file backup service.  This is an automated process and requires no administrative actions.  These backups are synchronized with the offsite service daily.  Due to the nature of the database dumps, these are all full backups. 

Email Backups

The JLab email system is backed up nightly.  Each night, some fraction of the user accounts get full backups, while the rest of the user accounts get incremental backups.   This is to reduce the nightly full backup load on the email system.  The backups go to disk, where they stay 45 days before being deleted.  These backups are replicated to an additional server located in the Test Lab.