Backing Up Media To Multiple DVDs : Ubuntu

By | 2007/01/10

Today I have a question that I was hoping the general public could help answer. I’ve been looking for a solution for this off and on for a few weeks and so far I am not finding anything. The question involves backing up a hard drive to multiple DVDs without the need to manually select files and check for remaining space.

I have a drive holding roughly 60G of media files (.ogg audio & assorted video). I use this as my central storage for media on my local network (see Setting up Gnump3d for one of the ways I access it).

I have not backed up this data in quite some time and I would like to archive the data to DVD but I don’t want to manually sift through each file and folder to try and squeeze just enough onto each DVD.

Is there a method, whether via the command line or GUI, that will check the current archive, calculate the required DVDs needed to backup and copy the media files to most effectively use the DVD space? I remember, back in the days of floppy disks, that WinZip would allow to save an archive over the span of multiple disks. I would assume this would be an option via another modern backup solution, but it seems to be avoiding me pretty well.

I appreciate the help. I’d like to get this backed up before the inevitable happens.

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10 thoughts on “Backing Up Media To Multiple DVDs : Ubuntu

  1. Mikael

    I second dar.
    kdar is a nice frontend to it.

  2. SFA_AOK

    I’d be grateful if you blog about this in the future, solutions you tried but were lacking and what solution you ended up going for, possibly a tutorial if you think it’d help?

  3. Sean

    I think what you need is dar [1]. It’s a command line archiving tool that you can use to archive your entire system, your homedir, or any folder. It can compress the archive, and it can split it into slices of whatever size you want. So if you were burning to CDs you met set the slice size to 600MB. Dar would split the archive into however many 600MB files as necessary. What’s more, dar can pause after producing each slice, so that you can burn the slice to a CD then delete it (or do anything you else you like) before telling dar to continue. This means you only have to have 600MB of free space on your disk, even if your total archive is much bigger.

    Last I checked there wasn’t a GUI way to do this on Ubuntu. Home User Backup [2] will be the solution, but doesn’t appear usable yet. I recommend the command-line. There is also KDar but it’s broken in edgy and looks like the package will be dropped rather than fixed.

    I wrote a detailed email about current and future backup options in Ubuntu, maybe I should dig it out and make a wiki entry.


  4. Oou Seaman

    The biggest shops use Amanda. I have
    tried several others without being

    Amanda uses tar and can write to almost
    any media. Tar is not perfect. But
    until the biggest shops find something they think is better, I want to do
    what they do.

    A tutorial on Amanda would be great.

  5. jomiz80

    Another option for this would be to use the linux SystemRescueCd [1] and use partimage to create your DVD-size backup files. Partimage can backup up a partition; compress it using gzip or bzip2; and, it can separate the archive into user-defined chunks. Since it is running from a restore cd, the user needs to manually mount a drive, which entails a minor understanding of the command line.

    There is a good thread on this topic on the UbuntuForums[2]. This is how I learned to backup my partitions. The only real snafu I encountered was a corrupt ext3 file system that was fixed by ‘forcing’ a check using ‘e2fsck -f’.


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