Changing client OS from Win7 to Linux - advice + question

I got an ancient core 2 quad running Win7. It has four hard discs attached of media files. Music, films, etc. These are NTFS formatted and simple SMB file shares into my house.

UrBackup currently backs up those drives using File Mode. Only the media files are backed up, never bothered with the OS.

I am planning to migrate the OS to a Linux. Just going to whack a SSD in there then mount those drives and recreate the SMB shares.

Question: Can I re-link the UrBackup backups to this same data and just continue? These are FILE only backups so nothing will actually change.

What details do I need to lift from the W7 OS and take to Linux to allow the backups to be recognised as the same thing?

The main reason for the upgrade is due to Win7 being (rightly) abandoned by urbackup. I can see a hardware swap coming at some point too, but for now I would like to keep it simple and know how to just migrate these file backups without starting fresh.

From my limited knowledge and use, the only way i could see this working was if the client is actually treated to be the same client in urBackup as it is now… so this likely would require backing up certain keys in the current client, loading the new client replacing those keys and running it, which in theory shold then look at the same old data / client in the server.

Ive never tested this and its a great question, as i have similar issues for a different reason.

I would argue though, unless you have deleted data you need to keep in the backup, just install a new client set the same backups and re-backup loosing the history, it is after all a “backup” your current running version should be the one you want to keep, not historic data, if you need that then keep a folder live with all that deleted stuff in it. Doing it this way would allow you to keep the old disconnected client in the system long enough to access old data while the new one has the live dataset backing up in it.

While it’s probably possible by playing with the keys as you mentioned, from my experience it’s not worth it, as things could break or malfunction. It’s best to start with a new client.

The bright side is that since the files already exist on the server, they won’t occupy more space. You could leave the old client on the server, and this way preserve the history via the web interface (either as admin, or by setting the right permissions to the new client). Just make sure to archive the backups so they won’t be deleted by the cleanup process.

Thank you to you both. This makes a lot of sense. So the dedup will recognise the same data and not double my storage needs.

Do I assume that the archive option still uses the same dedup’d data?

The main thing I was trying to avoid is suddenly having double the storage requirement on the server. And taking many hours on the first backups. You are correct I don’t really need the history, it is the data that is important.

I am guessing that every file will get a slight tweak anyway due to the user rights being different. If I understand urbackup correctly, that means just a little new data stored.

And the more I think about your replies, the easier that makes it for me to buy some new drives and also migrate the disc formats to more native *nix formats. Some of the discs in that server have been powered for over 3000 days non-stop, so it is time for a change.

Process over a few months:

  • Add new Linux boot drive
  • Mount old NTFS drives, update user and SMB file rights
  • Reproduce same URBackup file set.
  • URBackup backs up that data, but should store very little “new” data
  • After a few months…
  • Purge the old win7 machine from the URBackup server
  • Buy some new hard drives and migrate files from NTFS to XFS\ZFS whatever
  • Update URBackup to still see the same file set.

If I have understood this correctly, through all those shuffles of hardware, the actual backup data on the server will be mostly unchanged. And there should be no big increase in size of storage required.

ZFS has a huge overhead, we avoided that with new QNAP NAS units… ive seen people buy a new NAS ($5000 with Intel XEON) using QuTS with ZFS run slower than the 8 year old NAS they removed (which was almost 10 times cheaper). We use RAID6 which is double redundant.

Also for what ever reason, QNAP is unable to EXPAND any volume that uses ZFS format, i cant say if this is due to an OS change (as the QuTS OS uses ZFS) or maybe its some odd result of the use of ZFS and how it works. I cant believe this is something they did away with as many use the volume expansion and migration system, so it has to be connected with how ZFS format works and data storage formula.

May just keep it simple then with plain Ext4. Power efficient would be an important consideration. The Linux will be a stop gap for now, just to get shot of the Win7 OS. Disks are all kinds of odd sizes so will not suit a RAID setup.

Longer term likely this will end up as an UNRAID box of some form. The Urbackup sits on a UNRAID server as I like the way I can use mis-matched sizes of hard disks. Easier to upgrade storage sizes one disk at a time then.