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18th Large Installation System Administration Conference — Abstract

Pp. 159–170 of the Proceedings

LifeBoat - An Autonomic Backup and Restore Solution

Ted Bonkenburg, Dejan Diklic, Benjamin Reed, and Mark Smith, IBM Almaden Research Center; Michael Vanover, IBM PCD; Steve Welch and Roger Williams, IBM Almaden Research Center


We present an innovative backup and restore solution, called LifeBoat, for Windows machines. Our solution provides for local and remote backups and ``bare metal'' restores. Classic backup systems do a file system backup and require the machine to be installed before the system can be restored or they do a block for block backup of the system image which allows for a ``bare metal'' restore, but makes it hard to access individual files in the backup. Our solution does a file system backup while still allowing the system to be completely restored onto a new hard drive.

Windows presents some particularly difficult problems during both backup and restore. We describe the information we store during backup to enable the ``bare metal'' restore. We also describe some of the problems we ran into and how we overcame them. Not only do we provide a way to restore a machine, but we also describe the rescue environment which allows machine diagnostics and recovery of files that were not backed up. This paper presents an autonomic workgroup backup solution called LifeBoat that increases the ``Built-In Value'' of the PC without adding hardware, administrative cost, or complexity. LifeBoat applies autonomic principles to the age old problem of data backup and recovery.

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