how to back up data and impact on the environment

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Re: how to back up data and impact on the environment

Postby debiman » 2018-11-22 06:20

stevepusser wrote:
*cough*
not according to your other posts.
The old "You f*** one goat, and what does everyone call you?!?" story, eh?

oh i'm sure we will get more nickname-worthy quotes from MagicPoulp, the user who administers their system with a philosophical, nay, poetical attitude!
;)
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Re: how to back up data and impact on the environment

Postby debiman » 2018-11-22 06:25

MagicPoulp wrote:The policy in my company is that everyone gets a new computer every 2 or 3 years. I think this is wrong. One person should get a new computer when the previous computer stops working.'

There is a reason why there is such a policy. It takes a lot of time to set up a computer and install programs. Moreover, they are scared people will lose precious data. Many people do their work without having their work backed up daily.

In general, in most companies I have been to, people do not care much about the environment.

i understand.
unfortunately, the time/cost factor will always be the strongest argument.
fortunately, many companies are open to changing things if they prove to not be more expensive, or sometimes even cheaper. and many countries' laws support them in that.

btw, these cars, phones and computers don't get thrown away after 2 or 3 years - they get sold on.
enabling countless linux users to breathe new life into yesterdays corporate laptops, for many more years!
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Re: how to back up data and impact on the environment

Postby Segfault » 2018-11-22 14:01

debiman wrote:
Segfault wrote:Well, what about using good old UNIX way.
etc.

yay, back to the sixties!
seriously, what if they need to take their laptop on a business trip, or even home in the evening?

Laptop is different story indeed. I was talking about LAN workstations.
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Re: how to back up data and impact on the environment

Postby CwF » 2018-11-22 14:22

debiman wrote:btw, these cars, phones and computers don't get thrown away after 2 or 3 years - they get sold on.
enabling countless linux users to breathe new life into yesterdays corporate laptops, for many more years!

Absolutely! The OP is looking at this in a typically uniformed way. Nerds everywhere benefit from dumpster diving, but that's not the whole story about 'waste'. Sometimes, efficiency improvements pay to throw away stuff. In large scale IT I can imagine electricity being a large budget line. In my world, it would be diesel fuel, and lost opportunity cost. One machine down in the wrong place at the wrong time could wipe out weeks of budget. I've seen new machines save $600/day in fuel cost, that's a free 'operator'. An old machine, that I could make work forever, could cost up to $100k/year to operate. A new $250k+ machine can lower that to $20-30k. I'm not the IT budget director, but I'd gamble the generalities are similar.

The machines I speak of make 'perfect pistes' in the most beautiful places in the world, perhaps for the most environmentaly sensitive hypocrites anywhere...
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Re: how to back up data and impact on the environment

Postby debiman » 2018-11-23 05:53

all that said, e-waste is a serious problem of ridiculous proportions.
it's most apparent with mobile phones & laptops (not the corporate models that have a high resale value, but the consumer shit, chromebooks and whathaveyou, that nobody wants to buy anymore when they start lagging after a year or two).
it's a grave we've been digging from 3 sides for a long time now:
  • china and far-east producing & selling the components for a pittance, probably harming environment and underage workers in unimaginable ways along the way
  • electronics companies pushig for new devices instead of repair or soft- or hardware upgrades (it's an old story, built-in obsoletion taken to the next level)
  • consumers being effing sheeple as always
still don't see what it has to do with backups though.
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Re: how to back up data and impact on the environment

Postby MagicPoulp » 2018-11-26 09:22

Segfault wrote:
There are 2 things to back up:
- the data, the files. This can be done manually using a cloud storage, a network, a USB stick.
- The system installation with all the programs definition, configuration, etc. This is not simple to backup. I tried a few times with dd and rsync to copies the partition image. I was not able to install it on a formated partition.

Your folks are using Linux as it was Windows.
Well, what about using good old UNIX way.
There is one server. It contains all data, files, everything. Server admin takes care of backing up the server.
All workstations are diskless GUI terminals. Think, how inexpensive this solution is. Any terminal can be used until it fails and nothing is ever lost. No expensive hard drives. Every user can use any terminal to log in and do their job.

Edit: With small SSD drives getting real cheap you could use a hybrid version of above, the OS is locally installed, but home directories are remote. Remember, this is not Windows, anything is possible.


This solution is incomplete. One needs to install programs with sudo. This requires to be on the local disk. If the totality of the disk is remote, then you cannot use your computer if there is a network failure or if you want to use your laptop in the bus. Besides, in big companies, there is a cost for the sys admin taking care of this diskless GUI terminal. And it is not something that look trivial. My experience of modified system is that they diverge from debian stable and are less stable due to network login patch software and other. This cannot happen in a startup. In a startup you are just smart with backup of data, not of software install.
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Re: how to back up data and impact on the environment

Postby MagicPoulp » 2018-11-26 09:36

debiman wrote:not the corporate models that have a high resale value


Many companies will not resell. They will recycle computers that have only been used for 2 years. For various reasons the computers are considered old: risk to lose personal data not backed up properly, time lost to reinstall things and programs on a new computer, laggy misconfigured graphics driver conflicts, Ubuntu laggy GUI, or not to forget because it is cool and in the culture to have a new computer. It requires a certain philosophy to keep an old computer until it breaks.
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Re: how to back up data and impact on the environment

Postby MagicPoulp » 2018-11-26 09:51

Debiman said the link between environmental impact and backup is not clear. Here lies a clarification.

I think that if debian made it easier and built-in to back up personal data and system installation, it would have a tremendous effect on the environmental impact of the large community of the users of debian-based linux distributions (Ubuntu and other).

Example of things that simplified life for things already managed by other commands: apt, systemd. We could have something making it trivial to backup. The guys developing it may even apply to get funding from the Linux foundation. And we might create an e-medal for the software having good environmental benefits! :)

I cannot drive this project but I can lend my coding skills in C/C++.

--> Does anyone see in such a tool relevant environmental benefits and time-saving benefits?
Last edited by MagicPoulp on 2018-11-26 10:09, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: how to back up data and impact on the environment

Postby MagicPoulp » 2018-11-26 10:06

CwF wrote:You don't 'copy' it back to a formatted partition but dd it an empty one. For my images I use qemu-utilities, similar to dd.


The grub configuration has certain hash numbers that are unique to the partition. It was long ago but I could not manage making the copied partition bootable. THis is more difficult if you copy from one computer and installed on another computer.
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Re: how to back up data and impact on the environment

Postby Head_on_a_Stick » 2018-11-26 17:45

MagicPoulp wrote:if debian made it easier and built-in to back up personal data and system installation, it would have a tremendous effect on the environmental impact

Why? I can't see it myself.

Even if people are getting rid of (still functional) old devices that can be environmentally beneficial if the replacements are more energy efficient.
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Re: how to back up data and impact on the environment

Postby GarryRicketson » 2018-11-26 18:11

If people did not use so much toliet paper, that would have a even more a tremendous effect on the environment. Less plastic bags, also would help.
Plus , it is not all that hard or complicated to make a back up of a Debian system, or any other OS for that matter.
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Re: how to back up data and impact on the environment

Postby Segfault » 2018-11-26 19:56

BTW, you can have laptops in a remote location using home directory over internet. NFSv4 was designed with internet in mind. There is a product working this way, Google Chromebook. Not sure if they are using NFS, though. But the idea is in use, regardless. Once you have your data and files in a well maintained server your workstation failure won't affect your files. No need to replace in every two years just to insure against hardware failure.
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Re: how to back up data and impact on the environment

Postby CwF » 2018-11-26 20:11

MagicPoulp wrote:
CwF wrote:You don't 'copy' it back to a formatted partition but dd it an empty one. For my images I use qemu-utilities, similar to dd.


The grub configuration has certain hash numbers that are unique to the partition. It was long ago but I could not manage making the copied partition bootable. THis is more difficult if you copy from one computer and installed on another computer.

I didn't say that well.. Much simpler for me is to keep it all together from the get-go. So I image entire devices. This keeps grub intact for bootable partitions obviously. I don't incrementally back up any system image. I'd usually have some working image to write out to a disk to use in another computer, but as discussed elsewhere, I've not had issue with moving a system from one computer to another.
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Re: how to back up data and impact on the environment

Postby MagicPoulp » 2018-11-27 09:30

Head_on_a_Stick wrote:
MagicPoulp wrote:if debian made it easier and built-in to back up personal data and system installation, it would have a tremendous effect on the environmental impact

Why? I can't see it myself.

Even if people are getting rid of (still functional) old devices that can be environmentally beneficial if the replacements are more energy efficient.


You are not the only one that does not see the benefits. No one said that benefits can be seen. One guy even compared the suggestion as pointless and useless as trying to use less toilet paper.

Beyond the subjective acceptance or not, there is a part of logic. You gave a counter-example mentioning the energy-efficiency. But my statement was not a complete general rule. In terms of logic, assuming there exists cases of more energy efficient new products, the counter-example does not contradict the statement at the top of this post. A genreal rule can have counter examples. It has to be valid in a large amount of times but not all the time. The process in question is statistical with lots of variations.

It is not trivial to synchronize words with the reality. There are methods to fits words to the reality. Using facts often helps to give examples that illustrate the general statement. Consider a company using Ubuntu with lots of problems all the time on Ubuntu (laggy interface, etc). And the policy is to replace computers every 2 years for all employees or to discard it when an employee leaves. In terms of pure logic, it does sustain the statement that is a generalization. One can observe the fact that laggy software is considered as the fault of the hardware. One can see that backup of installation is not that simple and not built-in.

It is not straightforward to establish a link between tools for backup of data and the impact on the environment. One can try to explain, with arguments and so on, etc. But it is just an hypothesis. One would need actual numbers and polls and measure. You can make quizz online also.

Even if people are getting rid of (still functional) old devices that can be environmentally beneficial if the replacements are more energy efficient.


This principle applies to cars. Perhaps it applies to smart phones. And yes the technology evolves. I was quite impressed to see the low energy consumption of diod DEL light bulbs. However, I seems to me obvious that this principle of more efficient new products does not apply to desktop computers. The output of power supplies have been quite constant on most computers. I would rather say that graphics cards and processors are more greedy in energy over time.

Thousands of companies running computers use over-dimensioned hardware. Software is created in a more lazy way nowadays due to over-dimensioned hardware. Programs don't even use all available processor cores. The physics required to use more cores on processors. But the programmers and companies often think it is too complex to use multiple threads so they use only one core.
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Re: how to back up data and impact on the environment

Postby CwF » 2018-11-27 14:13

The improvement in transportation is primarily computer control and where it matters most aerodynamics. While single passenger things have improved, some improvement has been sucked up in feature creep. For the US the biggest improvement has been in trucking (aero) where miles per gallon has doubled and per pound is even better.

For computers, similar feature creep has absorbed much, but in work per watt terms there has been big improvement. The trucking analogy would be data centers where the improvements have been huge.

It has been correctly mentioned in this thread that the lower end of consumer crap is the real problem and not the xeon on the secretaries desk. Compare the power consumption of a smart phone to a decade old desktop, that's the swap that has occurred and that old desktop will run minutes on that smart phone battery...
MagicPoulp wrote:
Head_on_a_Stick wrote:
MagicPoulp wrote: Software is created in a more lazy way nowadays due to over-dimensioned hardware..

This is an unrelated but intersting point, I somewhat agree. But not everything can be threaded. In the data centers VM's do the threading in a sense. We see now mucho core servers doing the work of a dozen servers from ten years ago, with substantial savings in power.
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