Backing up self-managed machines using TiBS

We are now in the position to be able to back up self managed machines running Linux, Windows or Mac-OS using the TiBS backup software currently used to back up the School's commodity disk space. Using this service requires installing client software on your machine and having the support team authorise your machine to the backups server. This document covers how to complete these steps.

Note To install the client software on your self managed machine, you will need administrator rights on your machine. Please ask support if you are unsure about this.

Accessing and installing the client software

The client software for all supported platforms can be found in the School's AFS file space at /afs/ If for any reason you cannot mount AFS file space on your machine, support will be able to lend you a CD-ROM containing the software for the install.


During the installation process, you will be asked to supply the host name of the client you want backed up. What hostname you supply will depend on whether your machine has been allocated a fixed IP address or picks up a random IP address via DHCP every time it is connected to the network. If you're not sure whether your machine has a fixed IP address or not, support will be able to help you out.

If your machine does have a fixed IP address, simply supply the fully qualified hostname of your machine. If your machine does not have a fixed IP address allocated to it, it is what TiBS calls a roaming client and the hostname supplied can in theory be any random string which is unique to the server. In practice, we strongly recommend that the hostname you choose should have the form roaming-<your username>. If you have more than one roaming client to back up, add an appropriate digit at the end. If your machine is a roaming client, you must initiate backups yourself, they will not happen automatically. See below for more details


Windows versions from XP onward are supported. In addition to installing the TiBS client software, you will also need to create an exception in the Windows firewall to allow the backup server to contact the backup daemon on your machine. Instructions on how to do so are given below.

To begin installation of the client software, browse to the folder containing the client software and double click on the TiBS.exe icon. The following window will appear.

Click on Next. Click on Next again. Read through the license agreement on the next page and if you are happy, click on the button marked I agree and then once more on the Next button. Fill in the fields on the next page as in the example below substituting as appropriate. The Hostnames section above explains what to put in the Client's fully qualified domain name box and the server's fully qualified domain name should always be

See above for what to enter in the hostname field. Click Next again. In the next window click the boxes as shown below.

Click on Next one more time. The following window will appear:

If you are happy with the default location, press Next again, Feel free to click on the Create a TiBS desktop shortcut if you wish (this is highly recommended for roaming clients). Click Next one last time and the TiBS client software will be installed. Click Close once the Installation Complete window appears (if it doesn't appear contact support).If the installation completes without error, you are done. Continue to Get support to activate your machine on the backup server. If you get a message about authenication failing complete the following steps:

Click on Windows' start button, click on 'All Programs', click on 'Accessories' and then click on 'Command Prompt'. IMPORTANT if you are running Vista or Windows 7, you must RIGHT CLICK on 'Command Prompt', choose 'Run as administrator' from the menu that appears and click on the 'Yes' button in the security window which will then appear.

Once the command prompt window appears, type the following commands in it:

  • cd \program files\teradactyl\tibs
  • .\tera -A

You should then get a message that the client has authorised with the server. If you get a different message, please contact support. Assuming that all is well, close the command window and proceed to Get support to activate your machine on the backup server.

Opening up a hole in the Windows' filewall.

To allow the backup server to contact the backup daemon on your machine, you must open up a hole (or exception in Windows nomenclature) in the Windows' firewall. To do this:

  • Click on the Start button then select 'Control Panel' from the right hand menu
  • click on the 'Windows firewall' entry. You will find in under the 'Security Center' category on XP, the 'Security' category on Vista and the 'System and Security' entry on Windows 7.

Windows XP

The following window will appear:

Click on the 'Exceptions' tab

Click on the button marked 'Add Program'

Click on the 'Browse' button...

...and browse to c:\Program files\Teradactyl\Tibs, click on 'terad' and click on the 'Open' button

Click 'Ok' on the windows that appear until you're back at the desktop.


The following window will appear:

Click on the 'Allow a program through Windows Firewall' link on the left hand side. Click on the 'Continue' button of the pop up window that appears. The following window will appear:

click on the 'Add program...' button on the bottom left:

click on the 'Browse' button and browse to c:\program files\teradactyle\tibs. Click on the 'terad' button and click on the 'Open' button at bottom right

Click 'Ok' on the windows that appear until you're back to the desktop.

Windows 7

The following window will appear:

Click on "Allow a program or window through Windows Firewall" on the left hand menu. The following screen will appear

Click on the button marked "Change settings" at the top right and then click on the button marked "Allow another program...". This is what you'll see...

Click on the "Browse" button and browse to c:\Program Files\Teradactyl\Tibs and click on the "terad" program. Click on "Open" on the bottom right of the window.

Click "Add" on the next window and "Ok on the window after that.

Linux and Mac-OS

Before trying to install the Tibs client on a Linux host, you should first check that your machine is running inetd or xinetd. If this isn't the case, the installation will fail. The easiest way to check this is to see whether the file /etc/inetd.conf or the directory /etc/xinetd.d exists on your machine. If they don't, you will have to install the appropriate package on your machine. For example, on a Ubuntu machine you would run the command sudo apt_get install xinetd.

On both Linux and Mac -OS machines, if you are not logged in as root, you will probably have to use the sudo command to gain the necessary privileges to install the client and initiate backups.

Go to the location which contains the client software and run the script, Hit return at the prompt and after reading the license agreement, type in I agree (exactly as it is written here), assuming of course that you do agree. You will be prompted for the path the TiBS client will be installed into. Hit return if you're happy with the default or type in an alternative path and hit return. Enter the hostname as detailed above and when asked for the name of the backup server, enter The script will then install the client software. At the end of the install, you will get an error message saying ERROR: Server did not authorize this request. Don't worry about this as we will take care of it now.

Cd to the /usr/tibs directory and run the command ./tera -A (remember you may have to use sudo to gain the necessary privileges to do this). You should get a message saying that service registration has completed successfully. If you don't get this message, please contact support.

Get support to activate your machine on the backup server

Contact Support asking them to enable TiBS backups on your machine and supplying them with the following information:

  • The fully qualified name of your machine or if your machine is a roaming client, the hostname you chose when installing the client software
  • Whether your machine has a fixed IP address or is a roaming client
  • The path(s) which you would like backed up.

Please note that this service is not intended for backing up entire machines, It is also not a mechanism for backing up your photo and music collections (unless of course they are a vital part of your School related activities). Please be selective about what you ask to be backed up. At the moment we will back up a maximum of 5GB per machine, If we detect that we are backing up significantly more than that from your machine, backups will be suspended and you will be asked to reduce the amount being backed up.

Running backups

If your machine is NOT configured as a roaming host and is connected to an Informatics wire during the backup window (which is roughly between 10PM and 10am), then it will be backed up automatically every night as part of the normal backup schedule. If the host IS a roaming client or is not attached to an Informatics wire during the backup window, then users must initiate the backup themselves. This is done by bringing up a command window, cd'ing to the TiBS directory and running the command ./tera -l. On Windows Vista and 7, you will need to bring up a command prompt with administrator rights for this to work correctly. Users may wish to automate this process via a cron job or similar.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How can I tell which directories will be backed up on my machine?

From the TiBS directory run the command ./tera -q. This will print a list of all the paths which are configured for backup on your machine.

  • How can I be sure that my data is being successfully backed up?

From the TiBS directory run the command ./tera -Q. This will print out details of the current state of backup on your machine and the time of the last backup for each path defined on your machine. Note that if a backup has the state pending, this means that the data has been sent to the backup server but has not yet been written to tape. If this is the case, the date of the last backup may be wrong or may be recorded as unknown. This will be corrected when the data is written to tape (which may take a few hours).

  • What if I need to get any files restored?

Currently this needs to be done by support. Please create a support ticket containing details of your machine name, the names of the files you would like restored and the date you would like them restored from. Please note that the time taken to restore your files may vary depending on the current status of the backup server but we will respond to your request as quickly as possible.

-- CraigStrachan - 05 Oct 2010

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Topic revision: r16 - 24 Apr 2012 - 11:58:38 - RossArmstrong
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