Backing up your system is extremely important, but having usable backups is even more vital. If your server or workstation has a hardware failure and you need to reconstruct the machine, restoring from homegrown backup solutions can be painful and time-consuming.
A solution called Mondo can help alleviate some of this pain. It creates a full system backup of your machine in any form you like, including direct to CD, ISO images, etc.
When you burn these ISO images to CD, they become bootable restore CDs. If you have a problem with your system, you can simply insert the first CD of the backup set, boot from it, and you'll have a variety of options for how to restore your data.
With Mondo, instead of reinstalling the OS and then applying backup files on top of it to reconstruct your previous system, you can take the snapshot you have on CD and build the system back to where it was when you performed the backup.
Using Mondo is also very straightforward. Here's a simple way to use it:
# mondoarchive -Oi -d /home/mondo -E "/home/mondo" -l LILO -f /dev/hda
This tells Mondo to perform a full backup of the file system to ISO images and to place the resulting images in the /home/mondo directory. The -E option tells Mondo to exclude /home/mondo from the backup, which prevents backups from growing larger than necessary by backing up old backups. Finally, it tells Mondo you're using LILO as your bootloader and that the bootloader is on /dev/hda.
After Mondo creates the ISOs, you'll have a set of ISO images in /home/mondo that are ready to burn to CD. Be aware, however, that you'll need plenty of room to store the ISO images, depending largely on the size of your system.
For more information, check out the Mondo home page.