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In Linux is there an equivalent for Windows shadow copies? I would like to use this for a small setup nothing big but it would be nice to have some type of functionality like shadow copies.

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LVM snapshot(1,2) not full equivalent, but work fine. Also btrfs support snapshot.

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You could look at R1Soft's free Hot Copy or commercial CDP solutions. The Hot Copy is a kernel module that allows you to take copy-on-write volume snapshots of mounted filesystems.

See their tips page:

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You could set up a mirror using LVM or md then break the mirror to get the snapshot, or use an overlay filesystem

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Another possibility could be to use rsnapshot. But LVM snapshot is probably the better solution if you have a large amount of data.

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LVM snapshots are NOT safe, since they are NOT independent.

If you create a snapshot, then write to the file in the origin, the file in snapshot will be modified.

I wouldn't recommend using BTRFS right now (as of this writing, it is still a rapidly developed product). But it is in a usable state, given the recent enough (4.2+ recent) kernel.

The mature alternative to both LVM and BTRFS is ZFS, and it has a number of advantages over BTRFS, i.e. recursive operations by default. I strongly recommend it, if you don't give a crap to licensing bullshit.

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