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After procrastinating so long to get a backup system in place, and losing some important data on the way... I've finally decided to start stetting it up.

After searching for Ubuntu specific solutions I found that there are quite a few options out there. I just wanted to see what the most popular solution and why, as well as things that I should be aware of in setting this up; ie. security issues.

Here are my requirements:

  • Able to set time intervals for backups; need to be backed up nightly.
  • Able to set time intervals for keeping backups; should keep 1 for each of the past 3 days, 1 for each of the past three weeks, 1 for each of the past 3 months, discarding all ones that aren't needed.
  • Able to back up all computers and servers from an offsite location.
  • Manageable from that one location with little work needed on the individual computers after setup.

If you have suggestions for other OS to manage an automated backup system I may be willing to switch since the OS has not been installed yet.

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

I would recommend you have good look at bacula. It does all of the above, and there are clients available for all major OS, even including a special client for MS Exchange data stores.

Once the clients are installed and configured to communicate with the central director daemon, all configuration is done on the central server. You can spool your backups into files or tape drives (or a mixture), you can set up scripts to run before and after the backups (useful for database backups and all sorts of other tricks) and you can freely define retention periods for different types of backups.

The only drawback I am aware of is that management through a GUI is not fully developed, i.e. you will probably end up doing most of the config work in a shell. But then, if you are already a linux user that shouldn't scare you.

We use it to run backups across several dozens of servers, and it works a treat.

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You have a LOT of options - the ones I can think of off the top of my head are:

  • Bacula
    • All information about when to run backups is handled by the Director, so it's centralized.
    • You can set your backup schedule pretty much any way you want to
    • You can rig up retention periods for different pools to keep backups as long as you want to
    • You can put the storage daemon at an off-site location, or rsync "virtual tapes" to an off-site location.
    • Bacula supports encrypting backups (data is encrypted before it leaves the client)
  • Amanda
    (Similar to Bacula, but in a slightly different package).
  • CA ArcServe (Commercial)
    • Most of the features of Bacula, plus a nicer management GUI than Bacula/Amanda
    • Mentioning this because of the babld (laptop/desktop) agent which deals with machines that aren't around when backup time comes.

My recommendation would be Bacula - it's free, pretty secure, and widely used in the Linux/Unix community.

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There is also BackupPC which, despite the name, isn't just a personal computer backup tool. It can backup Linux, Mac and Windows clients although it has some limitations. It also has a web UI to manage backups/restores.

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