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I have a wireless network setup to provide about 100 users with internet access. There is no sharing of files or any communication between the machines. They want to have an automated backup of files on their machines to a central area where if they lost files they could recover them. The backups would need to be automated within the system to know when to go to the next user's machine once the prevous one is completed. The machines will be Windows or Mac. We could have two different systems if they are needed to be separate. What options are out there for this? I am not looking for a full machine backup but just files on their machines.

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migrated from Oct 7 '11 at 6:45

This question came from our site for computer enthusiasts and power users.

You could probably accomplish this with CrashPlan's peer-to-peer backup feature:

Put CrashPlan on all the PC's, including the PC that will contain the backups (it would need a large hard drive). Set the PC's to all back up to the backup machine.

It would be completely automatic.

The free version might do everything you need.

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this would seem like a good solution to me. It means getting on the closed source bandwagon, but for backups it'd prolly be fine. – Sirex Oct 7 '11 at 10:45
They have a free version, and it's available for Windows, Mac, and Linux – bwall Oct 7 '11 at 13:24

Some open source possibilities:

BackupPC is able to use rsync or windows shares to backup files to a server. Thus it works with both Windows and Mac.

UrBackup may be easier to setup and can backup open files too. But only on Windows.

I would use a combination of these two. BackupPC for Mac and UrBackup for Windows.

You could also use Bacula or Amanda Those may be more difficult to set up.

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It seems like having some kind of automated centralized system to get data from users machines is a pretty tall order, There are several automated backup systems that each users could pick on an individual basis based on their particular needs or preferences. You could of course settle on one recommended product and provide install instructions.

To me the bigger issue would be data security and segregation on the storage device though that could probably be managed with a Linux box or NAS. Might even check out something free like FreeNAS.

However another direction to look is something like Dropbox or one of it's alternatives (note that the article ends with Dropbox). In this scenario you would just settle on a solution, familiarize yourself with the setup, recommend and help install if necessary, and let every user have their own cloud solution.

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I recently started using Yadis! Backup at home and have been very happy with it.

Used with a NAS of some sort, you could create a folder for each computer (or user) and set as the destination in the software. If individual backup security is a factor, i.e. Joe shouldn't be able to see Bob's files, you'll have to create individual accounts on the NAS end and map a drive on the client workstation accordingly.

Yadis monitors the modified dates on files to a given folder (or folders) and makes an instant backup to any destination.

It would take a bit of resources at first, but after the initial upload there will be very little traffic coming from each computer.

This would give you:

real-time backups since it monitors the modified date

you wouldn't have to worry about staggering backups manually because its a "one-file-at-a-time" approach after the initial full copy

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