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At my old company we used NetApp, which supported a ".snapshot" feature. Whenever I did something stupid to my files, I could cd .snapshot and find hourly and nightly directories which contain snapshots of my current directory. I get the file I need and resume my work.

Is there anything similar in the open source world?

I find many backup projects, but they generally backup to a different machine, with no easy access for the user. I find a couple user-space filesystems which operate on top of rdiff-backup, but is there a project that ties everything together into a cohesive system?

Thanks in advance.

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ZFS-based filesystems support exposure of a .zfs/snapshot subdirectory that functions in the same manner as the NetApp example you gave.

If you have a fileserver presenting home directories to users (via CIFS, NFS, etc.), a ZFS-based solution could provide this functionality. Options these days include NexentaStor, Solaris, OpenIndiana, FreeBSD.

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In my research to find viable (and inexpensive) backup solutions, I came across the open-source software Amanda, and its enterprise version, Zmanda.

Amanda is more for archiving data to tape or other long-term storage media. It works well for individual use or small business.

Zmanda on the other hand satisfies what you're looking for regarding quick file/folder recovery in an open-source solution. It is not as simple as cd .snapshot, but it is as simple as clicking a button to restore a folder from an administrative console.

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Unfortunately we have no X11/gtk installed in our environment. Will this work in a pure commandline world? – bukzor Nov 17 '11 at 17:39
@bukzor: It can be administered via CLI. The GUI is just a bonus. – hulkmeister Nov 17 '11 at 23:48

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