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I have a small local network, with 2 debian linux boxes, and a macbook. I would like them to be backed up over the network to an external disk, in the way most unmanaged possible.

I've found amanda and bacula, but they look more appropriate for bigger networks. Is there any solution more suitable for my case? or should I try amanda and/or bacula?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

Have a look at rsnapshot, which is a Perl-based wrapper around rsync that takes care of all the details around incremental backups etc.

A great advantage of rsnapshot is that you get multiple snapshots of the disks you decide to backup, all instantly available. You may eg. have weekly, daily and multiple hourly snapshots taken. And everything is done using hard links, so you don't waste disk space on multiple copies of the same files.

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I will check it, sounds very promising. Thanks for the tip – user15630 Aug 5 '09 at 12:36
After a look at its documentation, it's what I need. Thanks :) – user15630 Aug 6 '09 at 10:04

Amanda is not as bad as it looks. It took me about 4 hours to figure it all out. It's just a front end script for all the built-in tools that linux uses for backups and tape management.

If you are using rsync (which is a fine way as well) over a network, remember that your backups will be worthless if your backup server (and all of the backups on the system) is destroyed (fire, flood, robbery, etc).

If it's important enough to backup, it's usually important enough to off-site. (IMHO)

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From experience, I would agree. Purchase some cheap webhosting with rsync and ample storage space and emulate off-site storage :D – Ted Aug 5 '09 at 11:54
That's something I also thought about. But many webhosting solutions doesn't allow its use for backup, and I really don't feel the need to expend "much" money on a dedicated solution. I mean: it's important to backup, maybe important enough to have it replicated in 2 disks, or even some DVDs in a 6-months basis. But I'd also backup my photos in Flickr, and some of the most important docs in Google Docs, so... I'm not too sure if I need an extra service. – user15630 Aug 5 '09 at 12:42
Or just use jungle-disk with amazon S3. Simple. Secure. Pretty Cheap. – Joseph Kern Aug 5 '09 at 15:57

All you need is an 'rsync' script and a configured cron job.

Rsync can do incremental backups. It can also backup over the network via rsync or ssh. I use it over SSH with a cron job that runs weekly.

A simple script would be:

rsync -avz source_dir/ user@host:/backup_dir/target_dir/

That will work fine enough. Do it for each computer. You may need to mount your external disk to one of the machines first. Rsync will work for local copies too (not over the network).

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Very helpful! I will take a look at it, to see if it's what I need. – user15630 Aug 5 '09 at 12:35

You could go for either of those two, but for a small setup, I would just use rsync.

You can do a full backup at the start of each day, and then store an incremental to each of those on an hourly/6-hourly/whatever basis.

Then simply purge the oldest based on age.

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rsync works but you might want to also consider some of the personal home NAS solutions. A number of them come with backup software or the option of being configured as the backup target.

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