I am interested in providing an online backup facility to my corp intranet. I don't want to trust my user data to online companies that may disappear at any time. What software would I look for? Is there anything available to do this? I am using Windows Server 2003 and Windows XP Pro.

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  • you should probably own the server in the data center (as opposed to renting a server or virtual server), just for the sake of data privacy. – quack quixote Jan 28 '10 at 18:19
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    Some of those "online companies that may disappear at any time" are probably less likely to do so than your corp... ;) – phoebus Jan 31 '10 at 22:51
  • While some of those companies are likely to be around for quite a bit longer the reality is that only a few of the larger companies can be reasonably be relied upon to be there in the future. This industry has a long and sad record of companies, even apparently solid ones, disappearing overnight and without warning. – John Gardeniers Feb 1 '10 at 1:04
  • I don't really understand what he means by "online backup" if he's doing it himself. How does that differ from a normal backup solution? – phoebus Feb 1 '10 at 3:43
  • @John Which industry would that be, online backup? You can't lump the entire "computer-related-stuff" industry together in instances like this IMO. – phoebus Feb 1 '10 at 3:45

12 Answers 12


Rsync is probably your best open source option. It has a few draw backs, specifically with how it handles folder rename/moves, if you don't have too many of these operations, and can manage the bandwidth, it's the ticket.

Jim C. http://www.kleobackup.net

  • But rsync won't handle things like Exchange server, databases, Active Directory configs, etc and it has no nice gui (presuming you need that). Yes it handles file synchronisation well, but that's all it does. – kaerast Feb 25 '10 at 19:29

For small backup, I would look at just hosting a FTP server and then using an off the shelf / free backup utility that supports ftp which many do.

If you are using Windows, you can even just use the built in backup utility and push it to a network drive or again FTP.

You may want to look at the Microsoft Sync Toy.

For FTP, if you have a spare Windows machine - I recommend Filezilla Server, or for Linux, there are many choices of FTP.

  • FTP is hopelessly insecure, so if privacy is also a concern rather than just retention, look at sftp or SSH – Mark Henderson Jan 29 '10 at 1:28

There's an open source solution that looks promising. (never used it but I have heard good things) http://backuppc.sourceforge.net/info.html


Personally, I'd use rsync as a preference. Setup the outside server with rsync (there by default on Linux, Deltacopy on Windows. You can then install the Deltacopy client onto any Windows machines you wish to backup, and while the first backup will take a long time, subsequent ones will be very quick.

If you aren't happy on Linux, or don't have the option to setup an rsync server; then FTP is probably your best option. I've used Cobian in the past (free, used to be open source) - it supports full/incremental/differential backups, and have options to keep multiple timestamped copies. If thee server is untrusted, it can also encrypt the files for you.


You may want to give the Zmanda Online backup system a look. I've been using the purely open source version for years to back up a lot of systems outside of the cloud and it is simple and reliable. I haven't personally used the Zmanda cloud offering but if you are in need of an online system it may be a good fit. I imagine that you can probably download the backups after they are complete so they would be both in the cloud and available on some other medium (again I haven't used it myself but it seems logical since it just uses S3).

  • Isn't the exact opposite of what the poster wants? I.e he wants to do the online bit himself? – hmallett Jan 31 '10 at 23:19
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    Zmanda can do it both ways or online and then I'm pretty sure you can download it to backup the backup. Also as someone commented there is little chance S3/Amazon is going away anytime soon. – carson Jan 31 '10 at 23:46

I don't want to trust my user data to online companies that may disappear at any time.

Why not?

You can trust it to a company like Amazon.com, which stands very little chance of disappearing at any time. If you're completely paranoid, you could backup to a second service, as well. The chances of Amazon.com, a second reputable backup service, and your intranet server going kaput at the same time seem very, very slim.


rbackup is the best thing I've found so far. The price isn't too steep and it offer most of the features you'd want for this type of service. We have looked into to doing this for our local customers.



I'm not sure if this is what you're after, but you might look at LogMeIn Backup. You use their software and mgmt tools, but your storage. I've used in scenarios where multiple locations all have plenty of unused space. Servers at location 1 backup to a server at location 2. Servers at location 2 backup to one at location 3. Servers at location 3 backup to one at location 1...

Not free, but not all that expensive for what you get. I've been pretty happy with it.

CrashPlan or CrashPlan Pro might be worth a look as well. Similar concept as above.


We use Vembu's StoreGrid to do our in-house backups, as well as provide off-site (to our private servers) for our clients.

It's got all (most?) of the bells and whistles others' do, plus a few extras (like 'grid' storage between clients and such). It's pretty straight-forward to setup and run, and for our purposes it was/is way cheaper then I would have thought it would be. :)

There tech support is top-notch as well.


Do you have a solution in place for clients that are inside your corporate network? If so, can that solution be extended using a VPN solution?


Well online Backup is I guess "Off-Site" Backup in this case so I would suggest that if you want to run your own Backup Servers just run some Linux/BSD/Windows box to host a SFTP/FTPS/WebDAV Server, mount/map it locally on run scheduled Backups to the drive.

Otherwise maybe look into JungleDisk and Amazon S3, since Amazon is unlikely to go away quickly and silently.

Off-Site is never a replacement to a local backup so, because of the by far increased restore time.


Barden mentioned RBackup, which is what caught my attention. But RBS also has another product called Mercury, which is used for Windows and Mac. Both products can be self-hosted to provied online backup services. both are at http://remote-backup.com

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