I was wondering what strategies others in the community use when backing up their Windows-based workstations to Linux servers. At the moment I'm doing a bit of a test with Ubuntu Server LTS 10.04 and I'm trying to do regular backups from workstations to the server.

My main concerns are that I want to reduce overhead by using incremental backups, and I want to ensure data integrity using some kind of checksum (md5sum if possible).

So far, the best method I've come across is scripting the server to mount workstation shares and take advantage of rsync which I've been told uses MD5 sums. This way I can kill two birds with one stone, as I'm not sure if the same fucntionality is built into Robocopy - another method that has been suggested.

Anyway, I was wondering if anyone out there has a better method that would ensure 100% integrity with the least overhead.

  • what kinds of data are we talking about here? Files? Databases? – gravyface Dec 18 '11 at 18:31
  • Just working files. No databases, no live backup needed, but it would be nice if that is possible. – toolshed Dec 18 '11 at 22:55

If you want to do 100% integrity backup on windows, you should use software that uses Volume Shadow Copy feature. I'm using Bacula. It's very powerful and flexible open-source backup tool, but notice that it's rather complex and have heavy learning curve.

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  • Hmm, sounds interesting. I'll definitely look into that. Do you know if I can use this to move the files initially as well? Let's say I'm adding workstations to my network that housed previously non-networked files and I want them moved to the server. Can I use VSS for the initial transfer? – toolshed Dec 18 '11 at 19:50
  • @Addikt: what you're asking about is commonly handled by roaming profiles via Active Directory, but you can also just setup offline synchronization. If anything, it sounds like you need to move your data off your workstations, anyways: more susceptible to malware and less resilient to hardware failure than a proper file server. – gravyface Dec 18 '11 at 20:44
  • Thanks for the response gravyface. I'm not implementing roaming profiles just yet. Eventually this server will become the PDC on the network, but not yet. At the moment, I'm just trying to migrate all the files from the workstations to the server. The previous network set-up was an archaic ad-hoc network. Very sad. Now, I have to take all the files from each workstation and centralize them on the server so that EVERYONE has access. – toolshed Dec 18 '11 at 21:08

I love urbackup - totally easy and very clever: http://www.urbackup.org It can do images and file based backup (using VSS).

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  • I'm using urbackup and I was skeptical at first but it seems to work fairly well. It doesn't seem to support image backups for Linux though. It requires a little technical knowledge but it was very easy to setup. – Natalie Adams Nov 27 '14 at 23:25

You should probably implement something like Bacula; it has client daemons for Windows and other OS's and has features expected in a full backup program. You can also look at Amanda and see if that will meet your needs.

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