This is something that we've been struggling with for a while. What backup software is worth its weight? Do you use an enterprise-grade application with all the bells & whistles, or something homegrown, like some badass shell scripts or batch files to get the job done?

Post a link if you think the program you're using is good enough to share.

Community Wiki, so there is no wrong answer.

10 Answers 10


For a serious site, BackupExec is very, very powerful, but the complexity and license costs are high, and it's probably not worth it for a small site.

I mostly work on small sites, and there are three main programs I use.

ntbackup - it's simple, but it does the job, and it supports exchange/open files.

Cobian - incremental local backups, it can sometimes fail to delete them when it should (path too long), but it's fairly solid, and has reporting to let you know when it fails.

rsync - Rock solid, the best remote backup software I've used. Deltacopy is a Windows wrapper that supports scheduling, automatic retries, and email reporting. It also has a Windows server part, so you don't need any *NIX at all (if you don't want it).

  • Just a caution: If you're going to use NTbackup you absolutely MUST check the logs every time. Better yet, use a log parser to check them for you. – John Gardeniers Aug 18 '09 at 22:14
  • Most of the machines with it are on SBS, so I've got email reporting from it. – Dentrasi Aug 19 '09 at 7:25


Covers all the bases and works well enough but doesn't totally break the bank. I've done my fair share of wrestling with the product but once I get it working, it rarely falters.

  • Sums up what I was going to say. +1 – John Gardeniers Aug 18 '09 at 22:11

For Unix file backup I use rsnapshot. It's rsync based, but does a good job of keeping multiple historical versions without wasting disk. Since it's rsync it's rock solid and works well for network backups as well.

For Windows backup of both files and full system, Acronis looks like the best bet.


Netbackup ... works :-)

  • 1
    And is expensive. Don't forget expensive. >smile< – Evan Anderson Aug 18 '09 at 20:07
  • Yeah, costs as much as one of the servers I need to back up – dubRun Aug 18 '09 at 20:13
  • dubRun: Why are your servers so expensive ? ;-) – Kyle Brandt Aug 18 '09 at 20:50
  • $4-12K isn't that much for a server. The Apple servers cost even more than that. – dubRun Aug 18 '09 at 21:42

I've had good luck with Netbackup as well as Networker, Bacula, Amanda, and homegrown scripts. It depends on your needs, budget, and abilities. If a solution meets your needs and is reliable then it is the right one for you.

I've had the unfortunate experience of trying to shoehorn an environment into the confines of a wrong solution. That was worse than having no solution at all because it was unreliable.

The first step is to identify your policies and needs. If you don't have a policy, now is the time to create one. Once those are identified then you can start looking at solutions. Doing so before risks spending too much on the wrong solution and having to go back and start over.


Take a look at Acronis. They are very good reliable.


dirvish. File level backups, works almost perfectly (you'll need to patch it so that it doesn't consider rsync's 'some files have moved' error to be failing, but that's one line of perl), easy to setup, easy to maintain.


Comvault is seriously good.


Any backup solution is better then no backup! With this in mind, if you don't yet use any backup, stop right now and configure something. I suggest you to try astrails-safe for backup of mysql (mysqldump), postgres (pg_dump) and just plain files (tar) with possible encryption and upload to S3 or any sftp. It only takes about 5 min to configure it and you can always replace it later with some enterprise stuff. Or not :). It works and its simple to completely understand. Or and its open source too :)

P.S. it also supports backup of subversion (svndump) and its really easy to add your own backup methods.


Microsoft DPM is really easy to deploy and use in my opinion.

I've used BackupExec in the past for small and medium-sized installations and while it worked well there was always some quirk with it and as someone said it's rather complex to setup, manage and troubleshoot. DPM seems to just work, though it's not as customizable - it's more streamlined into a specific way of doing Continous and Tape Backup - but it seems to do it good if its visions fits your own.

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