Linux Backup: Software Roundup: Page 2

The choices for Linux backup are as varied as the Linux platform itself.


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The advantage to using an off-site "cloud" solution like this is that your data is stored away from its source. This means if the unthinkable happens to your PC's home location, the backed up data remains completely safe. Restoration is just as simple because it basically restores your data when needed. This application is best suited for user data backups such as your home directory. The price per GB is fairly reasonable, but they're not the only cloud hosted backup solution available.


For the price, SpiderOak is difficult to beat. It offers the same type of backup options as JungleDisk, plus it's cheaper. And by cheaper, I mean it's a lot cheaper. Another great feature includes its duplication options for duplicate file removal. Like JungleDisk, multiple file versions are kept. This makes recovering a file from a set date as simple as possible. And with multiple file versions, that 1 TB of data storage for $12 per month suddenly looks pretty good.

Perhaps the single defining feature found with SpiderOak not found with other applications is the ability to sync all of your devices that run SpiderOak. This is very useful when coupled with the different versions of a single file (versioning).

Who should use this: If you need off-site, incremental backup for your user data, these two cloud-friendly applications should be on your shortlist.

Dropbox & Syncthing aren't backup solutions

I decided to group Dropbox and Syncthing into the same section of this article because of their similarities. Both applications provide the ability to synchronize target directories between multiple computers. And each of these applications offers file "versioning" in case a mistake is made with a newer file. The difference between these applications is that Dropbox is proprietary and runs with a central server as a host. While Syncthing doesn't use any central server of any kind. Syncthing is also an open source application.

From a practical standpoint, neither application should be considered a true backup tool. That said, you could run other applications such as Déjà Dup or TimeShift to create backups files that are ready to sync with one of these file syncing solutions. Personally I've found that Dropbox and Syncthing are best suited for keeping important directories in sync between multiple machines.

One advantage that I've found with using Dropbox strictly from a functional point of view, is that I can save files off-site without needing to do anything extra. Obviously, this is giving up privacy and trusting the storage of data with Dropbox's storage facilities.

Disk imaging isn't a true backup tool either

Just as Dropbox and Syncthing aren't really a backup tool, I feel the same way about disk cloning software. Clonezilla for example, is a fantastic tool to migrating existing drive data to a new hard drive or even cloning that data to multiple hard drives.

This same consideration applies to the command line tool known as dd. The difference between dd and Clonezilla is that dd simply copies the data in all its glory, over to its designated directory. It doesn't care if you're copying files, directories or whatever. It's just moving 1s and 0s over to the assigned destination.

I decided to address this specifically as I know people use disk cloning/copying tools as a data backup solution. For the typical home user, this is totally overkill. And enterprise users are going to be inclined to rely on tools similar to Amanda Enterprise or Bacula.

If you wish to utilize something that's going to work well on a regular schedule for your data backups, I suggest you look to the tools listed above. And if the idea of using a GUI makes you cringe, then might I suggest using rsync from the command line. No matter how you look at it, incremental backups are usually the best approach for frequent data backups.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Tags: data storage, Linux, backup

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