Monday, May 20, 2024

Open Source Storage: 54 Tools for Backup and Recovery

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Between cloud backup services, dedicated appliances and archiving software, backup and recovery is a huge business. And many organizations are governed by regulations that mandate backup procedures, which is only driving up demand.

According to one estimate, backup and recovery software sales are worth $4.7 billion dollars per year, and that’s just for enterprise users. As data volumes continue to grow by 40 percent per year, both businesses and individuals are looking for ways to safeguard ever-increasing stores of information.

The open source community offers a variety of tools that can minimize the costs associated with backup and recovery. We’ve updated our list of open source backup tools for 2015, and this year’s list has quite a few new entries that weren’t featured last year. In addition, we’ve dropped off several projects that are no longer actively maintained.

If you know of additional open source projects that you think should be on the list for the next time we update it, please feel free to note them in the comments section below.



AMANDA, which stands for “Advanced Maryland Automatic Network Disk Archiver,” is a mature backup program which has been under development for decades. It is now maintained by Carbonite, and it provides the basis for Carbonite’s well-known cloud backup service. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X

2. Attic

If you are looking to minimize the amount of storage space you need for backups, consider Attic, which includes built-in deduplication. It also includes optional 256-bit AES encryption and can transfer files to remote hosts via SSH. Operating System: Linux

3. Bacula

Claiming to be “by far the most popular open source program backup program,” Bacula offers enterprise-class network backup that is “relatively” easy to use. Paid enterprise versions and other services can be purchased from the project maintainer, Bacula Systems. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X

4. BackupPC

BackupPC describes itself as “a high-performance, enterprise-grade system for backing up Linux, WinXX and Mac OS X PCs and laptops to a server’s disk.” It uses a unique pooling scheme to minimize I/O and storage space requirements. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X

5. Backupninja

This tool makes it easier to coordinate and manage backups on your network. It incorporates several of the other tools on this list including Duplicity and rsync. Operating System: Linux

6. Bareos

Another very popular option, Bareos (short for Backup Archiving Recovery Open Sourced) is based on the Bacula code. Professional support and services can be found through Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X

7. Box Backup

Designed for automatic online backups to disk, Box encrypts all data and supports continuous or snapshot backups. RAID features are optional. Operating System: Windows, Linux


BURP stands for “BackUp And Restore Program.” Based on librsync and VSS, it’s a client-server backup system that runs on Unix-based servers and Windows- or Unix-based clients. Operating System: Windows, Linux

9. Clonezilla

Clonezilla offers two different versions: Clonezilla live to backup and restore a single PC and Clonezilla SE (Server Edition) for networks. The SE version also offers fast multi-casting capabilities for cloning and deployment. Operating System: Linux

10. FOG

This disk imaging and cloning solution boasts that it can scale from five computers to 50,000. It includes a portal with some network management capabilities, such as installing software, adding printers, etc. Operating System: Linux, Windows

11. FreeFileSync

This highly rated cross-platform file synchronization tool was designed to help save time when running backups. A helpful GUI tracks job progress. Operating System: Linux, Windows, OS X

12. Grsync

Grsync provide a graphical interface for the rsync synchronization tool. It can be used to back up to local or remote drives, but note that it does not support browsing of remote folders. System: Linux, Windows, OS X

13. Mondo Rescue

Designed for disaster recovery situations, Mondo Rescue is a Linux-only backup solution that can backup to tape, disk or optical media. It supports multiple filesystems and both software and hardware RAID. Operating System: Linux

14. NasBackup

This enterprise-grade solution was designed to replace tape backup. It’s a Windows-only solution based on the rsync utility. Operating System: Windows

15. Partimage

Extremely fast, partimage saves compressed image files to disks or partitions. It can be used to back up a network, to create a system rescue CD or to set up a recovery partition on a local drive. Operating System: Linux

16. Rdiff-backup

This utility aims “to combine the best features of a mirror and an incremental backup.” It’s an older, mature tool that has been around a long time. Operating System: Linux, OS X

17. SafeKeep

For Linux users only, SafeKeep focuses on security and simplicity. It’s a command line tool that is a good option for a small LAN. Operating System: Linux

18. Synbak

This tool incorporates a variety of other open source projects, including rsync, into an all-in-one backup solution. It features a powerful reporting solution that will be useful for enterprises. Operating System: Linux

19. XSIbackup

XSIbackup can backup VMwareESXi environments version 5.1 or greater. It’s a command line tool with a scheduler, and it runs directly on the hypervisor. Operating System: VMwareESXi

20. UrBackup

Easy to set up, UrBackup uses a combination of image and file backups to secure data while minimizing disruptions. It runs in the background, updating server backup files as they are changed on the client system. Operating System: Windows, Linux

Backup—Single System

21. Areca Backup

This personal backup solution aims to be both easy to set up and extremely versatile. It supports compression, encryption and incremental, differential, delta or full backup modes. Operating System: Windows, Linux

22. Backup

This Ruby-based tool promises “easy full stack backup operations on UNIX-like systems.” It includes a tool for modeling backups. Operating System: Linux, OS X

23. Back In Time

Similar to FlyBack and TimeVault (which is no longer maintained), Back in Time allows users to restore their systems back to a specified date. It’s a Linux-only tool with GNOME and KDE interfaces available. Operating System: Linux

24. Create Synchronicity

Extremely lightweight (just 220KB), Create Synchronicity is a fast yet powerful backup and synchronization tool. It has a very intuitive interface available in seventeen different languages. Operating System: Windows

25. DAR

DAR stands for “Disk ARchive,” and it is a cross-platform shell backup command. It was first released in 2001, but it is still being updated regularly. The DarGUI project has a graphical interface available. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X

26. DirSync Pro

Calling itself “small but powerful,” this utility can synchronize folders and files for making incremental backups. It includes a user-friendly interface with advanced filters and scheduling capabilities. Operating System: Windows

27. DriverBackup!

While this utility isn’t a complete system backup solution, it does back up Windows drivers. It can also remove unwanted drivers. Operating System: Windows

28. Duplicity

Based on the librsync library, Duplicity creates encrypted archives and uploads them to remote or local servers. It can use GnuPG to encrypt and sign archives if desired. Operating System: Linux

29. FullSync

This highly customizable tool was designed for developers but can be used by anyone. It’s a good option for pushing updated content to your Web server as well as making backups of data. Operating System: Linux, Windows, OS X

30. FlyBack

This app aims to recreate Apple’s TimeMachine for Linux users. It includes a very simple GUI for creating backups and restoring back to a particular point in time. Operating System: Linux

31. Obnam

Designed to be easy-to-use and secure, Obnam creates snapshot backups and stores them online or on local disks. Key features include encryption and data de-duplication. Operating System: Linux

32. Redo

“So simple that anyone can use it,” Redo boasts that it can do bare metal restores in as little as 10 minutes. Extremely popular, it has been downloaded more than 750,000 times. Operating System: Windows, Linux

33. Rsnapshot

As you might expect from the name, this utility makes a snapshot of your file system for remote or local backup. According to the website, it can be set up in just a few minutes. Operating System: Linux, OS X

34. SMS Backup+

Forked from SMS Backup, This tool transfers texts and call logs from an Android phone to a Gmail account. It can also restore texts back to a mobile device. Operating System: Android

35. SnapBackup

Designed to be as easy to use as possible, SnapBackup backs up files with just one click. It can copy files to a flash drive, external hard drive or the cloud, and it includes compression capabilities. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X

36. Synkron

This cross-platform tool can keep files and folders synchronized across devices. It offers a variety of configuration options including blacklisting for files or folders you don’t want to be updated. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X

37. Win32DiskImager

Averaging more than 50,000 downloads every week, this tool is a very popular way to copy a disk image to a new machine. It’s very useful for systems administrators and developers. Operating System: Windows

Online Data Storage/Cloud Backup

38. CloudStore

Similar to DropBox, CloudStore synchronizes files between multiple devices or on cloud computing services. It’s fast, flexible and uses strong encryption with a password-less authentication mechanism. Operating System: Linux


Designed for Amazon Web Services users, DREBS stands for “Disaster Recovery for Elastic Block Store.” It runs on Amazon’s EC2 services and takes snapshots of EBS volumes for disaster recovery purposes. Operating System: Linux

40. Duplicati

Duplicati is a backup client designed for use with a cloud computing service like Amazon, Azure, Google or Rackspace. It includes AES-256 encryption capabilities and a built-in scheduler. It was inspired by, but not forked from, Duplicity. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X

41. DuraCloud

Released under an Apache license, DuraCloud is both a free open source project and a paid service of the same name. It claims to be “the only service that makes it easy to move copies of your content into the cloud and store them with several different providers, all with just one click.” Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X

42. FTPbox

With this tool you can set up your own FTP-based alternative to Dropbox. It’s available in multiple languages and includes the option of SFTP or FTPS for secure file transfer. Operating System: Windows

43. Pydio

Pydio, which used to be called AjaXplorer, is a file sync and sharing solution designed for enterprises and service providers. Commercial support is available. Operating System: Windows, Linux (Android and iOS clients available)

44. Seafile

With Seafile you can set up your own private cloud storage server or use their hosted service that is free for up to 1GB. It includes file syncing capabilities that are helpful for backup and recovery. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X

45. SparkleShare

SparkleShare creates a special folder on your computer that will be automatically kept in sync with remotely hosted folders. It can serve as an alternative to DropBox, as a backup solution or as a team collaboration tool for developers. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X

46. Syncany

Security-focused Syncany can securely transfer files to the cloud computing service of your choice. It’s still an alpha release in the early stages of development, but there is a usable download. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X

47. Syncthing

Syncthing was designed to be a secure and private alternative to public cloud backup and synchronization services. It offers strong encryption and authentication capabilities and includes an easy-to-use GUI. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X, Android

48. Unison

Another file synchronization tool, Unison can handle changes made to multiple copies of a file at the same time, making it a good option for distributed development teams or enterprise collaboration as well as for backup needs. It can work cross-platform and transfers files via SSH. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X,


49. 7-zip

In order to save space, most users compress their backup files. 7-zip can compress files up to 70 percent smaller than the well-known WinZip utility. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X

50. ArcConvert

This award-winning tool converts files saved in one file format to other file formats. It supports a wide array of file types and languages. Operating System: Windows

51. ArcThemALL!

This batch compression utility supports WinZip and 7-Zip file formats as well as its own UPX archive file format. Key features include self-extracting archives, AES-256 encryption, multiple language support and portability. Operating System: Windows

52. J7Z

This tool offers the same functionality at 7-Zip with a slightly different interface. It was designed to speed up the compression process for certain types of jobs. Operating System: Windows

53. Keka

Based on the same core engine as 7-zip, Keka can compress to seven different archive formats and extracts from thirteen more. It includes password-protected encryption capabilities. Operating System: OS X

54. PeaZip

Extremely powerful and flexible, PeaZip supports more than 150 different archive file formats. It also includes encryption, two-factor authentication, password management, split and merge, and secure deletion capabilities. Operating System: Windows, Linux, OS X

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

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