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Bacula is good, backups are hard

Just fin­ished im­ple­ment­ing a net­work back­up so­lu­tion for a cus­tomer us­ing Bac­u­la and reached these com­clu­sion­s:

  • Bac­u­la is hard. But that is most­­ly be­­cause the prob­lem is hard. You need to back­­up 30 dif­fer­­ent com­put­ers over a net, in a se­cure man­n­er, with dif­fer­­ent da­­ta sets for each... well, it is go­ing to in­­­volve defin­ing 30 datasets and so on.

  • Bac­u­la is very good. It sup­­ports VSS, which al­le­vi­ates the clas­sic win­­dows "that file is open you can not read it" prob­lem.

  • Back­­ing up Win­­dows suck­­s.

    1. It is pret­­­ty hard to know what to back­­­up ex­ac­t­­­ly to catch all con­­­figs and us­er da­­­ta. Not so much on XP, but on old­er ver­­­sion­s... yikes.

    2. You pret­­­ty much can't ev­er be sure you are al­lowed to back up ev­ery­thing. I have a file­serv­er with files the lo­­­cal ad­min­is­­­tra­­­tor can not read. So, it seems a us­er can cre­ate un­back­­­u­­­pable files!

  • I still need a de­­cent sys­tem back­­up for Lin­ux. I have used Mon­­do for a long time, but it's a pain in the but­t, and it's get­t­ing more painful as time pass­es. I want some­thing that I call and I get a nice DVD with the whole sys­tem in it. If you have a sug­­ges­­tion, please drop a com­­ment ;-)

  • A sys­tem that au­­to­­mates the back­­up pol­i­­cy as much as Bac­u­la does is great. Ex­­cept that it makes it quite hard to guess the ex­act amount of stor­age (I am do­ing disk-based back­­up­s) you will need.

  • For sim­­pler stuff, you should use flexback­­up. Their slo­­gan is aman­­da is "too much", and tar­ring things up by hand is­n't near­­ly enough and it pret­­ty much is what it does.

  • For per­­son­al stuff, rdif­f-back­­up is awe­­some. I re­al­­ly should write a graph­i­­cal tool for it one of these years :-)

Roberto Alsina / 2006-04-04 04:43:

There is no way to backup a windows PC correctly via Samba. Backuppc uses that, so it will not work.

It can be done *almost* right, but it will not work 100% of the time, or for 100% of the files :-(

It's in their FAQ, and it is a real problem in most serious environments.

peyote / 2006-04-04 04:43:

take a look at

It's quite easy to configure and for my old company did the job fine.

ccimiluca / 2006-04-04 04:44:

I think that the domain administrator could give files inaccessable by the local admin 'backup only' privleges. I know there is a default backup group which exists so that members of this group can backup files without being able to read them. My reccolection may be slightly off but the granularity and interactions of the Windows ACLs are both very nice and occasionally confusing.

Roberto Alsina / 2006-04-04 04:45:

Thanks for the hint re: backup privileges.

However, what's the point of a backup privilege that can't read the files? All the backup user has to do is back them up then read the backups! :-)

Henry Miller / 2006-04-04 04:45:

Congradulations on trying to back things up. I've been working in the backup industry for a few years now, and I can't tell you how many times I've heard people crying over lost data.

So... I hope you have at least 3 copies of everything (Unless you are backing up CVS, they should be separated by some time so you can get back mistakes), with one stored offsite.

By 3 copies I mean 3 physically different copies. There is one popular software product that will not be updated again because they had 3 backups - all to the one harddrive. (I can't give more details because they are still selling it and don't want customers to know)

Roberto Alsina / 2006-04-04 04:46:

Henry: Sure, don't worry, we are covered ;-)

Inorog / 2006-04-04 04:47:

Hello Roberto

I use backuppc on my network at work. It informs me right now that stores 4.2TB of data (worth 6 months of backup from 15 machines) on 270GB of physical disk. And it prepares things for DVD for you if you want too. We backup macos but not windows (although I know windows is a big application for people using it) and I'm rather sure it doesn't support backing up locked windows files.

Excellent product, IMNSHO. And yes, amanda is way too much.

Grohl / 2006-04-04 04:47:

In Linux, I know about g4u

but I never used it. I'll try backuppc :-)

In Windows I use Acronis . It's not free, but it's perfect to backup the whole HD and save in another PC using netwok

In Linux , I've use SysRescueCD: compress a partition, but record directly into CD/DVD dont work for me.

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