Recently I needed to back up one of my Linux machines as I was planning to upgrade the version of Fedora I had installed. In the past I had used the inbuilt backup tool, but with mixed results. Annoyingly one backup was unreadable after I had reinstalled so I was unable to restore my files. This time I took a look at a couple of other options;
Bacula: Having heard it mentioned on one of the podcasts I listen to, I forget which, this was my first port of call. Bacula is an open source backup tool, with the ability to backup over a network. It’s made to be an enterprise tool and perhaps this is why I struggled with it initially. It’s a very powerful tool, but I just wanted a simple one off backup to an external storage device so most of what Bacula excels at wasn’t particularly relevant. This isn’t criticism of Bacula, it just wasn’t the right tool for the job.
Rsync/Plain old copying: I’ve combined both these options as they’re very much the same thing, simply copying the files on to the external drive. Again this is something I’ve done in the past and mostly it’s worked just fine, it does rely on a particularly unreliable, fallible component however…. me! In the past I’ve started backing up my files, only to get to the end and I’ve forgotten one of my folders! I wanted something where I could select a number of files and press go, and unfortunately Rsync and copying wasn’t that.
fwbackups: This was the option I finally settle for, fwbackups. Another open source solution it does support scheduled backups and backing up remotely but most importantly it provides a nice simple interface for backing up to an external drive, etc. I was able to select everything I wanted to backup and then leave fwbackups to it, checking back periodically to see it’s progress. The tool was very simple to use and I was grateful for the clean UI.
If there’s any tools you use, or if you think I’ve done any of the above a disservice, please feel free to suggest or correct in the comments!