Looking for a remote backup server
Q I am looking at setting up a remote backup server to back up various Windows desktops and servers. I am looking for a backup package for the Linux Server as well as the client software to manage the backup from the client PCs.
A I suggest you take a look at BackupPC (http://backuppc.sourceforge.net). It is an entirely server-based backup program. By that I mean that no special software is required on the client PCs and all backups are controlled from and initiated by the server. This means that you do not need to rely on users remembering to start backups, or set up Cron tasks on each computer.
BackupPC has a web-based front-end, so you can browse and restore complete backups or individual files or directories. Restoration can be directly back to the filesystem from which the files came, or the files to be restored can be downloaded as a tarball or zip archive. The web interface provides an overview of all the computers it manages, with details of all their backups. You even get email alerts if any backup fails, although BackupPC will normally continue when it can with no need for intervention (this occasionally happens to me when I shut down my laptop while it is being backed up).
BackupPC communicates with the client computers using Samba, SSH, NFS or rsync, so you don't need any special software on the client computers - just ensure that BackupPC has permission to read shares or connect via SSH. As you are backing up a number of possibly similar computers, you'll be pleased to know that BackupPC saves on both disk space and backup time by storing multiple copies of files as hard links. If the same file is on 10 computers, the server stores only one copy.
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