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I would like to be able to backup ALL my computers data on a Linux server. For now, I have a home server, but soon I will be traveling, without home (so no home server).

I was thinking of renting a dedicated linux webserver, but this is expensive, and I don't need a fast machine "web-oriented" with mysql server and all, I just need a full SSH access (full control, and then I install my programs).

Does "backup servers" exist ? Am I doing it wrong (maybe that is not a good solution) ?

Note : I run Mac OS, Windows and Linux, I backup through rsync, I want full control on my backup, not an automated "magic" backup like MobileMe or anything like that.

Edit : I need around 100 to 500GB storage (I want to backup my laptop)

OK well there is a lot of solutions, but no one that suits me :

  • automated backup through software : I don't want them, I want full control
  • Amazon S3 could have been a solution, but this seems to have some problems with rsync (as the file structure is different from a "real" filesystem"), and it still costs more than a dedicated server. Furthermore this is not a server, so I can't install programs and do basic operations on my files on the server
  • most VPS I found are web oriented : not much disk space, and not that much cheap

I found dedicated servers around 40 $ / months with 500GB, that is quite expensive for what I want to do, I'll wait to see if I really need that.

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There's always the low-tech solution of "backup to CD" but you want your data accessible from anywhere. –  Broam Mar 10 '10 at 23:59
Yes, I would just need a bag that can contain around 700 CDs, and carry that everywhere lol –  Matthieu Napoli Mar 11 '10 at 15:16
or a 500 gb external drive + laptop- you might be able to even do it with a 2.5 inch drive –  Journeyman Geek Mar 12 '10 at 15:33
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6 Answers

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Why does it have to be a backup to a Linux server? You could buy a few terabyte external hard disks. They're getting fairly cheap.

Besides, even disregarding cost problems, transmitting half a terabyte over most communication lines is a problem in itself. Assuming my home connection is fully loaded 24/7, it would take a couple of weeks to download a half terabyte, and I don't know how long to upload it.

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Well it is the backup of my laptop, so the first sync is 500Gb (well, less actually, but i rounded). The following backups are only for the changed files. And I can't carry an external hard disk –  Matthieu Napoli Mar 13 '10 at 18:30
@Matthieu: Okay, but I would suggest figuring your communication speed to see how long it would take to transmit 500 GB. You might want to check if your connection has any gigabyte cap. I don't know where you are, but here in the US there are plenty of ISPs that wouldn't allow that much data transfer in a month. –  David Thornley Mar 14 '10 at 22:37
Hmm well you are right, I didn't really see the difference between my actual configuration (home server), but my initial backup (with 500Gb) was done through the local network. I think you're right, this is maybe not adapted to my needs. I'll try to manage to find a place for my home server asap. –  Matthieu Napoli Mar 15 '10 at 16:46
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Sounds like you need a VPS with root access.

Here is one such provider http://www.jumba.com.au/vps

A VPS will give you access to a linux box, and you can pretty much do with it what you want (within the TOS).

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All VPS I found have not much disk storage, and it is understandable as it is virtual machine (so not that much important for a virtual machine) –  Matthieu Napoli Mar 12 '10 at 9:28
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If you are using 500MB take a look at Dropbox getdropbox.com or Microsoft Mesh http://connect.microsoft.com/LiveMesh. If you really want to use rsync look into Amazon S3/EC2.

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This is an 'automated magic backup' and you don't have full control. –  Broam Mar 10 '10 at 23:58
@Broam, thats not true, there a lots of manual control solutions which revolve around S3, including rsync and mounting the volume directly. To me this is the best solution, because it means you aren't paying for all of a dedicated host, just storage. –  micmcg Mar 11 '10 at 0:21
This sounds interesting, I am looking at it. But for the record I made a little mistake, I was talking about 500Gb, not Mb. I need rsync and eventually mounting the disk through internet (that would be the best), so if that's what S3 is about, great. –  Matthieu Napoli Mar 11 '10 at 9:14
I didn't find a way to mount S3 as a "real" drive (on mac). I don't want to use a software to do the backup. And rsync seems not really adapted because of the structure of S3, it can't transfer only the difference between 2 versions of a file (it has to upload everytime the whole file). Furthermore for 500Gb it is as expensive as a full linux web server. –  Matthieu Napoli Mar 11 '10 at 10:47
Look into FuseFS or use EC2 as a front end. You will have a hard time with a 500GB requirement especially if you move a lot of files back and forth. –  user10547 Mar 11 '10 at 15:36
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I would backup to S3, its cheap, available, and there are any number of backup solutions available, ranging from automagic to manual. Google will help you with more info - http://www.google.com.au/search?q=s3+rsync

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I didn't find a way to mount S3 as a "real" drive (on mac). I don't want to use a software to do the backup. And rsync seems not really adapted because of the structure of S3, it can't transfer only the difference between 2 versions of a file (it has to upload everytime the whole file). Furthermore for 500Gb it is as expensive as a full linux web server. –  Matthieu Napoli Mar 11 '10 at 10:48
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Dedicated backup services do exist, two examples I know of are http://www.bqbackup.com/ and http://rsync.net/, but for 500Gb these are going to cost even more than the dedicated server you mention.

Do you have any friends with always-on internet connections that they run a small server on? Or could you make your current home server accessible for you to backup to when you are remote? Though the main problem here is speed, including the fact that most home connections are asymmetric so it may be slow restoring files remotely (compared to the speed of backing them up remotely). This (rsync to my home server) is how I currently backup the data on my netbook while traveling - it works well, but I'm only talking about ~5Gb not ~500...

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Well I've already checked my friends and parents, but it's not possible to host a server there because the internet connections are really slow. And yes, your dedicated backup services will cost me about as much as a dedicated server. When I talk about 500Gb, it is for the 1st sync, then its only the modified files. –  Matthieu Napoli Mar 13 '10 at 18:28
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Disk space on rented hosting is what costs the most. Depending on how much you are looking to back up, could be a crippling cost.

Why don't you register an address with DynDNS or one of the other dynamic DNS services and just forward whatever ports you need for backup from your router to your backup box? This will expose your backup server to the Internet, but if secured correctly the risk is fairly small. This way your data is still solely controlled by you and you can use your current setup and it will be accessible while you travel. (and it's free!)

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Soon I will have no home : no home server, nothing. And I will need to backup around 500Mb, so not that much, it is just that I am a backup-paranoid so I want backups backups backups :), available from anywhere in the world –  Matthieu Napoli Mar 10 '10 at 23:19
Ohhh, gotcha. I thought you meant that you would be away from home for an extended period of time. My mistake. –  MDMarra Mar 11 '10 at 0:05
Oops for the record I was talking about 500Gb, not Mb sorry –  Matthieu Napoli Mar 11 '10 at 9:11
@Matthieu: That does make a difference. 500MB fits nicely on a CD-ROM, and you can get that amount of on-line storage free quite easily. –  David Thornley Mar 12 '10 at 15:24
Yep I know, i'm talking about a full backup of my laptop (so 500gb max, it is around 100 - 200 Gb) –  Matthieu Napoli Mar 13 '10 at 18:31
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