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Currently, I use Mozy Home to perform an online backup of my laptop. So far, this works well, since I only use one laptop that needs to be backed up. But, soon this may change and I want to explore other alternatives than having to perform an online backup on all machines.

Ideally, I want to set up a Network Computer (Laptop/Desktop) with enough storage to hold the backups for all other machines that I would have. Each machine should be responsible for performing their backup (to the Network Computer). This would require some capability like Mozy's incremental backup strategy, but instead of online backup, I would prefer it to be done locally to the Network Computer.

Can you recommend a local backup software (backup to a network pc, incremental backup, good restore options)?

I'm also looking for any ideas on a local backup strategy even if its different from what I've stated? What works and what doesn't work?

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Your question is better suited for superuser.com –  Daniel A. White Mar 22 '10 at 14:47
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5 Answers

For Mac OS X, Time Machine makes for a really simple and effective automated incremental backup system. You can even use it as a kind of "poor man's version control system". I expect there are similar systems for Linux/Windows or whatever OS you happen to be using.

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As convenient as it is - and it is - I wouldn't recommend TM for any form of version control. Snapshots are taken on its schedule, not on yours (though you can manually initiate one), and it prunes old backups too soon and too often to rely on it for that. That said, it is an effective as an incremental backup as part of an overall backup strategy. –  JRobert Mar 23 '10 at 22:43
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Key to the answer is - what client operating system(s) do you need to support?

You can use Crashplan to back up to your own storage. For pure *nix solutions then it's hard to beat rsnapshot (very similar to rdiff-backp that Jimmy suggested), but that's designed to be managed by the server, not the client. There's also the likes of Bacula, but that also is managed by the server, not the client.

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If you run Linux you can use rdiff-backup which keeps incremental backups, only limited by disk size. Works lika charm!

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You could look at a NAS to store your backups. Something like the WD MyBook World Edition can be connected to your network, and each connected computer can backup to it. I don't know how well it would scale, but this works for me for a desktop and laptop.

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I would recommend a folder syncing tool like SyncToy from Microsoft.

SyncToy 2.1 is a free application that synchronizes files and folders between locations. Typical uses include sharing files, such as photos, with other computers and creating backup copies of files and folders.

You can set it to mirror all changes to a folder and sync them across the local network (LAN), provided both computers are Windows OSs. Works pretty well for me...

I've also heard that Sync Back (free edition) is pretty good also.

SyncBack is our freeware program that helps you easily backup and synchronize your files to: the same drive; a different drive or medium (CDRW, CompactFlash, etc); an FTP server; a Network; or a Zip archive.

Also, as a side note, check out this question: Wired vs. Wireless: which is faster?. I would recommend that you use a wired connection, which will provide you with faster data transfers over the LAN.

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