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Could you suggest feature-rich disk-based personal backup program for linux (and I've seen a few)?

I want to do nightly backups of the whole system and be able to rollback to any of last 7 days. And, it must be incremental backups. What tool should I use? The tutorials I've read about rsync tell only how to store latest incremental backup and I need last 7.

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marked as duplicate by Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007, slhck, Randolph West, 8088, Nifle Sep 5 '11 at 8:15

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

Which operating systems do you need to do the backup on? – hpy Sep 4 '11 at 19:29
@penyuan ubuntu 10.04 – Poma Sep 5 '11 at 5:20
Upon further clarification (see comments added to my answer below), it appears this is not really an exact duplicate of those other questions. Poma wants to back up a running web server, which has different implications than regular personal backup software. But since this question is closed, he should post a new question about how to back up a web server (including what brand/version of web server, what other software are running on it e.g. MySQL) or search for an existing answer for web server backups. – Mike Rowave Sep 5 '11 at 13:44
up vote 1 down vote accepted

If you want to back up the whole system including the system folders like /var, /usr, and /etc, you'll need to do more than just installing some backup software. Backing up a running system is problematic unless you do the right things to enable it to happen reliably.

Either you'll need to reboot using a CD or external drive or another OS on the same machine so that the partitions and files you want to back up aren't in use during the backup process, or you'll need to use a filesystem setup that has snapshot capabilities, such as LVM and/or btrfs. A true full system backup would also include backing up the MBR, not just the files.

If you really want a full system backup, it won't be quick and easy. Do you really need that level of backup? Maybe all you really need is to back up specific folders in your home directory?

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Yes, I need exactly this, full backup with MBR. I'm backing up a webserver so it needs to be reliable so that I can restore backup to bare-metal system. Can you please tell me more information about LVM snapshot capabilities and how it ensures that files aren't in use? – Poma Sep 5 '11 at 7:23
LVM and snapshot-capable filesystems like btrfs, zfs don't stop files from being used. What it does is preserve a copy of all the files on the partition(s) at a point in time, so whatever is read from the snapshot is a complete time-consistent copy of everything that was there at the time the snapshot was taken. That avoids the sort of problems you would have if files get modified or deleted or created during the backup process which could take several minutes. – Mike Rowave Sep 5 '11 at 12:04
If you're not already using it, LVM or other snapshot-capable technology will require you to reformat the disk. Search the web for "logical volume management" and "LVM snapshots". Note that a full system backup might not be the best solution for a web server, given how long it takes and the sort of processes that might be running on it. For example, if there is a database running on it, the database may have its own backup/restore features that are more reliable and efficient than filesystem-level backups. Database backups can also enable you to restore back to a second before the crash. – Mike Rowave Sep 5 '11 at 12:16
I ended up using rsnapshot tool that takes advantage of hard links and rsync incremental backup and creates full system snapshot in seconds (given that server environment doesn't change that much). It also has built-in support for LVM snapshot features. – Poma Sep 5 '11 at 19:37

I am using duplicity. It is simple as soon as you read the manpage and figure out the command line options. I do backups for a single directory, not for the whole system though.

I think duplicity also has some GUI frontends, but interacting directly with the CLI app is not scary.

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for example, Déjà Dup is a GUI frontend to duplicity that can be installed from ubuntu software central – laurent Sep 4 '11 at 20:08

Back in time is a nice and simple back up utility.

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