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Introduction

Only wimps use tape backup: real men just upload their important stuff on ftp, and let the rest of the world mirror it! (Linus Torvalds)

That was a long time ago (well... 1996!). Backup demands have changed. But I feel user's needs have not been really addressed in mainstream since then.

Problem description

If you think more about what kind of backup is really needed, two main points come to your mind: Your datastore should be

  • redundant
  • versioned

Redundancy is easy; RAID creation with mirroring contents on another disk is relatively simple.
On the other hand, it would be nice if everything is versioned - that means with RAID-1 only if you accidentially delete a file, it is gone on all disks which might not be the desired effect.
This is the point where most people tend to search for backup solutions. I have to admit, I really have tried a lot of solutions for the linux desktop, but they didn't really satisfy me (the whole set of problems appeared: too slow, buggy, project discontinued, extreme discomfort, corrupted snapshots, ...).
The next logical step is, if you are able to let mirroring happen in background without any trouble, the analogy to versioning is not that far away. The problem is, current filesystems (that means those with greater marketshare - not niché or research projects) are not capable of that.

The Question:

Is it a feasible challenge for todays advanced linux user to set up a redundant and versioned filesystem as a datastore intentioned for everyday use, mainly home and office?
This question should give the opportunity for discussion as well as solution proposals. Solution proposals might involve aspects like comfort, price, simplicity, usability, etc.

Detailed question from the point of view of an unexperienced person:

I've read mainly the Wikipedia article about ZFS. What is the current state of the project and would it be a suitable solution according to my question? Alternatives?

Before I forget: when I think of linux, Ubuntu comes to mind because of personal background.
Thank you in advance for your answers!

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Versioned & redundant filesystem is nice, but it is definitely not a backup! Any sane backup should be off-line, and preferably off-site. You don't want a faulty PSU destroying everything connected to it, etc. –  haimg Oct 21 '11 at 14:29
    
True! But I'm sure you could combine both aspects - versioned, redundant filesystem on external disk(s). –  phineas Oct 21 '11 at 14:58
    
Are you looking for this filesystem for a central file server, or for your desktops/laptops? –  sblair Oct 28 '11 at 9:44
    
"mainly home and office" - This is targeted mainly at desktops, because it's easier to put more disks in than laptops. And if such filesystem works on a desktop, I assume you could use it in a Network Attached Storage in office as well. –  phineas Oct 29 '11 at 13:34
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closed as not constructive by techie007, 8088, Simon Sheehan, studiohack Nov 18 '11 at 4:37

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1 Answer

You should take a look at Boar. It is not a file system (but snapshots can be accessed as filesystems), so it might not fit your requirements exactly. Still, it might be useful in your situation. Boar provides "simple version control and backup for photos, videos and other binary files". The boar repository is intended to be a safe long-term home for all your important binary data. The format of the repository itself is so simple that your files can be extracted even if the original software is unavailable. Verified backups can easily be created and kept up to date. Disclaimer: I'm the author of Boar.

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