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I'm running Arch Linux and looking for a simple, lightweight backup tool so I don't have to worry about losing my critical data.

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12 Answers 12

up vote 8 down vote accepted

rsync, or unison

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unison, while awesome, is for file synchronization, thus not really suited for backups. In particular, it does not (easily) let you keep old backups. – sleske Mar 29 '10 at 21:58

rsnapshot is based on rsync, and seems to work quite well.

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It's like a command line-only version of Time Machine. Excellent. – Tomas Andrle Sep 26 '10 at 13:35

I use BackupPC. It's fairly good, although it really shines when backing up more than one computer, due to it sharing equal files to save space.

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dirvish is great. There's a decent tutorialhere.

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+1 I use dirvish and find it great. – sleske Mar 29 '10 at 21:56

According to jwz, it's rsync.

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I like rdiff-backup for backing my desktop up to my server. rdiff-backup keeps an up-to-date copy in the filesystem you back up to, so it is easy to copy back the file you just deleted by accident, and the backups are done incrementally, so you only need to transfer the changes.

I run it from a @reboot job in my personal crontab, where I also delete any backups older than three months, so it is all done automatically when I turn on my computer in the morning.

The only caveat is that the version of rdiff-backup more or less has to match on the machine you back up and the machine you back up to (which takes a little work sometimes, when your desktop runs Debian unstable and your server stable, but the hassle is not that big.)

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I prefer bup, it:

  • has an easy commandline interface
  • supports versioning
  • can do remote backups easily
  • its storage format is based on git, so you can use the git tool to view the repository
  • even works for VM images (thats right, with deduplication between two backups)
  • is easy to browse old file revisions via FUSE Module
  • does reasonable fast incremental backups
  • is space efficient
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+1 for dirvish : ideal if you want to keep snapshots of several servers in disk. uses rsync under the hood.

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I use a cronjob that takes my filesystem and puts it into a .tar.gz, and copies it to my external hard drive. This is good if your space is limited. My filesystem has about 30-40gb of files, and it compresses down to 8gb. You can also use an "exclude" file to list files or directories to not back up. Rsync can also do excludes.

If your CPU is fast enough, it's fairly fast. I can do mine in about 30-45 minutes with an Athlon II X4.

However, I'm thinking about switching to an rsync cronjob so I'm not continuously tarring the same files every week. My external drive is 1.5tb, so I have plenty of space for uncompressed files. And it should be faster to only copy what has changed.

If you're going to upload your backups to the internet, compressing your files would be much better. Less time to upload and using less of your precious space.

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I'm using Cedar Backup to do full and incremental backups to DVD. It works for small amounts of data, when it all fits on a single DVD.

I'm currently looking for a better solution.

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An easy-to-use GUI to rsync.

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I found Simple Backup easy to use and lightweight.

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