I’m looking for a solution that allows me to manage my clients’ backups from a centralized server in my office. The scenario is the following:

Management Server:

  • Installed in my Office
  • Network is behind NAT (ports can be forwarded)
  • Preferably web interface, but it can be any graphic software, Windows or Linux based.
  • It must be aware (and warn me if asked to) if a backup client hasn’t sent his report in time (for example if the backed up computer was shut down before finishing the copy)
  • The connection between backup clients and management server should be started by the backup client, to avoid the need of forwarded ports on clients. This is not a must, but please point it out is this requirement is not met in your solution
  • As an extra, it would be great if I could create or modify tasks directly from the management server (so they’re applied next time the client starts a connection), however, monitoring is just enough.
  • I prefer free solutions, open source if possible.

Client A:

  • Network behind NAT
  • Several Windows machines backing up data to a NAS located in the same network they are.
  • The reports of the copies must be sent to the management server inside MY office (so they have to connect across the Internet)

Client B:

  • Network behind NAT (ports cannot be forwarded)
  • Several Windows machines backing up data to USB storages
  • The reports of the copies must be sent to the management server inside MY office (so they have to connect across the Internet)
  • The client wants to receive a copy of the reports. I’d prefer the management server to send it instead the backup clients.

Most backup clients are Windows workstations or Windows servers. Some Linux machines have to be backed up too, however right now a Windows-only solution is just enough to solve my current problem.

At the moment we're using SyncBack with email log reports, however, we have no management server, and we have to keep in mind how many report emails we have to recive every day from every client, because if backup is not started we have no way to know it.

This is what I've found so far:

However, all solutions seem to need the management server to start the task on the clients, instead of them being scheduled on clients directly. They both look good to backup several PCs in the same network, but not for the Internet. Some of my clients have 50 PCs in an office. It would be a hell to mantain such number of port forwardings: I've had several cases where an ISP "technician" resets a client's router to factory defaults without writting down forwarded ports. One client had a very important VPN server on their office. The technician didn't give the router password to anyone after factory reset and password change, and we had to wait more than 5 hours until someone in the phone was allowed to forward a port: a hell, so I really prefer to avoid port forwardings on client's routers.

EDIT: I just found Bacula. I'm not sure if it will allow me to perform onsite remote backups, but it looks promising, I hope that backup clients stablish connections with the server and not the other way around.

Thanks in advance.

  • So what research have you done on this? Did you already narrow down your search? – Seth Jan 11 '17 at 9:38
  • Hello. I found barely nothing. I edited my initial post to show it. I'm not very sure about the technical name to search for. If I looked for rsync standalone solution i'd google for "incremental backup", but for this the only thing that cmes to mind is "onsite backup remote management" – DGoiko Jan 11 '17 at 9:42
  • Are there already reports being generated? If it is the case you might be better of looking for an application that would just check for some kind of daily mail and alert you if it's missing. I would expect some bigger, commercial solutions to cover this in some form as a scenario. After all you're just looking for some form of "Remote Site Backup" if I understand your case correctly. My guess would be that most of those still would initiate the backup from your office. As for Port Forwarding you probably would only need a few as they would use the same communication ports. – Seth Jan 11 '17 at 9:50
  • Hi Seth. Reading current reports was my first tought, howver my boss didn't like it much. I was about to search for (or write a single one) an aplication to check a database of "expected emails" (determined by source, dest,subject and time, for example). If an email doesnt arrive, highlight a problem. If an email arrives, pattern check to highlight errors. However, I couldn't find such an aplication, and my boss didnt allow me to code it :S. If with Remote Site Backup you mean to make LAN backups but monitor them from WAN (Internet), it is just that. – DGoiko Jan 11 '17 at 10:04

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