I have a couple of work machines (win and linux) that I use for development, each with <500GB SSD storage, and a pair of USB-C 1TB drives to use for backup.

These machines (especially the linux) have a lot of configuration and tool setup that I want to be able to restore completely and easily in the event of a failure.

I am thinking about partitioning the 1TB drives with a very small partition for Clonezilla (about 300MB) and the rest as data.

Then I can make the backup drives themselves bootable, and have them clone the host machine SSD into the data partition. With two drives I can alternate them so I have two physical copies never more than 2 weeks old.

With USB-C the backup will run at about 5GB/min so even when my drives start to get full, it's 100 minutes for a full backup. So it becomes hardly worth adding the extra complexity of incrementals. I can run the two backups simultaneously as well, with the two drives.

What are the weaknesses of this scheme, other than needing to store physical copies safely?


I realise that making a full clone of two boxes seems a bit heavy - but at the moment they each run in less than 30 mins. I can do this weekly with very little pain, and then I can always get a fully working install back with no more than 2 weeks loss of work. (And most likely I can get back the important stuff from my git repo.)

Basically I cannot afford a lot of time to setup/maintain backups, and this just works. It's a bit clunky but I don't care as long as I can get up and running again ASAP if bad things happen.

It would be nice to do a daily incremental, perhaps with rsync - is there a way to tell rsync to "initialise" itself from the filesystem without actually copying anything, so that the next day it can scan and only copy new/changed files?

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    Hi, are you perform a full image of the system every week with clonezilla? In my personal opinion this i quite a lot, you can think about to preserve the clonezilla image when big changes are done (a full system upgrade, a development kit upgrade ecc. ecc.) one before the "dangerous" operation and one after check all is working well. For the daily backup (full/incremental) you could think to configure some think like Bacula and or LVM snapshot, like this will be more easy manage the full backup and the incrementals, because with live backup the window when you can perform a backup is larger.
    – AtomiX84
    Dec 30, 2019 at 14:12
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    Check out urbackup.org as it does incremental images backups. It does file level incremental backups as well. Just FYI if nothing else. Dec 30, 2019 at 15:09
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    This takes the image backups of the systems when they are online too. I've not played with CZ for a while, but I remember always taking images with CZ while it was offline. I've used URBackup and it works well for backups and restores both windows and linux. Dec 30, 2019 at 15:11
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    Play with it some, maybe you can use it in place of CZ. For me, I set up one URBackup server and then install the URBackup client software on the clients and they do their backups based on what I've configured on the server client settings for the servers I have backup to the server. I let the backup files go to the URBackup repository or whatever, and then from there I use a daily RSync and/or Robocopy job to copy what's needed to the externally attached USB drives or whatever. I think there is a .hashes and .pool folder or something like that I exclude from the Rsync and.or Robocopy jobs. Dec 30, 2019 at 15:18
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    Let me know once you dig into it if you run into anything, I'll be happy to share my knowledge, etc. if I can to help you. Just be sure to tag me back when/if you need something. It works well for the company I got it set up for a few years back. And I've successfully had to do full image restores with it too. For and actual recovery situation of a system, and also at times just for routine confirmation to ensure it works as expected. Backing up is just half of it, so knowing the restore process and being able to perform it is the other half. Obviously, right.... So be sure to test both!! Dec 30, 2019 at 15:28


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