With Linux, you will find quite a lot of backup tools, ranging from the overly simple to the overly complex. There are command-line tools, GUI tools, server-based tools, and combinations. Some of these backups are so incredibly difficult, their usefulness comes into question. So where do you find that happy medium? That, of course, depends upon your purpose and your budget.
I want to suggest what I believe are the five best Linux backup tools, which cover everything from the simple desktop to the complicated server backups. These are all free, except for one enterprise tool that requires support.
LuckyBackup is my go-to backup tool for the Linux desktop. It's easy to use and flexible, reliable, and it's one of the few desktop GUI entries that make it easy to set up scheduling. But don't let its ease of use fool you. LuckyBackup is powerful. Lucky can handle full backups, snapshots, sync backups, inclusion/exclusion, local or remote backups, restore, simulation, and much more. If you're looking for the ideal Linux desktop backup, LuckyBackup just might be your lucky charm.
DejaDup is another easy-to-use Linux desktop backup tool. Some users might find it overly simplified, with its single window consisting of two large buttons labeled Restore and Back Up. But there is a decent feature list behind those two buttons. DejaDup offers support for local and remote backups (even Amazon S3, RackSpace Cloud Files, and Ubuntu One), encryption, compression, incremental backups, backup schedules, and full GNOME integration. In other words, that simple interface is ideally suited for users who want a tool that can reliably back up their data without a lot of complexity.
These two commands are the bread and butter of most backup systems. But just because they are used by so many GUI tools, that doesn't mean you can't use them from the command line. With these two tools, and a bit of bash scripting, you can create some powerful backup solutions. Add cron to the mix, and those powerful, user-generated tools can be scheduled as flexibly as any backup tool. These tools are often the only option when dealing with a GUI-less server.
The dd command is an ideal command-line tool for making bit-for-bit copies of a hard drive. This tool can copy a single file or an entire drive. When you need to clone a drive, and the command line is all you have available, dd is what you will need. Like the tar/rsync one-two punch, dd and rsync can do the same thing, only with an entire drive. Use this tool to create regular images of your drive in case something catastrophic happens and you need to restore a cloned copy of a drive.
5: Acronis for Linux
That's right, one of the Mac Daddies of backup has an option for the Linux server. Acronis Backup and Recover (ABR) 11 for Linux has arrived and it's pure power. A full-featured, GUI enterprise backup solution is available for those needing a seriously powerful backup solution with the inclusion of support. Granted, the cost for ABR 11 ($853 per license) will stab at your budget. But for those who rely on a company behind products, ABR 11 is the right tool for the job.
Five backups, five styles, and five possible solutions for your Linux backup needs. Everything from the simple, single-purpose backup to the powerful and costly enterprise-grade backup. Are there any other Linux backup solutions you would add to this list?
Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.