Data Centers

How do I back up my important data with Yadis Backup?

Yadis! Backup divides backup jobs into tasks which can be configured to perform either local or ftp backup, but it also runs backups in real time.

There are tons of backup solutions available, ranging from simple, single-user applications to much larger, complex solutions. Most all of these solutions will do what the creators claim — back up your data. You always hope that data is backed up safely and that it will be there in that unforeseen moment when you need it.

There is one backup solution amid the myriad of others that offers a unique little twist on the old tried-and-true process. Yadis! Backup divides backup jobs into tasks that can be configured to perform either local or ftp backup. But what Yadis! does a bit differently is to run backups in real time. Whenever you make a change to your target file, your backup will quickly reflect that change. This means no scheduling is necessary. Good news for anyone who has forgotten to set up a backup schedule after making changes. Yadis! Backup offers a few other features that should appeal to users:

  • Tiny footprint
  • Simple to use
  • No program necessary to access backup files
  • Choice of exactly what to back up
  • Changes stored and backed up later if backup location not available

This blog post is also available in PDF format in a free TechRepublic download.

Installation

Yadis! Backup has a standard Windows installation process. Just download the installation file and run it. The only step that might trip you up is that it will ask if you are a novice or an expert. Choose expert...naturally.

Once Yadis! Backup is installed, you will find the new sub-menu in the Start Menu. Now, let's walk through the process of setting up a backup with this tool.

NOTE: For this article, I am using a standard Windows XP desktop installation. I will be focusing on the My Documents directory for backup.

Backup

The steps for creating a new backup are:

  • Open the Yadis! Backup Monitor
  • Click the New button
  • Select the type of task
  • Give the task (backup) a name and description
  • Select the source and the destination
  • Add masks to include or exclude files
  • Set up versioning (optional)
  • Choose the group the task will belong to

Now, let's give each step a bit of detail.

Open the Yadis! Backup Monitor

When you first start Yadis! Backup you might get a warning that Yadis! Backup is already running. This is fine. The daemon is started upon installation. If Yadis! Backup is running, you will notice a small, round green icon in the System Tray. If you right-click that icon and select Open Monitor, then the Yadis! Backup main window will open (Figure A). From this window you click the New button, which needs no further details.

Figure A

From this window you can Add/Edit/Delete tasks as well as Start/Stop the Yadis! Backup Daemon.

Select the type of task

In Figure B you can see that there are three different types of tasks to select:
  • General: Create a standard backup on a local drive (can be a mapped network drive).
  • Favorites: Create a backup from your Favorites directory.
  • FTP: Create an FTP backup.

You will also notice the choice of Advanced or Standard mode. The difference between these two is that Advanced offers versioning and file monitoring. Once you have made these selections, click the Next button to move on.

Figure B

Most of your backups will be either General or FTP. And if you need to keep only one copy of the backup, you will not need versioning, so choose the Standard mode.

Give the task a name and description

You will need to give your backup a name and description, as shown in Figure C. Only the name will appear in the Task list, so the description could be considered as optional.

Figure C

Make sure the name indicates what is being backed up.

Once you have completed this step, click the Next button to continue.

Select the source and destination

Now it's time to select the files/folders to be backed up and the location that will house the backup copies. As you can see in Figure D, this is fairly straightforward. If you want to back up a network drive (that is not an FTP location), you will need to make sure that drive is pre-mapped, otherwise Yadis! will not see the location. In my example I am backing up a pre-mapped Samba server on a local network.

There are two options underneath the directory selectors: Preserve Directory Structure and Validate Target. You want to keep both of these checked. If you uncheck Preserve Directory Structure, Yadis! might explode the files housed in sub-directories into one directory, making a mess of your backup target. And if you do not validate the target, you might be unwittingly backing up to a target that won't work.

Figure D

As you can see, I am backing up to \\192.168.1.10\JACK, which has been mapped to the X: drive.

Once that is complete, click the Next button.

Add masks to include or exclude files

This next step should also be fairly straightforward. You can include or exclude file types such as *jpg or *mp3. To add either an include or an exclude mask, click the "+" sign associated with the type of mask you want to add. By default, Yadis! will provide an include mask of  *.* (Figure E), which means it will include all files.

Figure E

To remove a mask, you only have to click the "-" sign in the associated mask.

Once you have added the masks you want (or none at all), click the Next button to move on.

Set up versioning

If you have opted for the Advanced mode, you can enable versioning here. What this allows you to do is keep older versions of your backup. You can configure how many older versions to keep in this window (Figure F).

Figure F

If these are production backups, it's probably best to keep a version or two around.

Once it is complete, click the Next button.

Choose the group the task will belong to

The last step (Figure G) asks you to add your task to a group. This makes organizing your backups much easier. By default there is only one group — My Tasks. If you need to add more groups, click the Manage Groups button. If you know that you are going to be creating numerous backups, it would behoove you to take advantage of the Groups feature.

Figure G

When you click the Manage Groups button, you will see a window similar to the initial Yadis! window (see Figure A above). Click the New button to create a new Group.

Once you click the Save button, Yadis! will give you a warning (if you have set up your destination on a network drive), making sure you trust the network device. Click Yes to this warning, and then Yadis! will ask if you want to immediately back up the files. Click Yes and you're finished.

Final thoughts

Yadis! Backup is one of the more foolproof backup solutions I've come across. If you are looking for a simple backup solution that does not require any scheduling, this might be what you are seeking. It's not exactly Enterprise-ready, but for smaller backups it's a pretty sweet solution.

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About

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.

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