backup tools

Chad Perrin perrin at
Fri Jun 22 16:09:06 UTC 2012

I'm setting up a "new" backup server using FreeBSD.  It will be used for
backing up laptops, which will not be connected to the network by any
kind of schedule, so backups will be initiated manually rather than by
cron or other scheduled procedures.  I'm trying to decide on what tools
to use for managing backups.  In the past I have used rsync, which has
worked reasonably well, but fails one of my desired criteria for the new
backup procedures, and is less than ideal for others.

My criteria for procedures are:

1. They should minimize the need for additional software beyond the base
system as much as reasonably possible.  This means not only that I do not
want to have to specify the installation of a bunch of stuff, but also
that I do not want a bunch of dependencies pulled in with something I
choose to install (if anything).  Ideally, I should be able to do this
with just the base system, though that seems unlikely at this point.

2. They should require only copyfree licensed or public domain tools --
no copyleft licensed tools, no proprietary licensed tools, no
noncommercial or nonderivative licensed tools, and no "permissively"
licensed tools where the license comes with annoying restrictions such as
the Apache License requirements for specific bookkeeping procedures.  I
might bend on the requirement for non-copyfree "permissive" licenses if I
have to, but I'd rather not; bending on any of the others would probably
involve just giving up and going back to rsync.

3. They should provide for incremental backups.

4. They should provide for the ability to quickly and easily test backup
integrity without restoring the backups anywhere, which most likely means
some kind of checksum comparisons akin to what rsync provides.

5. They should allow for transferring data from the system to be backed
up to the backup server via SSH.

6. They should use tools as simple as possible, preferably command line

7. There should be documentation somewhere out there for how to set
something like this up, someone willing to help me figure out how to get
it set up, or an obvious path to setting it up so that I do not spend a
week just figuring it all out, if at all possible.

8. They should preferably not require creating a local archive on the
laptop before copying to the backup server if it can reasonably be
avoided, so that a big chunk of empty HDD space will not need to be
maintained for backups to work.

Any help figuring out what tools would work for these purposes would be
appreciated.  I might be able to make exceptions for some parts of this
if there are suitable alternative approaches.

Thanks in advance for any help I can get in figuring this out.

Chad Perrin [ original content licensed OWL: ]

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