rsnapshot or flexbackup?

My backup solution used to be flexbackup. In fact I am still using it while I evaluate rsnapshot. I recently had bought 2 320G drives and used them in a RAID1 configuration. These eventually appeared to fail (they have since been "repaired" by using Seagate's SeaTools software; apparently RAID arrays don't like bad blocks too much) and I reverted back to the old 120G drive that I was using before I went to the RAID1 configuration. Anyways, during the period that I thought my drives or motherboard were totally screwed up (thanks for SeaTools Desktop which is not very good, unlike SeaTools for DOS which is) I bought a new computer since I sort of needed one anyways.

In my new computer I got another 320G hard drive (no RAID1 this time). So I have two extra 320G drives laying around (that had since been repaired using SeaTools for DOS). I decided to use these two drives as backups. For a while I kept my flexbackup nightly cron jobs going, which tarball up my user data and puts it on my MythTV box (which has lots of free space). And I used my 320G drives as an rsync backup of my entire drive. This was kind of lame, but I liked how all the data was right there. No tarballs to unpack. It sucks not having nightly or weekly backups though.

Then I discovered rsnapshot. It essentially makes uncompressed incremental backups while still giving you a snapshot of your entire drive (except any "excludes"), through the magic of hard links. With the price of hard disks these days, it makes absolutely no sense to use compression. If network traffic is an issue, then maybe. But if you're mostly backing up photos like me, then compression won't help too much.

So I put each of my 2 320G hard drives in an enclosure (with eSATA). Every Sunday I will rotate them out and take one of them to work as an off-site backup. The is the first time ever that I have had true off-site backup. Normally I have backed up my stuff to the same machine, same hard drive, different hard drive, or a different machine in the same building. Recently after moving into a new place I became a bit more worried about a buglar making off with both my main machine and my mythtv box that had my flexbackup backups on it. rsnapshot and the fact that I have tons of space on 2 320G drives seems to be providing the perfect solution for me right now: incremental backups, nightly snapshots of all my data without compression, and off-site backup.



When we switched over to macbook pro's we investigated a bunch of backup options. Settled on rsnapshot as well, with rsync to a remote server for offsite backups. We keep a rolling set of backups on the laptop (X days, with Y weekly) and rsync these over to a backup server.

Takes up some space locally but nice to have that file immediately available if there is a problem (we've only seen this with address book /dev/nulling itself via ical invites) and rsyncing the deltas means staff aren't too concerned about sucking up their shaw/telus bandwidth when they bring the laptop home.

And it's cross platform too, yay! Having made the transition from windows -> linux a number of years ago, then from linux -> macs it'll be nice when heaven forbids something better comes along....

You just gave me a good idea. Maybe I don't need to swap my two drives every two weeks to have off-site backup. I could just leave one at work all the time and rsync that to the USB drive connected to my home computer. I was thinking that I wouldn't be able to access the one at work, but I can ssh from work to home, so I can rsync that way. The only other worry would be network bandwidth. Hopefully the deltas aren't that much, but I wouldn't want to get in trouble at work for using too much bandwidth especially since I just started here. Another option is for me to put one of the USB drives at my parents house and rsync it nightly. They turn off their computer every night, so that might not work. It would be nice if my off-site backup just involved doing something over the network, rather than physically transporting the drive.

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