Home network backups with BackupPC

BackupPC is an open source backup project that allows you to back up a range of OSs to a network server, which I've recently installed both at home and professionally. It has a number of attributes which make it a very attractive system to use:

  • It's available as a debian package in the "testing" distribution (package backuppc).

  • It requires no client software on Windows systems, and works with everything from (at least) 98 onwards.

  • The provided documentation is pretty good.

  • Minimal configuration or intervention is required.

  • It will also back up unix systems (eg Mac OSX) or anything that can support rsync/rsyncd/ssh.

  • It warns users of problems with backups.

  • In the main, it Just Works™.

Because of this last point, there's not really a great deal of helpful hints or tricks to get it working that I can offer - you're not likely to need them.

However, a couple of points:

  • Make sure that your /var/lib partition has plenty of space to store the backups! To do this I installed new drives in the servers I used - a 250GB one at work and a 120GB one at home. To use anything over 137GB under debian you'll need either a 2.6 kernel or "sarge" install disks, and modern hardware. I don't have the required hadware at home, hence the smaller drive.

  • While the documentation suggests that rsyncd needs a patch, the rsycnd that fink installs on OSX works fine. As my powerbook's usually turned off I just run it manually, with "sudo rsync --daemon --no-detach -v" (although you'll need to configure it first).
    Fink is apt-get for OSX - if you're a unix geek using this OS, get it! (There's a bit of a trick to getting X11 to work with it though - I'll write that up here at a later date).

  • BackupPC doesn't seem to find new files in the root of a Samba share on incremental backups - I'll investigate this and possibly post a bug later - but just manually running a full backup can do the job.

Posted by parsingphase, 2005-02-20 15:52

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