The computer has completely changed our way of life. Not everyone loves computers, but surely everyone would admit that life without one is pretty hard to imagine. That said the computer itself is cheap and easily replaceable – thanks in part to mass production. What isn’t so easy to replace is your unique data. Think about everything that resides on your computer’s hard drive – priceless photos, valuable documents, and important school work.
Computers are generally fairly reliable, but this reliability isn’t something that you can completely rely upon. You must have a backup in place should the worst ever happen. There are backup solutions for every operating system in use. If you are using Linux rather than Windows, then you don’t need to feel left out. This guide will look at some of the easiest to use backup solutions for Linux.
Linux has become a very popular operating system in the last few years. The open-source nature of the operating system and the ability to run on many different types of computer hardware have made it a very attractive option to consider. As a result of the large user base, there are plenty of backup solutions to consider. This guide will look into both on-premise, and cloud backup solutions. Hopefully, you will find a backup service that suits your needs.
Before we look at traditional backup solutions, first let’s have a look at Software RAID. This is offered as standard on many flavors of Linux, including Ubuntu. RAID is my favorite method of protecting data since it is all done automatically. RAID can be set up in a way to mirror data across two (or more) discs. This means that should one drive fail, your data is fully protected on the other one.
Of course, there are problems with RAID. The redundancy of an extra drive protects from the drive itself failing. However, should the computer be destroyed in a fire for example then the data would still be lost. It’s worth looking into though, since the computer should handle recovery itself, and a new drive can be installed and replicated.
It’s also worth mentioning if you are using Linux on a server then you may have hardware RAID available, which is certainly worth setting up. RAID can be confusing when you start looking at it. The type you want to look into is RAID 1 where two drives are mirrored to be exact copies of one another.
TimeShift is one of the best-known Linux backup solutions currently available. It is shipped as standard with many distros, including Mint. If it’s not installed out of the box, then it can be added to almost all distros through the package manager. TimeShift is very easy to use and designed to be user-friendly. That said, it’s best suited to laptops and desktops rather than servers.
TimeShift can be set up in schedule mode which will automate your backups in the future. It’s a nice little utility, and recovering files from backups is easy. Backups are stored on a local drive or USB-connected drive.
Bacula is another popular Linux disk backup utility that is open source. It’s much more powerful than TimeShift and so does have a bit more of a confusing interface. That said when you get your head around it, it’s a great tool. It’s an enterprise-grade utility and can backup files to connected local drives, or network locations.
FlyBack is based on Rsync. The utility can be used to create automated incremental backups of your data. Backups can be stored on another drive or USB device. A nice feature is the ability to backup everything but excludes certain directories. The schedule is also very straightforward and easy to set up.
Before we get onto cloud backup solutions, it’s worth considering online storage services. Services like Dropbox or Google Drive may offer you a quick (and free) solution for protecting a few important documents or files.
Also, if you’re working on the cloud using services such as Microsoft 365 then you might not need to back up your files yourself since the files themselves are already stored in the cloud.
If you’re looking for a set and forget backup service, then you’ll want something online. The current popular marketing term for these is cloud backup services. These services will backup your files to a remote server – in the cloud. The main advantage of this is that the off-site backup protects your data even if something happens to your physical computer or premises. Even if you misplace your USB backup drive, your data will still be protected. Next, we’re looking at a few of the online backup services available.
All cloud backup services are available for a monthly fee. The cost is generally fairly low, but this does depend on how much storage you need.
iDrive is perhaps one of the best-known backup services available. They offer downloadable clients for Windows and Mac. However, Linux users shouldn’t feel too left out. iDrive offers several backup scripts. Or an even easier way to set up backups on your Linux computer is to use the web interface. The web dashboard makes it very simple to schedule backups and keeps your data protected.
Pricing is fairly low and there are several different packages depending on how much data you need to backup. It’s also possible to start on a small plan and upgrade as and when you need to store more data on your backup.
iDrive offers both Continuous and Incremental backups, both of which can be set up using the web dashboard.
CloudBerry is ideal for businesses needing to backup multiple computers. It’s a cross-platform utility with clients for Windows, Mac, and Linux. There are a number of plans available each with different storage amounts. The ultimate edition has an unlimited data allowance, which might be very attractive if you have lots of photos and videos to store.
CloudBerry supports all the popular Linux Distros including Ubuntu, Red Hat, and SUSE. They also support Windows, Mac, and Virtual Machines.
If you only have a few files to backup to the cloud and don’t want to subscribe to a monthly fee then you might want to think about Duplicati. This is an open-source utility that can be used to backup your files to an online cloud server of your choice, the options include DropBox and OneDrive among many others.
There are of course many other backup options that you may want to consider. But hopefully, this guide has given you a brief overview of some of the best backup utilities available for Linux.