Please help me choose a backup solution that meets my needs

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SweetBearCub
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Please help me choose a backup solution that meets my needs

Post by SweetBearCub » Tue May 28, 2019 12:20 am

I have my drives laid out thusly:

- 1 TB SSD. Main OS drive. Has /home and all applications on it. I am the only user. Whole installation is encrypted.
- 4 TB HDD. Data drive. Has all my files.
- 8 TB HDD. I want this drive to back up the first two.

I'd like there to be a way to backup (and restore..) the SSD/OS drive with a bit-for-bit image. I'd like the data drive to be backed up as a collection of files, accounting for changes/additions/deletions.

I have been told that Timeshift can not do a bit-for-bit backup (as it's just a GUI front-end to rsync), and also, Timeshift ignores my /home folder and my 4 TB drive under /mnt, even if I specifically include them. (Tested, and failed, twice)

What can meet my needs?

Thanks.
Last edited by SweetBearCub on Wed May 29, 2019 3:41 am, edited 1 time in total.

Crippled

Re: Please help me choose a backup solution that meets my needs

Post by Crippled » Tue May 28, 2019 1:51 am

The 8TB HDD would be great for back ups. But I would recommend making two partitions using Gparted so you can back up your SSD to one partition and the 4TB HDD to the other partition. You can copy and paste the each drive or use cloning software to back it up. Once you back it up I recommend you disabled that back up drive from the BIOS if it's an internal drive or unplug it if it's an external drive so the data can't get corrupted. Even though I have a 4TB RAID 10 I still back up to an external book drive by copy and paste and it's only connected when I back up to prevent corruption.

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AndyMH
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Re: Please help me choose a backup solution that meets my needs

Post by AndyMH » Tue May 28, 2019 2:45 am

If you want an image backup tool there are a number of choices:
  • clonezilla - a popular choice on the forum, clunky UI and confusing for newbies. I don't like it.
  • Redo - easy to use, downsides are that it is old, last update in 2012, website died (but still available on sourceforge) and may not boot on newer hardware. Some forum members have also reported problems trying to get it to boot from a USB stick.
  • Macrium reflect - easy to use, downsides are that it is windows based, so you need a win PC to download and install before you can create a boot disk/stick. The free version only allows you to backup an entire disk, it won't let you backup individual partitions.
These are just the three I've tried, there are others, e.g. Mondo Rescue. My favourite is Redo.

For all of these, you need to install to a usb stick/DVD/CD and boot from that (because you can't image backup a live partition - something might change during the backup). Is that what you want?

My backup solution (similar setup to yours - an internal but removable HDD purely for backup) is to use timeshift (for /) and backintime (for /home). These run daily on an automated basis. They may be file based backup utilities (they both use rsync), but nothing wrong with that. The advantage is that having run them once, they are quick - only copying what has changed. Infrequently, maybe every couple of months, I run redo to take image backups either to the internal backup HDD or an external usb drive. This is manual and slow.

With the exception of clonezilla, I have used them all to restore partitions, clone drives, restore files or restore system and they have not let me down.

EDIT - I am working on a replacement for redo, i.e. a simple to use GUI based image backup tool. But given current rate of progress and other commitments, the beta version is at least two months away. This is being developed in lazarus (pascal). Like the other image backup tools, this would require you to install it to a USB stick, but with your setup another option would be to install linux on your backup HDD (could be mint, lubuntu, peppermint or any linux distro you want), boot from the backup HDD and run the backup tool from that.
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senfsosse
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Re: Please help me choose a backup solution that meets my needs

Post by senfsosse » Tue May 28, 2019 11:52 am

If you do not explicitly want/need to stay with open source software, I'd propose to have a look at Veeam Agent for Linux FREE: https://www.veeam.com/de/linux-backup-f ... -text-link.

It allows to have an image backup with access to single files if needed and provides an ISO image for recovery.

I think it's worth giving a try.
Cheers,
senfsosse

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AndyMH
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Re: Please help me choose a backup solution that meets my needs

Post by AndyMH » Tue May 28, 2019 1:20 pm

If you do not explicitly want/need to stay with open source software, I'd propose to have a look at Veeam Agent for Linux FREE:
Thanks for the link, I'd not heard of it before. Downloaded Veeam agent and will have a look.

EDIT - interesting!!
Downloaded the deb, double clicked to install, said it was done, but no veeam. Had to

Code: Select all

apt-get update
apt-get install veeam
to get it to install.

UI is a bit clunky - it's not a GUI and you need to know your way around, e.g. that my backup drive is /media/ultrabay. Would say it is a bit more straightforward than clonezilla.

Performance - a 35G NTFS partition, 19.9G used on an SSD to a 5400rpm HDD SATA3:
Veeam - 2:16 minutes, 9GB backup image file.
my backup* - 3:44 minutes, 7.4GB backup image file.

* a front end for partclone and pigz (for compression).

Did note that until I entered the licence key, it would not do anything other than a full machine image backup. After installing the licence key I was able to select individual partitions. What capabilities/options it will have after expiry of the 30 trial I've yet to find out. Not tried backing up the current / partition while live - that will be interesting!

Has an impressive list of capabilities and what looks like excellent support with an active user forum (lots of posts). Gut feel is that if you like clonezilla, then this is better. BUT maybe free version, but not open source. Don't think it's for a newbie.
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senfsosse
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Re: Please help me choose a backup solution that meets my needs

Post by senfsosse » Wed May 29, 2019 11:58 am

I think that without a license, the free version is limited to one local job. I'm using it on two Mint MATE laptops (and besides on my son's Windows 10 laptop; it's available for Windows as well and even a little more nicely made up) and I have not had any issue doing live backups.

I occasionally restored single files from a backup, but I honestly have not yet tried a full restore...

It actually has got a GUI, even though it is ncurses-based (or the like). It's working well for me.
Cheers,
senfsosse

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AndyMH
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Re: Please help me choose a backup solution that meets my needs

Post by AndyMH » Wed May 29, 2019 12:14 pm

Yes, you're right, n-curses, which is why it looks a little less clunky than clonezilla. Also did a backup of a live partition and it did it. Not had the courage to restore it :D I wonder how it does this, I suspect it loads itself into a temporary RAM disk and then makes the / partition read only.
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SweetBearCub
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Re: Please help me choose a backup solution that meets my needs

Post by SweetBearCub » Sun Jun 02, 2019 4:58 pm

Thanks for the recommendations. In large part due to choice overload (and clonezilla not even being an option unless I reboot my system every time I want to back up an image with it, plus having to have it explained via YouTube), I have decided just to stick with Timeshift and the built-in mintbackup utility.

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