Using Backup Software

Because there are thousands of unique situations requiring as many unique backup solutions, it comes as no surprise that Linux offers many backup tools. Along with commandline tools such as tar and dd, Ubuntu also provides a graphical archiving tool, File Roller, that can create and extract files from archives. Finally, Ubuntu provides support for the Amanda backup applicationa sophisticated backup application that works well over network connections and can be configured to automatically back up all the computers on your network. Amanda works with drives as well as tapes. The book Unix Backup and Recovery by W. Curtis Preston includes a whole chapter on setting up and using Amanda, and this chapter is available online at


The software in a backup system must support the hardware, and this relationship can determine which hardware or software choices you make. Many sysadmins choose a particular backup software not because they prefer it to other options, but because it supports the hardware they own.

The price seems right for free backup tools, but consider the software's ease of use and automation when assessing costs. If you must spend several hours implementing, debugging, documenting, and otherwise dealing with overly elaborate automation scripts, the real costs go up.

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