On Tue, Jan 27, 2009 at 04:30:54PM -0600, Martin McCormick wrote:
> What we plan to do is backup a bunch of Unix systems to
> one FreeBSD box and then use a commercial package to back that
> box up to an enterprise-wide system we use. The archiver we need
> must be able to make 1 full backup of each system like tar and
> then incrementals until we are ready for another full backup.
The best choice is dump, which was designed and built for exactly this
purpose. (tar is fine for archives of static hierarchies, but it is not
suitable for full-system backups.) Dump fully supports the concept of
full/partial backups in a robust manner. (It has other useful features
as well, notably its ability to deal with non-quiescent filesystems in
a sensible way.)
Excellent backup systems can be built with judicious use of dump -- you
don't need to waste money on commercial products.  Depending on
your specific requirements, it may be desirable to combine dump with
other programs you already have (e.g., rysnc, gzip/bzip, scp, and so on).
For example, I recently had occasion to build a system which backed up
and replicated a multi-terabyte repository across a WAN. Using just the
tools already on the system, and about 300 lines of shell (2/3 of which
are comments), it wasn't that difficult to meet both requirements and
do so in a way that minimized the bandwidth needed. This is really no
big deal: it's just a matter of selecting the right tools and combining
them -- which is the essence of the Unix philosophy.
 Every commercial backup system I've evaluated for Unix -- over
many, many years -- has produced inferior results. It pains me to
watch people waste money on over-priced, under-performing and
often-insecure commercial packages when they already have all the
software they need...and just need to learn how to use it.
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