There are many free software packages that I try to keep tabs on as possible replacements or substitutes for commercial programs. After sifting through a bunch of free and open source backup/restore applications, I found one worth mentioning: Bacula.
Bacula's features the following attributes:
- It records all of its activity in the SQL database for easy review;
- It handles multi-volume backups; and
- It includes a Linux-based rescue CD that can be configured by the user and used to perform system recoveries.
One drawback: Bacula does not yet natively support backing up and restoring a Windows environment, i.e., a bare metal recovery. That being said, it is possible to achieve the same effect indirectly through techniques documented in the program's manual. One method is to back up the system state from the command line and then run a Bacula batch job (which would also copy out the system state backup file). Another method involves using the Bacula rescue CD to back up and restore raw partitions. A third option is a plug-in for Bacula that runs with the BartPE Rescue CD, a useful tool I've written about previously.
P.S. If you're wondering about the product's wonderful name, it is indeed a play on the name Dracula. There's a slugline on the software's homepage: "It comes by night and sucks the vital essence from your computers."
About the Author: Serdar Yegulalp is editor of the Windows Power Users Newsletter. Check it out for the latest advice and musings on the world of Windows network administrators.
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- Tip: Backing up the System State
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This was first published in April 2006