Breaking through the backup barrier

Web Interface

After the server is set up, you'll want to wander around the user interface a bit. On most installations, the URL should be: http://yourbackuppcserver/cgi-bin/BackupPC_Admin. This will bring you to the Server Status page (Figure 2). If you are one of the administrative users, you will see all of the currently running backups and any failures that need attention. Most of these failures will be caused by users stopping the backup by shutting off their machines. Also, you can see statistics about the server.

Figure 2: Check the status of currently running backups and failures.

One of the nice things about the interface is that virtually all of the references to backups or hosts are clickable and will carry you either to the status page or the browse page for the backup. You'll also see a link to the documentation, which is served up locally.

On the left-hand side, you will notice all of the navigation links for the user interface. The drop-down menu at the top presents a list of hosts, and the search box below lets you search for hosts by name.

After you select one of the hosts, it will permit you to go to its status page, which shows you a list of all of the backups that have completed along with statistics about each one, such as size and when the machine was backed up (see Figure 3). On the status page for each machine, you can also start and stop backups and dequeue a machine for a given number of hours. The end user assigned to the machine in the hosts file is also able to start, stop, and dequeue backups.

Figure 3: The status page lets you start, stop, and dequeue backups …

Clicking on the list of backups presented on each host's page will take you to the restore interface. On the Backup Browse page, you'll find a navigation tree along the left side for the filesystem and a list of files to the right. Within this interface, you can click on a single file and download the file directly in your browser, or you can select multiple files by marking the checkbox and then clicking Download selected files.

On the next page, you can specify the files to be compressed or whether you want BackupPC to restore the files directly to your machine via the same transfer method that is used to back the files up. Note that the transfer method will need write access to the filesystem.

One other page frequently accessed by administrators is the Host Summary page, which provides a color-coded table of all of the hosts configured for the machine. In addition to the colors, which indicate current status, you can see the size of the last full and incremental backups, the speed of the backup, time since last backup, and last full backup. This gives you a quick bird's eye view of all the machines being backed up and quickly allows you to locate any trends or persistent problems.

Conclusions

BackupPC provides a comprehensive backup solution that is also user friendly. If you are looking to deploy a backup solution – particularly for end-user machines – you should certainly consider BackupPC.

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