Data backup in the cloud with Duplicati

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When you reach the Edit Filters dialog, you finally can exclude directories or files from the backup or define individual filters. The two options are to include files matching the filter (press the plus icon) or to exclude files matching the filter (press the minus icon). Along with the input line for a manual description of the filter, a button is provided for loading a predefined filter from a file, as well for directly selecting includable or excludable directories using a file picker.

You also can formulate manual filters and use conventional wildcard matching. To do so, select the Wildcard matching option to tell Duplicati to interpret the input line as a regular expression. The filter help link provides more information on filters and matching regular expressions as online help [5]. Internally, the program always uses regular expressions.

Assuming you enabled all the options previously, in the next step (Override settings), you can customize a large number of the settings and parameters, including the policies [6] mentioned previously. Each option is enabled by checking the box in the Enable column. You can fill in the cells of the Value column individually; at the bottom of the screen, the wizard explains in detail, for each of the parameters, the available types and legal values (Figure 5).

Figure 5: The software provides detailed support for configuring individual parameters.

In the final step, the wizard displays all the settings again in the Summary tab in the Ready to Add Backup dialog. You can check Run backup now to start the backup immediately; otherwise, the scheduling settings that you configured will apply.

Press Finish to complete the backup job; Duplicati then waits for the next backup in the Waiting for Next Backup dialog. From here, you can access the wizard at any time by following the Duplicati Wizard link. Note that in the Command Line tab of the Ready to Add Backup dialog, the wizard displays the backup command as you would need to type it at the command line.

Control

Duplicati has a built-in scheduler. As long as the status dialog remains open or minimized, it is active. If you close the status dialog by pressing the close icon, then restart the program later via the menu or the command line, the program shows you the status dialog again with a message of Duplicati is currently paused, assuming that a backup job is queued.

If you then press the play button, a context menu appears; you can then choose to Resume the backup at any time or select a predefined interruption time (Pause period; Figure 6). Similarly, you can access the context menu in an active backup by clicking on the green icon. The status dialog also offers you a Quick actions combo box, through which you can stop or start the software.

Figure 6: Controlling Duplicati via the status dialog.

Incidentally, after a restart, the status dialog automatically changes to the status Waiting for the next backup after five minutes, assuming that a job is queued. Following the Duplicati Options link takes you to the dialog with the settings.

You can adjust the Time to wait after startup in the Basic tab to suit your own needs. Here, you can select the user interface language and also take the opportunity to review and change some of the wizard's defaults, such as the encryption method and the password (Figure  7).

Figure 7: If necessary, you can change the data encryption method in the settings.

You can also change the limits in the Advanced tab. The S3 tab in the Options dialog shows you the credentials (AWS Access ID) that it has stored for the S3 storage service (Figure 8). Additionally, you can set the server name and the Bucket region code for the S3 back end in this dialog.

Figure 8: Duplicati uses a separate tab to ask for all of the Amazon settings.

Conclusions

Version 1.34 of Duplicati turns out to be a powerful tool with many more features than you might think at first glance. The program is already near the top of the minor league with its support for LVM snapshots and VSS (under Windows) as well as numerous professional features  – not least because it also offers it a very powerful command-line interface.

Another positive aspect is that Duplicati is a cross-platform product. Although the GUI is not exactly a highlight, newcomers might benefit from the simplicity it offers. The version for Linux, implemented using Mono and WinForms, clearly originated in the Windows world and suffers from gappy localization. Additionally, the numerous settings deserve a simpler interface than a serial wizard.

Easy-to-use cloud back ends made accessible by the GUI allow for fast and safe interim storage of all important data with your preferred cloud provider. Although the native clients offered by the providers would theoretically do the same thing, such an approach could compromise security.

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