My Perfect Backup Setup

Dmitri Popov

Productivity Sauce

Aug 25, 2009 GMT
Dmitri Popov

For a long time I relied on an external hard drive and Jungle Disk as my daily backup solution. This wasn't the most advanced backup setup, but it did the trick. Recently, however, I added a new device to my local network: a tiny Linux-based server with the silly name Bubba Two. Initially, I planned to use it for hosting my private wiki and testing LAMPP-based applications. But since Bubba Two can be used as a file, print, and streaming server, it made sense to put its functionality to some practical use, and use the server as a central storage for all my documents and files. There was only one problem with this: because Bubba Two is based on a PowerPC processor and Jungle Disk doesn't offer a version of their backup client software for this architecture, I could no longer use Jungle Disk as a backup solution. No problem; I have always been curious about the backup service which boasts professional technical assistance and support for the rsync over ssh backup, and now I had a perfect excuse to test the service. is pricey compared to the Jungle Disk/Amazon S3 combo, but so far, I feel my money is well-spent.

So after spending a couple of evenings moving files and fine-tuning my backup scripts, I'd like to share with you my current backup setup. The key component of my solution is the Bubba Two server (1) where I store all my files, documents, downloads, and a few loose music files. The server uses cron to run a simple Bash script that backs up the data to (2) using rsync over ssh as described in this post. To be on the safe side, Bubba Two backs up the data to the attached external USB hard disk (3). Finally, I mount Bubba Two's file system on my production laptop (4) using sshfs, so I can work with files and documents as they were on my laptop.

So that's my backup solution. Care to tell me about yours?


  • Bacula

    I use cheap motherboard with Intel Atom 330 combined with Bacula and two mirrored SATA disks. It works very well for 2 notebooks and one desktop, but as the Atom does also iSCSI for network booting, router, tftp, LAMP, PulseAudio, Radius, NX server, DNS, MySQL, email with lots of virtual domains based on Openldap, Clamav, Postfix etc. etc., DHCP, OpenVPN, Puppetmaster, rsyncd, Subversion and SNMP for traps aggregation... wow, lot's of things it actually does, to the point....

    ... but as the Atom does lot's of other things I was looking for exactly something like I feel like moron that I haven't found that before. Very interesting post, thank you!

    Although Bubba looks cool, I doubt it has advantages compared to self-made distro, when it comes to advanced Linux Joe, of course! anyway that's nice to hear about such cool appliances like Bubba being developed for normal user and being sold in its niche.
  • backup

    I've been thinking about a perfect backup solution for me. Currently I back up data files to an old P4 that runs Backuppc. that gives me one full backup and 6 incrementals per week. I just split up my file system and put
    /home on one partition and everything else on another partition. Next I'm going to install LVM on my desktop so I can take snapshots of my / fs. After that I'd like to rebuild my server with a raid array so I could start storing backups offsite. One other thing I've been using that is related to backups that I've just started using is rcs(revision control system), I know its old but its scale is perfect for my simple needs and its very simple to learn.
  • backup

    i use 400mhz freenas and unison.

    cost nothing.
  • Another Refugee from JungleDisk Now Based in rsync Land

    We are in the same boat as the writer in that we were a JungleDisk user. That product is now bloated, complex, error prone, and generally, now, a loser. Software updates are frequent, backwards compatibility is not guaranteed, and the support process keeps changing. Finally, it is confusing because they make you choose between Amazon and their new owner (forgot the name) in regards to where to store your data.

    While rsync does have a slight learning curve, it is great once you are up the curve.

    We also chose -- simple, fast support, and they also allow for encrypted file storage (as does JungleDisk).
  • My Backup Solution

    Pray that nothing bad happens.
  • re: Power Noise Space ARM9?

    The Axentra HipServ sounds like what you're looking for: it's tiny, has gigabit ethernet, draws almost no power, needs no fan, and runs linux. All you do is plug in an external USB hard disk and do some minimal setup and your server is ready to go.
  • Re: Power Noise Space ARM9?

    Bubba Two is based on a PowerPC processor, but in every other respect it is exactly what you are looking for.
  • Power Noise Space ARM9?

    The Linux Today blurb suggested "ARM-9" based server, but the article here says PowerPC.

    I'm really intrigued by the idea of a Linux file server based on ARM-9 that could be up 24x7, consume little power, be relatively quiet, and not hog too much space. It can be headless and keyboardless, but needs to have good network connectivity. I don't have experience with power requirements and MTBF values for SATA drives, laptop drives, or flash memory, but perhaps they could be combined in a way to minimize power draw when not much is happening.

    Is there remotely anything out there like that yet?
  • simple backup strategy...

    Here's an unusual, but effective, simple backup solution for many people with multiple pc's:

    Do everything on a portable hdd,

    Use whatever pc you are connected to for placing a backup on!

    Your main, newest work follows you (on the portable hdd)

    You end up with as many backups as you have pc's.

    Simple. Effective. Secure.
  • Re: How do you manage multiple production desktops

    You could use Dropbox ( to keep docs and files in sync between several machines. You can then use a simple rsync script to back up the Dropbox folder on one of your production machines to the server.
  • How do you manage multiple production desktops

    I have a production laptop and desktop, and each has a "Client Stuff" folder. I'm wondering if it's best to backup both of these separately, as in /backups/computer-1/client stuff and /backups/computer-2/client stuff, or if my dream of syncing the two periodically could work? I'm concerned about data loss but I'd love to have all my laptop data on my desktop and vice-versa.

    Likewise with my Tomboy Notes...still haven't figured out how on earth to sync the two sets.

    I'm a recent subscriber to the magazine and I've been very impressed with the magazine and the website. Thank you.
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