Automated full system backups for Ubuntu

Any recommendations for full system backups for Ubuntu (similar to TimeMachine on a Mac). The target would be a FreeNAS server.

There are a few listed here but I was curious of others experience.

Before considering backups you’re going to have to answer a few questions which important to you

  1. Do you need encrypted backups? Do you need the transfer encrypted between Ubuntu and FreeNAS?
  2. Do you need versioned backups?
  3. How big do expect the backups to be after the initial backup?
  4. Are you looking at a file system backup solution, or more of a block device type solution
  5. Is a GUI important to you or can you work from the command line and have the backups automated through something like cron?
  6. Are you looking for potentially in the future a cross platform solution or would it be simply Ubuntu/Freenas?
  7. Is your Ubuntu install on bare metal or a VM?
  8. Are you looking for a free solution or would you be open to software that you have to pay for?
  9. Is open source software important to you?

There are probably other considerations I haven’t thought about at present. There really isn’t unfortunately a perfect solution in every case. Your probably going to need to match your needs to the best available choices.

Whatever the method you choose, your going to have to practice, practice and practice to ensure your possible solution is robust. It’s one thing to make backups, but its another to have to restore your backups. By practice I mean you’ll need to become efficient with the restore option. That means creating a bunch of datasets, transferring or backing them up, deleting the original and then attempting a restore.

Time Machine is a versioned file system backup solution. If I loose a couple of files its really easy to go back and restore the files. Time Machine falls short however if the entire OS were to die. I would need to reinstall MacOS and then hope I could access the Time Machine shares to restore the individual files. I’ve never tested the ability to restore Time Machine data after a full OS reinstallation but something tells me there could be potential problems.

Everything will be locally on my LAN for the foreseeable future, so I am less concerned about encryption, although encryption at rest would be nice. I am also less concerned about cross-platform, and it would be a bare metal machine. I think snapshoting via FreeNas would be fine in terms of revisioning (I am less concerned about specific files).

Ultimately, I want a simple way of restoring the system (including the filesystem) if there is a drive failure.

If it’s a soho setup, I’d use rsync (or syncthing from root user to avoid user permissions issue) to backup a whole home (/home) folder so that you get easy access to individual files in case you need them. In the event of a drive failure, just re-install the OS, install the required software and replace the new home folder with the existing one from FreeNAS.

One thing to note here: you’ll have to keep the same username(s) across the re-installs.

@transonic14 For your situation BU Linux ==> FreeNAS my choice would be the Free version of Veeam Back Up for Linux. It will do full and incremental, build synthetic fulls from incremental, most importantly it will do a complete system backup and create a boot media for system recovery.
Also from IX Systems
Either choice would fit well they are proven easy to install and use.

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I think @LTS has a video about using Syncthing with FreeNAS snapshots to backup between a pc, a local FreeNAS and an offsite FreeNAS.

I’ve never used Veeam but I’ve heard others talk about it. Looking at the product it seems well supported. OTOH asigra — free for up to 10 devices but free version will only store up to 1 TB – which really limits its usefulness.

It’s seems like OP is looking for block level backups since OP talks about restoring file system. System snapshots seem like way to go. One other option with Ubuntu is using a ZFS filesystem which it self can take snapshots and transfer them to remote for backup. Veaeam is another option for sure. Never used syncthing but this looks like a file level synchronization tool.

The Veeam for Linux will do what OP wants to do can restore entire system just boot from the boot image it creates and point to the BU. Yes you can restore an entire file system or any portion of a file system. Every situation is different but I always recommend using what is the most reliable and easy to use. The more complicated a product is to use and maintain the less likely it will be used. One last point verification of the BU.

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We are starting to integrate Veeam on our clients systems. The only thing I wish veeam had was the ability to off-site to your cloud storage provider of choice.

There are a number of Veeam remote repository providers. Contact your Veeam Rep for details.

Slightly off topic however given the conversation has been focusing mostly on Veeam, I only wish there were a MacOs Veeam client. I’m aware not only myself but others on the Veeam board have been asking for this for quite some time. Company kind of remains silent on their plans which implies to me at least this isn’t going to happen.

I agree the only way to BU Macs is if they are in VM on VMware or HyperV(?). One could run in a VM and use NFS to copy files to or run a Linux server and use NFS for file server then BU with Veeam. Maybe in V10???

Another option: