Bacula: backups that don't suck

Good systems administrators know that implementing a robust backup procedure is one of their most important duties. Unfortunately, it's also one of the most complex and least fun. When the phone rings and there's a panic-stricken user on the other end who has just lost a crucial document, you need to be confident that you can promptly recover his missing files. Failure to do so can bring about a speedy end to a promising career in systems administration. So what's a budding sysadmin to do? Download the latest release of Bacula and watch those backup woes disappear into the dark of night.

Led by head developer Kern Sibbald, the Bacula team has built an open source backup solution that is fast, reliable, and exceptionally configurable. Bacula is not a monolithic application, but rather a collection of programs that together provide a robust backup, recovery, and verification toolset suitable for five or 500 systems.

Getting started

For this review we tested Bacula on a single CentOS 4 server using the file system as our backup medium. In our production environment we use Bacula to manage more than 500GB of backups from multiple clients using a tape robot. However, the lengthy process of configuring the tape robot and multiple clients makes this a daunting task for the first-time user. We recommend you stick with a single host for your test drive if you've not worked with Bacula before.