Tools for Backing up a Ubuntu System

Backing up a computer system is necessary. You will never know when your hard drive decides to crash or a lightning decides to strike. Therefore, it is always a great idea to keep your data backed up for such emergencies. Nowadays, there are two ways of backing up a computer system; offline backup for later use and online backups for accessing the data from anywhere. In this brief article, we try to explore some tools used for both online and offline backups.

Ubuntu One

Ubuntu One

When it comes to Ubuntu, Ubuntu One is the most noted features for backing up an Ubuntu system. Ubuntu One was released with the latest release of Ubuntu (10.10) and offers 2GB of online storage for Ubuntu users, for free. If you need more space, then you need pay for the extra storage you want.

When it comes to the technology and workflow, Ubuntu One works the same way as Dropbox. You have a client which communicates with a server, hosting your online storage. The client is integrated to the file management software of the OS and the client keeps all the documents synced with the online storage. Therefore, your online storage is as same as your local files. In case if something destructive happens, you lose no data.

Ubuntu One is offered by Canonical, the same people who develop Ubuntu. Therefore, you do not have to keep any doubt in your mind regarding the security of your online storage.



Dropbox is the tools which made online backups so easy and popular. Dropbox is available for all major platforms, including Linux. If you are a basic user, you can have 2GB of online storage for your data, for free. In case you introduce your friends to Dropbox, you will get additional 250MB for every referral.

Unless you only backup the important files or yours, 2GB storage is not quite enough to backup all what you need to backup. In this case, you can buy the additional storage for a little price from Dropbox. This way, you can easily backup your music or movie collection in the cloud.

The other advantage of Dropbox is that it can be linked to several computers running different operating systems. If you want to keep some folders properly synced across all the computers, you can do that with Dropbox. This way, you can fully avoid using USB keys to transfer data across computers and you can continue with any of your machines at any time. In case if you want to access your information from a PC that is not linked to your Dropbox account, you can simply access the data you want through web.

Back In Time

Back In Time

Let’s now talk about an offline backup system. Back In Time is one of the popular offline backup tools that can be used for backing up data to another hard drive or a network location.

You can install Back In Time simply by downloading the installation files or through Ubuntu package management tools. Once installed, you can define the directories to be backed up and their frequencies. Since there can be many backup snapshots in the backup directory, you can also define a timeout for the backup snapshots.

When it comes to many offline backup systems, restoring the backup is somewhat complicated task. This is true for some of the most hyped offline backup systems out there. When it comes to Back In Time, this is just a process of a few mouse clicks. Your data gets properly restored at the end of the restoration process. But when compared to the online backup tools, there is a few disadvantages when it comes to the losses. Since online backup systems are real-time, you lose nothing. But you may lose some data in your Ubuntu system when using offline backup tools as backing up frequency is usually not real-time.

Author: Nilanka

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