Desktop backup software

Conclusions

Table 1 shows the software versions used in this test, as well as the latest version numbers, along with the features provided by or missing from each backup solution.

Table 1

Backup Solutions

 

Déjà Dup

Back in Time

Sbackup

luckyBackup

Areca Backup

Download

https://launchpad.net/deja-dup

https://github.com/bit-team/backintime

https://launchpad.net/sbackup

http://luckybackup.sourceforge.net

http://www.areca-backup.org

License

GPL

GPL

GPL

GPLv3

GPL

Operating system

Linux

Linux

Sbackup

Linux, Windows Beta

Linux, Windows

Current version

34.1

1.1.2

0.11.6

0.4.8

7.5

Tested version

34.0

1.0.36

0.11.6

0.4.8

7.5

Automation

Own service

Cron

Cron

Cron

Cron

Interval

Daily/weekly/immediately

Fine-granular

Fine-granular

Fine-granular

Fine-granular

In the package sources

Preinstalled

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Include/exclude option

Yes/yes

Yes/yes

Yes/yes

Yes/yes

Yes/yes

Profiles

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes (groups)

System backup

No

No

No

No

No

Compression

Yes

No

Yes

No

Yes

Email notification

No

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Encrypted backups

Yes

Yes

No

No

Yes

Tag backups

No

No

No

Yes

Yes

Restore with search

No

No

No

No

Yes

Deletion behavior

Few options

Very fine-granular

Simple and logarithmic

None

Not specified

Delta backups

No

No

No

No

Yes

Incremental backups

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Differential backups

No

No

No

No

Yes

NFS

Yes

Yes, if locally mounted

Yes

Yes, if locally mounted

Yes

Samba

Yes

Yes, if locally mounted

Yes

Yes, if locally mounted

Yes

SSH/SFTP

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

WebDAV

Yes

No

No

No

No

FTP

Yes

No

Yes

No

Yes

Amazon S3

Yes

No

No

No

No

Rackspace cloud files

Yes

No

No

No

No

If you're looking for a simple but efficient backup solution for desktops, you would be well served with Déjà Dup. It integrates well with Gnome and Unity, has a simple but functional interface, and encrypts the backup data. Of all the software tested, only Déjà Dup could push encrypted backups to the cloud. On the other hand, you can only roughly define automated backup intervals, and it was the only software reviewed that did not let you define profiles, which makes complex backup scenarios difficult.

Back in Time has a lot of settings for managing snapshots and defining intervals. For example, it reacts as soon as a user inserts a USB stick into the computer. Hard links make it possible to use lean incremental backups but also require specific filesystems on the target computer. A data compression option is missing, as well.

Sbackup has a rather awkward design and is therefore pretty inconvenient to operate, and it is one of the weakest programs tested. Development is apparently languishing. Data encryption is not possible, and although data restoration might work, it certainly isn't a spectacular solution. On the other hand, the program does provide email notification, but this is hardly likely to be a decisive criterion.

LuckyBackup is, at least in terms of presentation, the flamboyant personality among the backup programs. The developers couldn't decide whether they wanted to back up or synchronize files, so luckyBackup does both. You can fine-tune pretty much all the options, but this means the graphical program loses its simplicity; users can also switch to the command line.

The software is missing an option to delete existing backups intelligently, although the option to test the backup process in a dry run is useful. Snapshots can also be given titles or be tagged, which helps when restoring later.

Java is an island, as you can see from Areca, yet this program was the favorite test subject because it is designed clearly and provides a lot of very useful features. Backup automation has been solved in a slightly unusual way but is practical.

The recovery function is also particularly successful: It isn't just possible to tag the snapshots, you can also search through them and search for files directly from the backup. Cloud support implemented through plugins would be appreciated.

Among the candidates, Déjà Dup and Back in Time solved the recovery process best, but they still have room for improvement when many backups are in the mix. Additionally, this review showed that users should test their backup processes in detail after setting them up because of all the variables involved (Samba shares, SSH passwords, disk space).

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