Originally Posted by Eqwatz
Are you attempting to back up an image of the entire installation plus all of the data files? (That would be a binary image of the whole she-bang.)
-OR- Are you trying to back up individual data files?
What is the partition layout? What is each filesystem being used for? These things make a big difference. Are we talking about a mail-server? A database-server?
The next question would be: Do you intend to do the backups with the machines online and live?
More info is needed to understand and answer your question. (Added with edit.)
Trying to do a full backup of everything to make a complete restore as simple as possible. It is a mySQL/Apache box.
There is ext3 and xfs partitions. From what I understand dump is the most reliable form of backup/restore as long as you are going to the same file system. But I do not want to drop data files on the local file system. Want to be able to drop them directly to SSH drop point.