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dickgregory 04-29-2008 09:42 PM

Back up Windows data to a Linux server across the internet
 
I am meeting with a business owner on Thursday to discuss setting up a data backup service. He has several clients, all running MS Windows, and he wants them to be able to make backups across the internet to his server.

I think I can convince him to set up a Linux box for the backup server, and I am prepared to give him tech support.

I would like suggestions on what technologies would work well together to automate this. I'm kind of thinking that SSH is probably the most secure method of transferring the data. Once I get the data on the Linux server, I think I can figure out what to do from there. But it's been a long time since I've done any type of admin work on Windows. I don't even know how to schedule "cron" jobs. I think that putty will provide the Windows vehicle for SSH, but I don't know how to do the preliminary stuff on the client. I would like to be able to rsync somehow so I don't have to shoot the whole 9 yards across the wire every time.

I'd also like opinions on the relative merits of pushing vs. pulling the backup data. I don't even know yet whether the clients have computers with static IP's, so I don't know if pulling is even an option. Would pulling require more strict firewall configuration on the clients than if the client initiated the connection?

Any ideas or opinions are welcome. Thanks in advance for any insights you can give me.

IsaacKuo 04-29-2008 10:07 PM

Look up rsync, especially with ssh tunneling. I've never used rsync with Windows, but it's certainly a popular solution. Here are a couple google search hits... http://aplawrence.com/Unixart/backup_rsync.html http://www.tech-recipes.com/unix_software_tips355.html

Rsync is a good solution for backups over the internet because it only transfers new/changed files (as well as deleting deleted files). It's not smart enough to tell if files have merely been moved or renamed, but even so the bandwidth savings compared to a dumb full copy can be huge.

dickgregory 04-30-2008 11:12 AM

Thanks, IsaacKuo. You gave me just enough info to hunt down what I need. Actually I think I had the basics already in my first post and just didn't realize it until you mentioned rsync for windows, which I didn't know existed. (Although a simple google search would have revealed it -- my bad)

So it looks like I now need to choose between client versions of rsync like DeltaCopy or cwRsync, etc. Then configure the client, create and upload ssh keys, and schedule the backups. I already know how to do the Linux side because I've done it already in my own Linux/Linux environment.

My prospective client already has a Windows tech guy, but I don't know how much he knows. He did say that he doesn't know how to do a net-based backup, which is why I was asked to take a look at it. I never claimed to know how to do a cross-platform solution, but now I think I can go into our meeting with some confidence that I can provide him with a solution that will fill his needs.


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