Areca: Linux desktop backups made easy

Tux
There are some desktop backup tools available for Linux, but most of them are not developed anymore. Areca however is under constant development and also provides a user friendly GUI.

Backups and Linux are a twofold thing: if you have hundreds or thousands of computers backups are not a problem at all: Amanda, Bacula, Restore and others are your friends. Also, if you want to create backups on single machines, there are many tools available: rsync, tar, and many, many more.
However, all these solutions are not suitable for the average user.

In the last years several projects were started to provide user friendly solutions for the backup of Linux desktop machines. A year ago I already reported about SBackup. Also, the Ubuntu team developed the solution TimeVault and last but not least there is flyback which I used for several months to keep a backup of my thesis. But despite their advantages they all suffer from stalled development: all mentioned projects are effectively dead at the moment.

There is only one exception: the little known Areca. This in Java programmed backup solution provides a user friendly GUI and is even suited for desktop users who have a quite complex idea of backup systems.

The main view of Areca

Despite some current bugs (it chokes on large numbers of files, you have to use several backup rules in such cases) and some shortcomings (the file choose dialog only allows to mark one single file each time) the program has matured over the time and can easily be used in a productive environment. Besides the usual backup/restore it also features statistics, the ability of merging backups, different backup profiles, encryption and other gimmicks. But be sure to quickly read through the documentation so that you understand what backup groups and backup targets are before you start!

The only problem I now have is that it is not packed for Fedora – or any other bigger distribution besides Ubuntu. The download section provides pre-compiled tar.gz packages, however I would prefer a rpm I could automatically fetch with yum.

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10 thoughts on “Areca: Linux desktop backups made easy

  1. An early version (5.1?) is in the PCLinuxOS repositories.

    Once you see how the PCLinuxOS developers install it, it is easy to replace the files with those from the pre-compiled tar.gz packages.

    I am now using 6.0.5 on both PCLinuxOS and Windows XP, backing up to a Buffalo NAS

  2. Nice I’ll check it out.

    One thing that striked me was the name “Areca”.. I wonder if the Areca developers know of the RAID controller manufacturer Areca..

  3. If you don’t need GUI but a small system with easy restore try “faubackup”.

    It needs a target where it can hard link files, as it will do incremental backups by hard linking files that weren’t changed, putting each version in a subfolder with the time of the backup.

    Restore is simple as you only need to go to the latest directory and there is all your data, just as on your normal harddisk. Small and quick, maybe no smbfs or nfs though. Additionaly encrypt your backup by encfs and you can do your backup everyday in less then a minute.

  4. Chris: the entire purpose of this post was to highlight a backup solution with GUI. I personally would use rsync anyway.

    But still, thanks for sharing.

  5. “The only problem I now have is that it is not packed for Fedora – or any other bigger distribution besides Ubuntu. The download section provides pre-compiled tar.gz packages, however I would prefer a rpm I could automatically fetch with yum.”

    That seems to be a problem for a – lot – of – items.

  6. Marland V. Pittman, well, yes, but it can also be solved. Skype does it rather properly, and companies like Adobe or VMware at least provide rpms for their tools that work on almost every distribution.
    Additionally, there is the OpenSuse build service which can be used to provide native packages for many distributions.

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