I'm maintaining a small Linux workstation/server in a Windows-domain-based environment. Apart from being in the same network, the Linux computer is not connected to the domain.

Until now, I'm using a self-made script backing up the important stuff to an internal hard drive with incremental tar and manually pull those tar-files to my Windows computer with rsync. We are planning to centralize (and automize) backups for this machine (and some other non-domain-computers) to a directory in the domain which will probably be mountable via NFS and uses Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) to have access to old file-versions.

Of course I could just copy my tar-files to this directory, but the central-IT-people are not happy with this solution since it will create more data and I'm responsible for deleting old backups (which btw. won't actually be deleted immediately because of VSS).

Another option is to directly synchonize the local file system with the backup-directory using rsync. This has the (huge) disadvantage of loosing Linux file permissions and ownerships and perhaps invalid characters in file names. The advantage is that old file versions are automatically saved and, after some time, deleted.

Is there some solution/software for the problems in the second approach?

Or perhaps a completely different solution to backup Linux to a Windows file system not needing special software on the Windows-side?

1 Answer 1


Consider using Backup Exec for Linux. Not free, but that'd cover your management needs.

What are the "Windows people" doing for a backup solution? Are you allowed to purchase the same kind of solution for the Linux side?

BTW, logrotate can be used to rotate out your backup copies. There are a number of great discussions in stackexchange regarding the use of logrotate.

Lastly, you could create your own script to trim unwanted backups. I intentionally did not create the full script, so that you'd learn a bit about if tests inside of bash/csh/sh/tcsh/zsh/ksh or whatever shell you prefer to play in. A simple count of the number of "recent" files in the directory could determine if you have "enough" backups to warrant deletion of older files.

find /path/to/backups -type f -mtime -7 -print | wc -l

That will tell you how many files are less than 7 days old in the folder. If you don't have enough, then pop off an e-mail to the admin and exit the script. If so, then blindly nuke files older than your retention plan.

 find /path/to/backups -type f -mtime +30 -exec rm -f {} \;

That will find the files and delete them all in one stroke.

  • I don't know what the "Windows people" are doing exactly, but it's IT-infrastructure for around 8000 employees whereas we are a little research group of around 20 people with one Linux computer who just want to use the huge and safe storage-infrastructure.I've no problem with setting up the "copy tar-files" option
    – TBrandt
    Dec 17, 2014 at 20:52
  • but I thought there is maybe a better solution making use of the Windows domain VSS without the mentioned problems.
    – TBrandt
    Dec 17, 2014 at 21:00
  • 1
    If permissions and owerships don't change much you might get away with just samba copying to the windows share and include a gzipped list of these files permissions and ownerships. Not super neat but it allows you to use VSS. There could be a better way but I haven't used VSS in a Linux environment.
    – captcha
    Dec 17, 2014 at 21:51
  • In such a large organization, there has to be other Linux/Unix minded people there. I'd try connecting with them, if possible. Additionally, if you are truly an island in an ocean, then there needs to be appropriate accommodations for you. Tell them your requirements in terms of storage, and ask them what they're willing to support and maintain - in writing, and CC the CTO/CIO to support your point.
    – Bee Kay
    Dec 17, 2014 at 22:14

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