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From the book Linux Administration Made Easy:

  1. When deciding on a backup solution, you will need to consider the following factors:

    Portability − Is backup portability (ie. the ability to backup on one Linux distribution or implementation of Unix and restore to another; for example from Solaris to Red Hat Linux) important to you? If so, you'll probably want to choose one of the command−line tools (eg. dd, dump, cpio, or tar), because you can be reasonably sure that such tools will be available on any *nix system.

    What does "backup on one Linux distribution or implementation of Unix and restore to another" mean? Is it to backup a Linux system and then restore it later? Then what does it mean by "restore to another"?

  2. Remote backups − Is the ability to start backups and restores from a remote machine important to you? If so, you'll probably want to choose one of the command−line tools or text−based utilities instead of the GUI−based utilities (unless you have a reasonably fast network connection and the ability to run remote X sessions).

    Network backups − Is performing backups and restores to and from networked hosts important to you? If so, you'll probably want to use one of several of the command−line utilities (such as tar) which support network access to backup devices, or a specialized utility such as Amanda or one of several commercial utilities.

    It seems that remote backup and network backup are the same. What are their differences?

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Ah backups... Before portability...

The starting point for setting up a backup system is to determine what you're trying to accomplish with the backup.

For example, even a simple WordPress backup requires making a copy of both the database + flat files associated with the WordPress install.

If the system is more complex, meaning for example there are custom changes to apache's configuration (if apache is in use), then /etc/apache2 or /etc/httpd must also be added to the backup.

So the real starting point of a backup system is to consider when + how the backup will be used, when site moves to another machine because the site requires more resources or there is a catastrophic hardware failure.

My rule of thumb is, "you only have a backup, if you can create a running system from your backup in a few minutes."

Otherwise you just have a pile of files + hours/days of work.

Once you know how you'll use your backup, then you can consider what you use for your final archive file - zip or xz or bzip2 - and the good news is, so long as your going linux to linux you can use just about anything.

If you're going between many operating systems, use zip as zip/unzip are pretty much every where, even "Windoze".

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