I need to set up a backup server to pull data from on-site linux servers. The server will be running Ubuntu 16.04.

A requirement is to be able to access backups of files which have been subsequently deleted.

It needs to be reasonably, but not perfectly, space-efficient. i.e. storing historic backups of slow changing servers shouldn't use much more space than the full backup does.

The two choices I'm looking at are:

Are there reasons to choose one over the other?

  • 1
    Also related: nongnu.org/rdiff-backup – dhag Feb 14 at 16:21
  • rsync (plus rsnapshot or something for backup depth) works regardless of whether you have ZFS present – thrig Feb 14 at 20:21
  • 1
    rsync to zfs + zfs snapshot will be much faster than rsync + hardlinks or rdiff-backup or similar. and you also have all the advantages/features of ZfS - including compression, encryption, zfs send if you want a 2nd backup, etc. Even de-duping if you want to waste money on extra RAM rather than more/bigger disks (disks, even SSDs, are far cheaper than RAM). Also restoring deleted files or old versions of files from old snapshots is trivially easy with zfs (esp. if snapdir is set to visible so that you can work with the .zfs/ subdir). – cas Feb 15 at 0:35
  • BTW, I used to use rdiff-backup a lot. I still have some legacy rdiff-backup stuff (including on one of my zfs boxes)...mostly because changing it is low-priority. I use rsync + zfs snapshot to backup non-zfs filesystems these days. (zfs gets backed up with zfs send). – cas Feb 15 at 0:37

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