Box Backup, the unknown remote backup gem

Box Backup specs:

  • Server: UNIX (probably Linux), with a lot of hard disk space
  • Clients: UNIX or windows. Clients can be configured as lazy (CDP) or snapshot mode

What it does well:

  • File level backups from UNIX or Windows hosts

What it doesn’t do:

  • Application level backups such as MS Exchange, Active Directory, MySQL, etc. Although it doesn’t do this, it may be worth paying the developers to add Windows VSS support and popular application intelligence. You can also script around it and add this functionality (rudimentary) yourself.

I’m always looking for better way to back up my and others’ data. I must have tried it all by now. Other than the big names, I’ve used a mix of:

DLO, rsync v2, rsync v3, ssh, tar, gzip, ZFS, snapshots, S3, and more…

to backup data. Like everything else, they all do something better or worse. There is always a goal or target backup application in mind with backup tools/software. Some of those might be:

  • offsite recovery
  • continuous data protection
  • tape archival
  • desktop users
  • laptop/remote users

I would summarize Box Backup as continuous data proction for remote systems. You can obviously use it for non-remote backups, but its design makes it powerful for remote backups.

Box Backup’s design is simple and elegant. A server daemon is setup where remote agents initiate connections to and store their data.

There are not a lot of options to configure for retention, upload speeds, etc. Most of this is handled by the intelligence of the agent. You basically configure a few options and let it run.

Also, there doesn’t seem to be much community and activity in the project. There is a long history of steady activity, but I’m very surprised at level of disinterest. It seems like a dynamte piece of software! Maybe nobody knows about it?

So far I have setup two UNIX agents and one Windows agent. I’ve been impressed by the results and depending on how the next week goes, I may deploy it further or recommend others to use it.

Tags: , ,

  1. theWebalyst’s avatar

    Hi Brendon,

    Having almost wrestled rsnapshot on Debian into backup up Windows clients I find lack of VSS support – and my inability to hack it in – to be “just” one more damn hurdle… and then someone points me at Box Backup.

    It doesn’t yet have VSS support but they appear to be working on it for v0.12.

    I wonder how you have found Box Backup since this post?

    I have quite a few questions about how it stores the backups (e.g. integrity of a diff based system) and would welcome any pros//cons you’ve observed, particularly related to Windows clients (and W7 x64).

    Thanks for any experience you can share!

    Mark

    Reply

Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *