Keeping laptop backups in sync: Part 4

The Linux solution

Users of Linux desktops and laptops also have a free option available to them -- rsync, a file transfer program for Unix systems - which uses the rsync algorithm that provides a fast method for bringing remote files into sync. It does this by sending just the differences in the files across the link, without requiring that both sets of files are present at one of the ends of the link beforehand. It can be used to update whole directory trees and file systems, and can even preserve symbolic links, hard links, file ownership, permissions, devices and times. It requires no special privileges to install and it can use rsh, ssh or direct sockets as the transport. It even supports anonymous rsync, which is ideal for mirroring.

With rsync, establish synchronization between your laptop and any Unix or Linux desktop where you have a home directory. This gives you the same amount of functionality as described in the Windows solution earlier. Using one of these utilities, you can backup laptops and other remote users. All you need is a central place for everyone to synchronize to.

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"Mobile computers: Regular backups prevent disaster," by Linda Christie.

View Part 1: Keeping laptop backups in sync

This article originally appeared in Storage magazine.

About the author

W. Curtis Preston is the president of The Storage Group. He is the author of Unix Backup and Recovery and Using SANs and NAS.

This was first published in March 2003

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