in reply to OT: Backup Software Recommendations?

All your "must-have" requirements are fullfilled by the heterogeneous enterprise backup solution from IBM called Tivoli Storage Manager.

1. It probably has the best cross-platform support out there of any of the major backup solutions.
2. It preserves permissions & ownership.
3. It has a centralised RDBMS based server console (with SQL support) and a separate GUI-based product called Integrated Server Console.
4. TSM provides several different options for open file backups (it calls this "serialization").

Update: I second Bacula as an open-source solution.


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Re^2: OT: Backup Software Recommendations?
by shandor (Monk) on Feb 02, 2007 at 00:28 UTC
    I am probably quite biased, since this is how I've made my living for the past seven years, but if your company can afford
    the licensing fees, I highly recommend EMC (formerly Legato) NetWorker. Of the big three (NetWorker, TSM, NetBackup), NetWorker is
    the one I use. Besides that, I find that NetWorker works very well in a large scale, heterogeneous environment.

    I've set up backup environments for small data centers (25-50 servers) and large data centers (1500+ servers) and have yet to find an
    architecture that NetWorker doesn't support. I'm sure they are out there, but the hardware/OS compatibility of NetWorker is quite vast.

    - Once you get the hang of the vocabulary and how NetWorker works, it's very simple to set up backups and perform restores.
    - The internal scheduling tool works very well. Most Unix admins will start by scheduling jobs manually in CRON, until they're
    convinced that NetWorker's scheduling is more efficient... then all those CRON jobs are #'d out forever.
    - There is a very active online support community with some great expertise.
    - The official support staff isn't nearly as horrible as it used to be 5 years ago and can actually be helpful (I've heard) now a days.
    - There are many modules (and applicable license fee, of course) that allow NetWorker to interact directly with active applications
    (Documentum, Oracle, MSSQL, etc...) to allow for little to no downtime.
    - Extensive command line abilities making it very easy to write wrapper scripts for tedious tasks or to make very pretty, manager
    readable reports.

    - The learning curve can be steep. I give new team members 6 months before I expect them to be able to fully grasp the complexities
    of NetWorker (that time is lenghtened because they have to learn the infinite amount of corporate policies as well).
    - I don't think backing up laptops and PCs is very well supported.
    - I think the licensing fees can be prohibitive for smaller companies.
    - NetWorker is pretty bad at interacting with tape devices. For example, if a person physically moves a tape from a tape drive, it
    can some times take several hours of kicking and screaming to get NetWorker to realize that the tape isn't in the drive anymore.
    (This is by far my biggest gripe with NetWorker and something I like about NetBackup)

    NetWorker is overkill if you're only backing up a few GB per day or a couple hundred GB per week. But, if you have a pretty
    heterogeneous data center and your companies is concerned about disaster recovery, this is a very good choice for your backup