afbackup 3.5 review

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afbackup project is a client-server backup system offering several workstations a centralized backup to special backup servers. Th

License: GPL (GNU General Public License)
File size: 0K
Developer: Albert Fluegel and Jalon Q. Zimmerman
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afbackup project is a client-server backup system offering several workstations a centralized backup to special backup servers.

The backup on the clients can be started automatically using cron-jobs on the clients, but the more intelligent solution is to start it remotely from a central administrative host. To be independent of tricks like rsh, rcp and so on, that are in fact security holes, this remote start option is implemented internally.

This is done because normally the backup has to be run with root authorization, otherwise files that are read protected by users would not be backed up. Any streaming device can be used for writing the data to it.

The only thing it must be able to do is to distinguish between several files on tape so that it can be positioned directly. Writing backups is normally done sequentially: The next writing to tape goes to the end of the previous write no matter from where you have restored in the meantime.

There is a special possibility for the administrator to change the next writing position, but this should be done only in emergency cases (See: PROGRAMS, "cartis"). Another way to be more flexible here is to configure variable append mode.

GNU make. Others may not work, but all should (thanks to autoconfig). Using gcc is recommended.
A streaming device. This can be either a cartridge handling system or a simple drive. In the latter case you might want to maintain several cartridges nonetheless. Just buy them
and write numbers to them starting with 1. The backup server will supply you with email when a tape must be put in and which it should be. The number of cartridges is configurable.
E.g. a compression program on the client side, if you want to use the processing feature and no built-in compression, which is not mandatory.
Some space for the logfiles. All the names of the saved files and directories are written to log files, which could grow to a notable size if a lot of files are saved.
For media changer support an appropriate driver command is necessary, e.g. mtx or stctl. They can be obtained from the same place, where afbackup had been downloaded

Here are some key features of "afbackup":
Client/Server System
Authentication of the client is performed before it can take over control (see INSTALL and FAQ) -> security
Several servers can be configured for each client: the actual server is chosen by availability
Multi stream server, several clients can store to one server at the same time
Remote start option -> centralized administration
Access restriction for the streamer device -> security
Client-side per-file processing -> reliability. If the files and directories were first packed and then processed, by the server a single faulty bit in the processed stream would make the rest of the backup unaccessible for restore
Built-in compression (requires libz)
Data stream is written to tape in pieces of configurable size -> fast finding of files during restore
Tape position logging for each file -> fast finding of files during restore
Tape capacity is fully used
Flexible tape handling and configurable append mode
Full/incremental backups and verify
Raw partitions can be saved
Ordinary users can run the restore for their own files and directories, but only for these
Emergency recovery on different catastrophe levels
Command output saving feature: useful e.g for databases
Cartridge locations database maintained
Support for media changers
Client access to cartridge sets can be restricted

What's New in This Release:
Bug fixed: cart_ctrl -i aborted on unreadable tape
Minor implementation enhancements e.g. for performance
MacOS-X (10) supported, at least the client side has been tested
Support for barcode tape labels, thus
cart_ctl notably extended: Detailed listings, attribute assignments, cartridge descriptions etc.
Usage output of server and mserver corrected
Bug fixed: When packing (backup) with an external processing command (e.g. compression) and later during unpack the reverse processing command can not be executed, the afclient program terminated without any message
debian subdirectory removed due to maintainer's request

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