afbackup 3.5.7

A client-server backup system allowing many workstations to backup to a central server (simultaneously or serially)
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

Main features:

  • 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

last updated on:
December 15th, 2011, 13:28 GMT
license type:
GPL (GNU General Public License) 
developed by:
Albert Fluegel and Jalon Q. Zimmerman
ROOT \ System \ Backup
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