Sunday, January 24, 2010

About Backup

It's a fact that we can forget with time (until it's too late): having backup is important. There is an other fact that we never forget: managing our files when we have many computers is often complicated. It's easy to forget where the latest version of each file is stored and have multiple version laying around...

Lately, I've heard about DropBox, a service which aims to solve this.

It allows to synchronize a folder on your computer (called DropBox) with all of DropBox of all your computers and with an online storage place (managed by the company). It goes further by giving you access to your online files from a browser and provide many useful features. It works on Windows, Mac and Linux and is free for 2GB storage.

I found this a brilliant way to solve two problems at the same time. It's probably not a new idea, but it's a good one.

I liked it, but wanted more than 2GB and to be able to set-up my own online data server, and to be able to control when data are synchronized with online the storage (because we have unlimited quota only at night in Lebanon), etc. Basically I wanted more control.

So I cloned the idea with a simple shell script making heavy use of rsync, a few locks here and there, and zenity for the GUI. It allows me to get sure the content of my SafeBox is the same on all computers, and on plugged removable hard-drive. At night, it synchronize with my online server.

Backup and file management made simple and (almost) transparent. It's life-changing.