Automating Remote Backups

Most home users don't think about backups till their disks crash. With a little bit of upfront work, you can automate your home backups and sleep easy at night.

In preparing a personal backup strategy, it is important to identify the purpose of the backup, establish a set of processes that prepares files for backup and performs backups to remote systems. It is also important that automation of these processes provide feedback, so users can have at least a starting point of understanding why backups are failing and when that may have occurred.

The methods shown here are somewhat simple and certainly not ideal for every user. The scripts probably are not bug-free and also have room for improvement. They are intended only as a starting point for building personal backup plans. I welcome feedback on any improvements you make to these scripts.

Michael J. Hammel is a Principal Software Engineer for Colorado Engineering, Inc. (CEI), in Colorado Springs, Colorado, with more than 20 years of software development and management experience. He has written more than 100 articles for numerous on-line and print magazines and is the author of three books on The GIMP, the premier open-source graphics editing package.