While Bacula Community can be still used as a computer backup program for a single machine, it’s probably not the best use of the software. Kern Sibbald created Bacula’s core competence around the needs of large data centers, that have servers  being used for enterprise applications.

Typically, you want your enterprise-level server backup software to easily scale for different business sizes, including large ones that cover several data centers at once. Your solution should be capable of handling a large amount of storage destinations, backup servers, backup/restore jobs, and volumes on tape/disk. Overall solution capacity is therefore one of the deciding factors to start with.

Some server backup systems also have separate architectures for catalogs, consoles, storage daemons and file daemons. Overall, good server backup software should be modular, customizable and, of course, flexible. You should be able to add more storage or file daemons whenever your server number increases. This flexibility should likewise extend to cover multiple data centers and have the ability to be applied to different disaster recovery scenarios.

As an example of a service that supports a lot of different databases, Bacula’s server backup solution is capable of working with:

  • MSSQL
  • Oracle
  • MySQL
  • Exchange
  • PostgreSQL
  • SAP, and many more.

Active Directory backups and LDAP backups are also supported in Bacula’s free server backup software. There’s also a especially high number of virtual server providers supported:

  • Hyper-V
  • VMware
  • Red Hat
  • Xen Server
  • KVM
  • Proxmox

To help you with choosing the best solution for server backup purposes, here’s a list of recommended features that it should have ‘out-of-the-box’:

  • High scalability and flexibility
  • Cloud storages support (S3 or others)
  • Support of different databases such as SAP HANA, SQLite, MSSQL, Oracle, SAP, MySQL and others
  • Support for your required platforms, such as Linux (Debian, Ubuntu, RHEL and more), Solaris, Windows, FreeBSD and other *nix systems
  • Advanced security measures incl. data encryption between backup system elements
  • Deduplication technology on both file and storage side
  • A wide variety of storage destinations, including disk, cloud, tape, etc.

Bacula Community server backup software meets all of the recommendations above. The great advantage of this open source server backup software is that it’s totally free – and with all these enterprise features included.

There’s also one more important technology that a lot of people tend to forget – automatic backups. If you run nightly backups automatically, literally everything should be automated – not only the backup job started at the right time, but any job that fails should have the ability to be started over, and all other tasks that are included in the backup process should proceed automatically, too.

Your backup automatization mechanisms should be configurable to a considerable extent, including different levels of backup and different command inputs in the process. This automatization mechanism is capable of working with all standard backup levels, namely:

  • Full Capable of backing up the entire data set, consumes a lot of network bandwidth and physical/virtual storage.
  • Incremental Backing up only those files that changed in some way after the last backup happened (either Full or any other one), less storage-consuming than full but all of the incremental backups tend to pile up and take additional storage space.
  • Differential Conveniently combining all of the changes since the last backup happened, much more time and storage conservative since you don’t need the last full backup and all of the incremental backups since then to restore the system (like Incremental does).

Bacula’s scheduler also allows you to set other tasks to run automatically, not only backups. This list includes catalog database optimization, filesystem check, some sort of monitoring task, and more. Bacula can automate a high number of processes in your backup schedule if you require it,  and exploit the especially high potential of this high-end solution.

If you’re also interested in Tape Backup, check out the Bacula’s solution.