This article originally appeared in issue 85 of Linux User & Developer.
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Pros: Lets you restore a system from backup really fast, without worrying about installing device drivers, etc
Cons: When you take a snapshot of a system, it costs a lot in terms of time and resources to back up and restore your data
If you manage a number of servers that require a good uptime, you should know how crucial it is to maintain well-organised backups of your data. Not only to is it important to organise your backups well so you know what to retrieve when something goes wrong, but also have a system in place so that your server can return to being productive as soon as possible after a crash. This sometimes means being able to retrieve data to the same server and sometimes moving to a whole new server. Kleo Bare Metal Backups offers a free solution wherein you take a snapshot of your complete system. If something fails, you just restore the whole system from a backed-up image.
Kleo Bare Metal Backups is a freely distributed product from Carroll-Net, Inc (http://carroll.net), a company that has been in the business of protecting and retrieving data for over 15 years. This experience shows in the design of the software. Its simple design interface and ease of use make it a good option for not very technical people. The software caters primarily to business users that have several desktops and servers on their network. That said, there is no reason why it cannot be just as effective for a home user.
Rather than cramming in several options all at once, Kleo’s well-thought-out interface is split into several screens. You follow the process of taking a backup step by step, thereby reducing the chances of a mistake, and you pick the options based on your back-up requirements. The software guides you through these steps, and if you have any doubts there is a note accompanying each screen to help you out. If that is not enough, the documentation provided with Kleo Bare Metal Backups is quite good as well.
The quickest way to get started is to download the ISO image of the software from the download section of the project’s website. You can then burn the image onto a CD or DVD, or copy it onto a USB key drive, and boot your computer with that. The image contains a pretty functional copy of Linux, with a partition manager and network settings pane, amongst other things.
When you launch the Kleo wizard, you are asked if you want to back up or restore data. If you choose the former, you are able to pick the partitions on your computer that you want to back up. The great thing about backing up the whole system using such a Live edition of Linux is that you can restore your system without the need for any other software. All you need is the Live disc, access to your backups, and a functional computer to restore to. The flexibility of being able to take snapshots of selected partitions is great, especially in a case where you are short of storage space for your backups. This way you can take a snapshot of your important partitions.