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Improving the Backup Experience By Making Intelligent Software Choices

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You've just bought a new high-capacity tape drive for your Linux or Unix system. Where do you start? What software should you use? Marcel Gagné takes you on a tour of both freeware and commercial tools available.
Congratulations to Marcel, who recently won the Linux Journal's 2001 Readers' Choice Aware for favorite column. Marcel's column, "Cooking with Linux," appears there monthly.
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Note that this article originally appeared as a feature on Ecrix's VXAdata newsletter for May 2000.

Aw! Do I have to?

The very fact that you are reading this is enough for me to make sure I don't bore you with why backups are a good idea. You already know you have to do it. Backing up your data just makes sense, which is why you have invested in high-quality hardware to do the job. The problem is not the concept or even the reason for safeguarding your data. The problem is usually just doing it. Let's face it, nobody likes doing backups. Choosing the right software to do your backups can make the job less of a headache, maybe even fun.

Data protection, backup, and recovery is a rapidly growing business, one whose importance is undeniable. Technology is being developed on many different levels, including hardware, software, full-service providers, management systems, and more. Today, I want to concentrate on the software end of things. In particular, I want to discuss options for getting the dirty job done. Backup software ranges from simple tools supplied free with your OS to commercial solutions ranging from the very inexpensive to the downright pricey. So, where do you begin?

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