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One of the features of Windows Home Server that is attractive to me is the ability to automatically save a disk image of a connected machine to the server. Would something like this be possible when using an Ubuntu server?

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Since you said you primarily want to back up windows machines, this should get you going.

  1. Set up your Ubuntu server (it doesn't actually have to be server edition) with samba. You'll use it just like a network drive with your Windows software.
  2. Set up full backup on your Windows machine. This can be done with Windows Backup and Restore via the network to your Ubuntu server if you have professional or ultimate. If you don't, instead of buying Windows Home Server (much more expensive), buy Acronis True Image which can also automate backups via network. In my experience these are the two simplest, cheapest, and best ways to do automated full disk backups on Windows.
  3. When you're ready to backup an Ubuntu machine, you're ready to go with whatever backup software you like. (I have never found automatic full disk solutions for Ubuntu that work as well—as automatic and efficient—as the above I mentioned for Windows, so I just back up my data.) For Linux, I have used CrashPlan (back up to your Ubuntu server), Dropbox, and, currently, Wuala. CrashPlan is great because you can back up to your own machine via LAN or internet. I've stopped trying to back up my entire media collection, so I just use Wuala now for backing up/syncing folders. It has the great feature that you can "trade" HDD space for some of their server space.
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From the wording in the question, I think he wants an Ubuntu server to replace Windows Home Server, and wants any machine plugged up to the network to be able to save an image to it. It's doable I just don't know how much work it's going to be. – Ctuchik Jul 28 '11 at 22:24
I know how much work it's going to be :) – Jeff Jul 28 '11 at 22:39
Haha, sounds like you've done this before. I'm thinking Clonezilla server? But I'm not sure if that will have all the functionality it needs. – Ctuchik Jul 28 '11 at 22:42
My primary use would be saving a disk image of a connected Windows machine to the Ubuntu server. However, ideally I'd be able to do that with any other connected machine as well (or at least a connected Ubuntu machine). I have looked at Clonezilla some, but couldn't see any way that the process could be automated. Perhaps I missed something? – tnorthcutt Jul 29 '11 at 1:03
ahhh, yeah automation is gonna be the big delimiter. If it were all linux machines you could do it with client software backing up to the server seamlessly, but since I know you have at least one windows machine that makes it much trickier. Perhaps there's some way to automate DD over the network? – Ctuchik Jul 29 '11 at 15:42

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