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In the world of systems engineering, data loss is one of the greatest fears for any company or individual. Faced with this challenge, data backup has become a fundamental practice. However, not all backups are created equally. While traditional backups only copy data, files and settings, Bare Metal backup goes further. This article aims to explain what is meant by Bare Metal backup, how it differs from other types of backup and what are the best-known software for carrying out this type of backup on Linux systems.
What is a Bare Metal Backup?
The term “Bare Metal” is often used to describe the physical hardware of a computer, without the interference or presence of an operating system or any other type of software. In this “naked” form, the computer is a blank canvas waiting to be shaped through the installation of an operating system, drivers, and software applications. This is where the concept of "Bare Metal backup" comes from, a procedure that goes far beyond traditional backup methods, which are usually limited to copying files and folders.
Complete Copy of the System
When you make a Bare Metal backup, you are not simply saving a selection of files or folders. You are creating an exact, functional copy of your entire system, just as if you were taking a snapshot of your computer's current state. This snapshot includes not only your personal files and documents, but also critical system elements such as:
- Disk Partitions: All information about how the hard drive is divided into different sections is saved.
- Bootloader: Settings that help your system during the boot phase are included in the backup.
- Operating system: The entire operating system, with all its libraries, system files and configurations, is included.
- Hardware Drivers: The drivers that allow the operating system to interact with the hardware are copied.
- Software Applications: All installed programs, from small utilities to large software packages, are included.
- User Data and Files: Of course, all your personal data and business files are included in the backup.
Recovery in Case of Emergency
One of the main strengths of Bare Metal backup is its ability to restore. In case of disasters such as major hardware failures, ransomware attacks that encrypt all your data, or critical errors that render your system unusable, a Bare Metal backup can be a lifesaver. Because it includes all the critical elements to make your system work, you can restore your entire system to new hardware (or to the same, if repairable) without having to go through the tedious process of reinstalling the operating system, drivers, and applications. Simply put, it allows for turnkey recovery, minimizing downtime and associated costs.
System Integrity Guarantee
Another advantage of Bare Metal backup is the guarantee of system integrity. Since everything is copied exactly as is, there is no risk of losing critical configurations or settings that may be difficult to replicate. This is particularly useful in complex enterprise environments where system configurations can be very elaborate and sensitive.
How does it differ from other types of backup?
File Level Backup
File-level backups copy individual files and folders. This type of backup is useful for protecting specific data, but does not include things like the operating system or system settings.
System Image Backup
This is a backup of an entire partition or hard drive. While similar to Bare Metal backup, it does not include some system-level settings that could be crucial for a complete recovery.
Incremental or Differential Backup
These types of backups copy only data that has changed since the previous backup. While they are efficient in terms of storage space, they are not sufficient for a complete system recovery in the event of a total system failure.
In comparison, Bare Metal backup is a complete solution that allows total recovery, from the operating system to individual files.
Most famous software for Bare Metal Backup on Linux
In addition to open-source and community-oriented software that is of little use for professional purposes, there are also commercial solutions that offer advanced functionality, professional support, and other features that can be particularly useful for businesses. Here is an overview of three of these software: Acronis, Veeam and R1Soft.
Acronis Cyber Backup
- Website: Acronis Cyber Backup
- Description: Acronis is one of the most complete and well-known backup solutions on the market. It offers a wide range of features, including bare metal backup, cloud backup, file-level backup, and much more. Thanks to its intuitive user interface and support for a wide range of operating systems, including Linux, Windows, and macOS, Acronis is a popular choice for businesses of all sizes. The solution is also integrated with advanced security technologies to protect data from ransomware and other threats.
Veeam Backup & Replication
- Website: Veeam Backup & Replication
- Description: Veeam is another major player in the backup world. Although it was initially more focused on virtualized environments, Veeam has expanded its capabilities to include Bare Metal backups, especially for Linux systems. Veeam is known for its reliability, scalability, and ease of use. It also offers features like granular recovery, which allows users to restore individual files or entire systems with ease.
R1Soft Server Backup Manager
- Website: R1Soft Server Backup Manager
- Description: R1Soft is a more specialized backup solution, designed primarily for servers. It offers high-performance Bare Metal backup for Linux and Windows, with a near-instant restore function. Thanks to its continuous incremental backup technology, R1Soft is able to perform frequent backups without much impact on system performance. It's a popular choice for businesses that need frequent backups and fast recovery times.
Bare Metal backup represents one of the most complete and robust backup strategies available to businesses and individuals. It clearly distinguishes itself from more traditional backup solutions because it allows complete and accurate restoration of all the elements that make up an IT system. It is not just a data backup, but a 360-degree snapshot of the system, including disk partitions, bootloader, operating system, hardware drivers and software applications.
Choosing the right tools and technologies to implement this type of backup can vary significantly depending on your specific needs.
If you are faced with indecision or doubts about how to design your disaster recovery plan, or if you are uncertain about which tools and technologies would be best suited for your Linux environment, do not hesitate to contact us for a no-obligation consultation. We specialize in backup and disaster recovery for Linux environments and can provide expert guidance to help you navigate the different options available. Our experience can help you make the right choice to protect your valuable data and systems, minimizing risks and maximizing your preparedness for any eventuality.