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05 June 2012, 11:58

Snapshotting backup tool Obnam 1.0 released

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Obnam, "a snapshotting, de-duplicating, encrypting backup program" has been released by its developer, Lars Wirzenius. The application has been in development since 2006 when Wirzenius decided that he could not find a backup application which met all his demands, despite finding various applications with one or two of his requirements.

Obnam creates generational copies which look like complete snapshots to remove the need to care about full or incremental backups; the generations share as much data as possible and only changes are backed up on each run. Across the files and backup generations, data is deduplicated with aggressive re-use. The backups are then encrypted using GnuPG.

The backups can be stored on local hard disks, USB drives, locally mounted network file shares or any SFTP server, though Wirzenius warns the latter's performance is a weak spot of Obnam 1.0. The release of version 1.0 of Obnam signals that the backup format has become stable and it is ready for general use, though "not bug free and as fast as I like".

Wirzenius hopes others will use Obnam and find the remaining problems "faster than I can do on my own". He has packaged Obnam 1.0 for Debian and it is currently in the unstable repository. Source code, other Debian packages (for i386, amd64 and armel), links to an Ubuntu PPA and to the version control system are also available from the download page. Obnam is licensed under the GPLv3 or later.


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