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Do you need specialized backup software for Linux environments?

George Crump of Storage Switzerland discusses whether specialized tools are necessary to back up Linux environments.

Are specialized backup tools necessary to back up systems running Linux operating systems like Ubuntu? Or can they be backed up with any backup software?

Years ago Linux-based servers required specialized backup applications to perform data protection. Now most enterprise backup applications have direct support for Linux environments, especially a common distribution like Ubuntu. The choice on how to protect Ubuntu is really up to the backup administrator and the application owner using the operating system to host their applications. If there are only a few Ubuntu systems present, it may be easier and less expensive to use the operating system data protection utilities that come with Ubuntu, but if Ubuntu is a major initiative within the data center, then more robust enterprise protection may be in order.

More often, the bigger question is: How will the application running on the Ubuntu server be protected? Where many enterprise backup applications fall short is in support for the Ubuntu version of specific applications. This not only includes some of the databases that are unique to the Ubuntu environment, but also the Ubuntu version of applications already running on other platforms in the enterprise, like Oracle.

If the chosen enterprise backup application does not have support for a given application, then a decision has to be made by IT on how to protect that application. They can write a Linux script that can use the application's utilities to place the application into a backup mode and then do a database dump to disk. This allows for a consistent copy of the database to be captured.

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