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Developer(s) Kern Sibbald, and team
Stable release 7.0.5 / July 28, 2014 (2014-07-28)
Written in C++
Operating system Cross-platform
Type Backup
License Affero General Public License v3.0

Bacula is an open source, enterprise level computer backup system for heterogeneous networks. It is designed to automate backup tasks that had often required intervention from a systems administrator or computer operator.

Bacula supports Linux, UNIX, Windows, and Mac OS X backup clients, and a range of professional backup devices including tape libraries. Administrators and operators can configure the system via a command line console, GUI or web interface; its back-end is a catalog of information stored by MySQL, PostgreSQL, or SQLite.


  • Overview 1
  • Features 2
    • Network options 2.1
    • Client-options 2.2
    • Backup devices 2.3
    • Client OS 2.4
  • Considerations 3
  • History 4
  • Forks of Bacula 5
    • Legal dispute 5.1
  • Further reading 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


Bacula is a set of computer programs for managing backup, recovery, and verification of computer data across a network—providing a backup solution for mixed operating system environments.

Bacula is open source and released under the AGPL version 3 license with exceptions to permit linking with OpenSSL and distributing Windows binaries.[1]

Bacula is available under a "dual license" (see: Multi-licensing) AGPLv3 or Proprietary license. Several entities offer commercial support for the AGPL "Bacula community version" while Bacula Systems [2] sells various levels of annual support contracts for "Bacula Enterprise Edition", which contains various non-GPL components developed in-house.

In common with other dual license software, components developed for the Bacula Enterprise Edition are released into Bacula Community edition after some period of exclusivity to the proprietary version.

Since April 2002, Bacula has over 2 million downloads, which makes it the most downloaded open source backup program.[3]

Bacula® is a registered trademark of Kern Sibbald.


Bacula's features include:

Network options

  • TCP/IP - client–server communication uses standard ports and services instead of RPC for NFS, CIFS, etc.; this eases firewall administration and network security
  • CRAM-MD5 - configurable client–server authentication
  • GZIP/LZO - client-side compression to reduce network bandwidth consumption; this runs separate from hardware compression done by the backup device
  • TLS - network communication encryption
  • MD5/SHA - verify file integrity
  • CRC - verify data block integrity
  • PKI - backup data encryption
  • NDMP - enterprise version plugin[4]


  • POSIX ACL - needed to restore Windows NT ACE's and Samba servers
  • Unicode/UTF-8 - cross-platform filenames
  • VSS - calls Microsoft's snapshot service
  • LVM - pre-script setup for Linux/UNIX snapshot
  • LFS - backup files larger than 2GiB
  • raw - backup devices without a filesystem

Backup devices

  • pooling - allocates backup volumes according to job needs and retention configuration
  • spooling - writes backup data to spool until target backup medium is allocated so jobs can continue uninterrupted
  • media-spanning - such as spanning tapes
  • multi-streaming - write multiple, simultaneous data streams to the same medium
  • ANSI & EBCDIC - IBM compatibility
  • Barcodes - reading tape barcodes in libraries
  • autoloaders - virtually every tape autoloader available (called autochangers in Bacula)
  • most tape drives, including DDS, DLT, SDLT, LTO-1-6

Client OS

The client software, executed by a "file daemon" running on a Bacula client, supports multiple operating systems.[5]


Bacula stores backup data in an open and documented yet unique volume format; there are Bacula standalone tools to read/write the backup data (bls, bcopy, bscan, bextract), these tools are not compatible with other Unix backup utilities such as tar or dump.

By default, Bacula's differential and incremental backups are based on system time stamps. Consequently, if you move files into an existing directory or move a whole directory into the backup FileSet after a full backup, those files may not be backed up by an incremental save because they may have old dates. You must explicitly update the date/time stamp on all moved files. Bacula versions starting with 3.0 or later support Accurate backup, which is an option that addresses this issue.[6]


Date Event
January 2000 Project started
April 14, 2002 First release to (version 1.16)
June 29, 2006 Release 1.38.11 (Final version 1 release)
January 2007 Release 2.0.0
September 2007 Release 2.2.3
June 2008 Release 2.4.0
April 2009 Release 3.0.0 with new features[7]
January 2010 Release 5.0.0 with new features[8]
September 2010 Release 5.0.3
January 2012 Release 5.2.4 with new features[9]
February 2012 Release 5.2.6
June 2012 Release 5.2.9
February 2013 Release 5.2.13
July 2014 Release 7.0.5 with many new features[10]

Forks of Bacula

In 2011, Graham Keeling, a "former" Bacula community developer, released a friendly fork of Bacula. [11] This fork is interesting in that it takes quite a different approach to backup than Bacula does. Graham is on good terms with the developers and the Bacula project. Recently, Graham has agreed to Bacula and Bacula Systems using some of his code.

In February of 2013 a former Bacula community developer released a hostile fork of Bacula.[12]

Legal dispute

In early December 2013, Bacula Systems filed a lawsuit against Bareos GmbH & Co. KG and one of their directors alleging the Bareos project is violating Intellectual property of Bacula Systems SA and engaging in unfair competition.[13]

Further reading

  • "Main Bacula Documentation". 2014. 
  • Preston, W. Curtis (2007). Backup & Recovery. O'Reilly Media.   Chapter 7 covers Bacula
  • "Enterprise Networking article". 2009. 
  • "Server Watch article". 2007. 
  • "The Bacula Philosphy". 2005. 
  • "Deduplication article". 2010. 
  • Storz, Philipp (2013). Bacula. Open Source Press.  
  • FreeBSD Diary. "Bacula: Cross-Platform Client-Server Backups". 
  • Broadley, Claire (2013). "Beginner’s Guide to Bacula Open Source Backup and EC2". 
  • "Setup Backup Server Using Bacula And Webmin On Ubuntu 14.04". 2014. 
  • "Bacula backup tutorial - install, backup & restore". 


  1. ^ "Bacula Copyright, Trademark, and Licenses". 
  2. ^ "". Bacula Systems S.A. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ Bacula Enterprise Plugins
  5. ^ "Supported Operating Systems". 
  6. ^ "New Features in 3.0.0". 
  7. ^ "New Features in 3.0.0". 
  8. ^ "New Features in 5.0.0". 
  9. ^ "New Features in 5.2.0". 
  10. ^ "New Features in 7.0.0". 
  11. ^ "Burp". 
  12. ^ "Bareos". 
  13. ^ "Bacula Systems SA files Lawsuit Against Bareos GmbH & Co. KG". 

External links

  • Bacula’s home page
  • Bacula’s SourceForge Project Page
  • Bacula Systems' home page
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