One common challenge for research facilities that rely on computers for data acquisition and/or processing is proper data backup. On the one hand, any type of research equipment nowadays is controlled by a computer, sometimes with proprietary hardware to interface with the equipment and almost always with dedicated software shipped with the instrument. On the other hand, the original data taken with the equipment remains on the computer hard drive, which may become the only place the data is held.
Computer hardware will fail at some point, and having a backup image of the start-up partition (C:\ for Windows OS) saves the wasted time and headache commonly associated with the searching for drivers and software to restore the computer. Also, for the sake of data archiving and retrieving, maintaining a backup of the user data files is highly recommended for any lab.
If you have a large number of computers a client/server backup solution is usually best, in my opinion. Also, I wanted it to be open source and available on different OS platforms. I came across UrBackup ( https://www.urbackup.org/ ), which I found to check most of the boxes on my list. It is available on various Linux platforms, as well as on Windows. The user interface on the server is implemented through a browser interface. It is capable of incremental file, full file, and hard drive image backups.
I’m planning to get most of our equipment computers on the network and added to the backup system.