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How to install and configure Bacula

Bacula is a backup management tool that enables you to backup, restore, and verify data across your network. There are Bacula clients for Linux, Windows, and Mac OS X – making it a cross-platform and network-wide solution.

Bacula components

Bacula is made up of several components and services that are used to manage backup files and locations:

  • Bacula Director: A service that controls all backup, restore, verify, and archive operations.

  • Bacula Console: An application that allows communication with the Director. There are three versions of the Console:

    • Text-based command line.

    • Gnome-based GTK+ Graphical User Interface (GUI) interface.

    • wxWidgets GUI interface.

  • Bacula File: Also known as the Bacula Client program. This application is installed on machines to be backed up, and is responsible for handling data requested by the Director.

  • Bacula Storage: The program that performs the storage of data onto, and recovery of data from, the physical media.

  • Bacula Catalog: Responsible for maintaining the file indices and volume databases for all backed-up files. This enables rapid location and restoration of archived files. The Catalog supports three different databases: MySQL, PostgreSQL, and SQLite.

  • Bacula Monitor: Monitors the Director, File daemons, and Storage daemons. Currently the Monitor is only available as a GTK+ GUI application.

These services and applications can be run on multiple servers and clients, or they can be installed on one machine if backing up a single disk or volume.

Install Bacula

If using MySQL or PostgreSQL as your database, you should already have the services available. Bacula will not install them for you. For more information, take a look at MySQL databases and PostgreSQL databases.

There are multiple packages containing the different Bacula components. To install bacula, from a terminal prompt enter:

sudo apt install bacula

By default, installing the bacula package will use a PostgreSQL database for the Catalog. If you want to use SQLite or MySQL for the Catalog instead, install bacula-director-sqlite3 or bacula-director-mysql respectively.

During the install process you will be asked to supply a password for the database owner of the bacula database.

Configure Bacula

Bacula configuration files are formatted based on resources composed of directives surrounded by curly “{}” braces. Each Bacula component has an individual file in the /etc/bacula directory.

The various Bacula components must authorise themselves to each other. This is accomplished using the password directive. For example, the Storage resource password in the /etc/bacula/bacula-dir.conf file must match the Director resource password in /etc/bacula/bacula-sd.conf.

By default, the backup job named BackupClient1 is configured to archive the Bacula Catalog. If you plan on using the server to back up more than one client you should change the name of this job to something more descriptive. To change the name, edit /etc/bacula/bacula-dir.conf:

# Define the main nightly save backup job
#   By default, this job will back up to disk in 
Job {
  Name = "BackupServer"
  JobDefs = "DefaultJob"
  Write Bootstrap = "/var/lib/bacula/Client1.bsr"

The example above changes the job name to “BackupServer”, matching the machine’s host name. Replace “BackupServer” with your own hostname, or other descriptive name.

The Console can be used to query the Director about jobs, but to use the Console with a non-root user, the user needs to be in the Bacula group. To add a user to the Bacula group, run the following command from a terminal:

sudo adduser $username bacula

Replace $username with the actual username. Also, if you are adding the current user to the group you should log out and back in for the new permissions to take effect.

Localhost backup

This section shows how to back up specific directories on a single host to a local tape drive.

  • First, the Storage device needs to be configured. Edit /etc/bacula/bacula-sd.conf and add:

    Device {
      Name = "Tape Drive"
      Device Type = tape
      Media Type = DDS-4
      Archive Device = /dev/st0
      Hardware end of medium = No;
      AutomaticMount = yes;               # when device opened, read it
      AlwaysOpen = Yes;
      RemovableMedia = yes;
      RandomAccess = no;
      Alert Command = "sh -c 'tapeinfo -f %c | grep TapeAlert'"

    The example is for a DDS-4 tape drive. Adjust the “Media Type” and “Archive Device” to match your hardware. Alternatively, you could also uncomment one of the other examples in the file.

  • After editing /etc/bacula/bacula-sd.conf, the Storage daemon will need to be restarted:

    sudo systemctl restart bacula-sd.service
  • Now add a Storage resource in /etc/bacula/bacula-dir.conf to use the new Device:

    # Definition of "Tape Drive" storage device
    Storage {
      Name = TapeDrive
      # Do not use "localhost" here    
      Address = backupserver               # N.B. Use a fully qualified name here
      SDPort = 9103
      Password = "Cv70F6pf1t6pBopT4vQOnigDrR0v3LT3Cgkiyjc"
      Device = "Tape Drive"
      Media Type = tape


    • The Address directive needs to be the Fully Qualified Domain Name (FQDN) of the server.
    • Change backupserver to the actual host name.
    • Make sure the Password directive matches the password string in /etc/bacula/bacula-sd.conf.
  • Create a new FileSet – this will define which directories to backup – by adding:

    # LocalhostBacup FileSet.
    FileSet {
      Name = "LocalhostFiles"
      Include {
        Options {
          signature = MD5
        File = /etc
        File = /home

    This FileSet will backup the /etc and /home directories. The Options resource directives configure the FileSet to create an MD5 signature for each file backed up, and to compress the files using GZIP.

  • Next, create a new Schedule for the backup job:

    # LocalhostBackup Schedule -- Daily.
    Schedule {
      Name = "LocalhostDaily"
      Run = Full daily at 00:01

    The job will run every day at 00:01 or 12:01 am. There are many other scheduling options available.

  • Finally, create the Job:

    # Localhost backup.
    Job {
      Name = "LocalhostBackup"
      JobDefs = "DefaultJob"
      Enabled = yes
      Level = Full
      FileSet = "LocalhostFiles"
      Schedule = "LocalhostDaily"
      Storage = TapeDrive
      Write Bootstrap = "/var/lib/bacula/LocalhostBackup.bsr"

    The Job will do a Full backup every day to the tape drive.

  • Each tape used will need to have a Label. If the current tape does not have a Label, Bacula will send an email letting you know. To label a tape using the Console enter the following command from a terminal:

  • At the Bacula Console prompt enter:

  • You will then be prompted for the Storage resource:

    Automatically selected Catalog: MyCatalog
    Using Catalog "MyCatalog"
    The defined Storage resources are:
         1: File
         2: TapeDrive
    Select Storage resource (1-2):2
  • Enter the new Volume name:

    Enter new Volume name: Sunday
    Defined Pools:
         1: Default
         2: Scratch

    Replace “Sunday” with the desired label.

  • Now, select the Pool:

    Select the Pool (1-2): 1
    Connecting to Storage daemon TapeDrive at backupserver:9103 ...
    Sending label command for Volume "Sunday" Slot 0 ...

Congratulations, you have now configured Bacula to backup the localhost to an attached tape drive.

Further reading

This page was last modified 11 months ago. Help improve this document in the forum.