Fast and secure laptop backups with encrypted de-duplication

Paul Anderson, Le Zhang

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Many people now store large quantities of personal and corporate data on laptops or home computers. These often have poor or intermittent connectivity, and are vulnerable to theft or hardware failure. Conventional backup solutions are not well suited to this environment, and backup regimes are frequently inadequate. This paper describes an algorithm which takes advantage of the data which is common between users to increase the speed of backups, and reduce the storage requirements. This algorithm supports client-end per-user encryption which is necessary for confidential personal data. It also supports a unique feature which allows immediate detection of common subtrees, avoiding the need to query the backup system for every file. We describe a prototype implementation of this algorithm for Apple OS X, and present an analysis of the potential effectiveness, using real data obtained from a set of typical users. Finally, we discuss the use of this prototype in conjunction with remote cloud storage, and present an analysis of the typical cost savings.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLISA'10 Proceedings of the 24th international conference on Large installation system administration
Place of PublicationBerkeley, CA, USA
PublisherUSENIX Association
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)978-931971-78-2
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • backup, cloud computing, de-duplication, encryption


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