A difficult task within any organization is the backing up of client machines. We have over 300 macs which need daily backups, so I created Backup to address this problem. Essentially, it is a front end to rsync, but it handles the scheduling, authenticating, selection of items to backup, and reporting in a way that a simple script could not.
The Backup System Preference sets which folders in a user's home directory get backed up and when the daily backup occurs. The destination is any server on which the user has an ssh account, which in our environment is a XServe for their floor or office. The Advanced button brings down a panel which lets you configure login information for the destination server, options passed to rsync or other unix tools, exclusions, message formats, and logging. The user's password is stored in the user's KeyChain to provide protection. It also provides realtime viewing of the backup log file while a backup is running and displays status messages to the user letting them know when the last successful backup occurred or if there were any errors.
The command line tool lives inside the Backup System Preference so the whole thing can be installed by just dragging and dropping. The command line tool uses the expect command to pass along the user's password fetched from their KeyChain and to add the server to the client machine's known_host file. This avoids having to use public key authentication between the client machines and the servers. The command line tool monitors the output from the rsync process and collects information that is sent to a Backup Status Server when the backup completes. Backup log files are automatically rotated and additional messages are logged to the system log.
Overall, Backup allows for easy setup with not much more than a server, username and password, but it allows for lots of customization and provides feedback to both the user and to the central support personnel.