Thanks for the guide! I'm going to use this to backup my server.
My two cents: If you use 7zip (or any other program with LZMA compression), you'll save an important amount of space.
To install 7zip, run
It's not natively supported by tar, so you'd have to 7zip it separately:
apt-get install p7zip
tar cvpf backup.tar --exclude=/proc --exclude=/lost+found --exclude=/backup.tar --exclude=/mnt --exclude=/sys /
7za a backup.tar.7z backup.tar
rm -f backup.tar
Uncompressed tarball: 729 MiB
Compressed with gzip: 298 MiB
Compressed with bzip2: 278 MiB
Compressed with 7zip: 229 MiB
That's only three quarters of the gzip compressed tarball!