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Simple versioned TimeMachine-like backup using rsync

07/03/2016 Comments off

time machine rsyncUsing TimeMachine with rsync: Over many years, I have dealt with scripts that do backup versioning, i.e., maintain multiple backups. Due to their flexibility, they have been complex to understand and configure. Here is a simple rsync-based tool with a different focus: The experienced systems administrator who wants to keep his system’s complexity down.

Backup in action: TimeMachine and rsync

It consists of a simple script, which you can call rsync-backup.sh and store wherever you like, e.g., in /usr/local/sbin. I will use these names and paths in the examples.

#!/bin/sh
# Usage: rsync-backup.sh <src> <dst> <label>
if [ "$#" -ne 3 ]; then
    echo "$0: Expected 3 arguments, received $#: $@" >&2
    exit 1
fi
if [ -d "$2/__prev/" ]; then
    rsync -a --delete --link-dest="$2/__prev/" "$1" "$2/$3"
else
    rsync -a                                   "$1" "$2/$3"
fi
rm -f "$2/__prev"
ln -s "$3" "$2/__prev"

During normal operation, it boils down to three simple statements:

  1. rsync with --link-dest: Copying the contents of <src> to <dst>/<label>, reusing the files from the previous backup with hard links ((The non---link-dest rsync does not use --delete to reduce the risk of accidentally deleting files when called with wrong parameters))
  2. rm and ln: Remember this backup location for the next incremental backup.

Voilà – it doesn’t get much easier than that!

Of course, there is something missing: The actual backup policy. It is separated into cron, which I consider an advantage. Using this separation of duties, many policies can be implemented very easily and composed in a modular way:

Create daily backups  for every weekday

You might know this from automysqlbackup or autopostgresqlbackup: A backup is created every day and overwritten after 7 days. This is achieved by adding the following file to /etc/cron.daily/:

#!/bin/sh
/usr/local/bin/rsync-backup.sh /home /data/backup `date +%A`

All your user’s files are copied daily to /data/backup, named after the current day, overwritten weekly.

Daily backups for a month

Sure, this is easy as well, by putting this with a descriptive name into/etc/cron.daily/:

#!/bin/sh
/usr/local/bin/rsync-backup.sh /home /data/backup `date +Day-%d`

Lire la suite…