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Automated Linux Server Backup Tips and Tricks

  • March 9, 2010
  • By Charlie Schluting
Charlie Schluting
We've all seen countless articles, blog and forum posts explaining how to back up a server with rsync and other tools. While I've cringed when people talked about using non-scalable methods, there actually is a place for quick and dirty backup mechanisms. Small companies running just a few virtual machines in the cloud, or even enterprises with test instances, may wish for a quick and effective backup.

Here is a great way to backup a one-off server, including its MySQL database. To function best with hosted virtual machines, it is important to not store backup data. The script below compresses all data and ships it across the wire to a backup server in real time, implementing bandwidth throttles to avoid pummeling the remote server. This will work on any Linux server, especially a recent Debian install.

Considerations

In Unix-land, we often worry about how various archival tools will handle different types of files. Will sparse files be preserved, or will the archive tool copy all the zeroes? Will permissions (and extended ACLs) be preserved? Will hardlinks result in two copies? All good questions, and all handled fairly well with both rsync and tar using the right options, as we will see in a moment. Next is the issue of incremental backups. The great thing about centrally-managed backup software is that it generally handles incremental backups quite well. Scripting something yourself requires you do this manually, but not to worry, I've got a few tricks to show you...

Read the rest of this Linux server backup story at Enterprise Networking Planet
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