Personal Backups

January 29, 2017 by Quinlan Pfiffer

This post is mostly about how I do backups, or lack there of. I kind of forgot, but now I don’t have internet at my home so I’m exploring what I’ve got.

The backup server

I’ve got a low-power (sorta) home-server that I use to back stuff up. It has three two-terabyte drives in RAID 5. LVM sits on top of that so I can split things out. This gives me some redundancy when a drive dies, which happens more often than I’d like. Oh well. I have a backup user that runs jobs hourly to back stuff up from the internet.

I’ve got a Digital Ocean box that powers The box has everything on it that I care about, for the most part. IRC is there, a few services, random things. It’s important so I want to back it up.

Backup philosophy bullet point #1 is that you should also have backup snapshots. You don’t just want the one backup. Maybe you want to go back and check data from a year ago, maybe two months ago. Snapshots are good.

Following on this, snapshots become less important over time so maybe you want to purge them. This is where logpurge comes in. A friend of mine wrote it and I love it to death. The idea is that it deletes snapshots with an exponential fall-off as time increses away from today. So you might have every snapshot from the last 24 hours, but only a snapshot once a month from last year, and only one snapshot for the whole of five years ago. Something like that.

Heres the cronjob (run once an hour) that pulls down the entire box:


CURRENT_DATE=$(date +%Y-%m-%d_%H:%M:%S)

m=`time (
    /usr/bin/logpurge -d $LOCATION/corinthian_archives/ -y 2>&1 >/dev/null
    pushd $LOCATION >/dev/null
    rsync -Pavzl ./corinthian/ --exclude={/dev,/proc,/sys,/tmp/*,/run,/lost+found} 2>&1 >/dev/null
    tar -cjf ./corinthian_archives/corinthian_$CURRENT_DATE.tar.bz2 ./corinthian/ 2>&1 >/dev/null
    popd >/dev/null
echo "M is "$m". Curling..."
curl -d "m=$m"

We log purge everything before we take a backup, then we take the server as it currently exists and makes sure that we have an up-to-date, unarchived copy, and then tar everything up and makes an archive out of it.