rsync as a backup solution

Sylvain COUTANT scoutant at
Tue May 7 00:28:01 EST 2002

I must confirm. I'm currently using rsync to backup several Gb of dynamic files every night. It works. It just prints a message to stderr for unreadable files (those who were moved/deleted between the file list creation and the real file copy).
I get the backup report on my email every day and I have no problem related to rsync.

About the "--delete" option. I have to use it. Not using it would be a serious pain for me. The largest part of the files I backup are related to databases entries. Each file gets as its name the table index it refers to. If I never suppress files, I'd have millions of old files around ... Our config : A Linux dedicated backup server with 2x80 Gb disks RAID mounted (160 Gb reiserfs filesystem). Every night, rsync backups to this server. Then, we tar.gz the files locally and output the result on tape. We keep daily tapes for two weeks, weekly tapes for 15 weeks and monthly tapes forever (this ensure we insert new tapes at regular interval).
If it happens we have a problem with the tape-of-the-day, we can get back to the previous day and only lose one day worth of data. But, one day is already far too much ! We're thinking about slightly modifying this by only using the "--delete" option once a week. Meaning we will backup lots of unusefull content during the week and then fully resync the content once a week (after the weekly backup has been done).

- Sylvain

----- Original Message ----- 
From: Dave Dykstra 
To: John Madden 
Cc: eric.echter at ; rsync at 
Sent: Monday, May 06, 2002 11:09 PM
Subject: Re: rsync as a backup solution

Rsync shouldn't exit completely in that situation, is that what you're
saying it did?  I do expect that it would fail to copy files that
are in the process of being modified as they're copied, but it should
continue on to the rest.

- Dave

On Mon, May 06, 2002 at 10:22:12AM -0500, John Madden wrote:
> I'd suggest you proceed with caution.  I had implemented rsync as a backup
> solution until I found out that it dies if you try to backup files that
> get moved.  (So if a user moves/deletes a file while your backup is
> running, it'll fail.)
> It is, however, great for static files.
> > I would like to get some opinions on a backup method using rsync.  I
> > already have a script written to mirror the data over to a backup
> > script from a cron that is run every night.  I've also been tempted to
> > use the "--delete" option to keep everything up to date on the backup
> > server.  However, this is probably a bad idea in the event my data is
> > deleted from the "/home" directory (just as an example) before the cron
> > runs.  When the cron runs and this isn't noticed before hand, the
> > "/home" directory on the backup server will probably be whiped out as
> > well, correct?  So, do all you that use rsync as a backup method not
> > use the "--delete" option, or do you keep maybe a separate weekly
> > backup safe somewhere else.  Of course, we do have our data center
> > making tape backups of the backup server as well, but let's assume we
> > didn't.  Thank you!
> -- 
> John Madden
> UNIX Systems Engineer
> Ivy Tech State College
> jmadden at
> -- 
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