How to use rsync for Ghost or Acronis type backup

Madison Kelly linux at
Sun Jul 31 22:50:44 GMT 2005

Jack wrote:
> Hi folks,
>  I'd like to make a full backup up of my server, about as near to a Ghost or
> Acronis type of backup as is possible using programs on the server itself.
> What type of rysnc script can I use for it?
> I know Linux has some pseudo directories and files that are not part of a
> backup, will I have to exclude from the backup, or can rsync automatically
> handle them?
> Does rsync have option files that can contain directories and or file masks to
> be excluded from the backup?
> Jack

   This might not be approprite for the list, so if not, anyone say and 
I'll keep it off list. :p

   If you are interested in early-beta testing a GPL'ed linux backup 
program that uses 'rsync' as the back end I think my new program might 
be along the lines of what you are looking for. Again though, it is 
early beta so if this is a production server skip this.

   Basically it's a perl/postgres web app that uses hard drives for 
storage instead of tapes (generally via USB/Firewire). I have a list of 
directories that the program skips automatically ('/proc', '/sys', 
'/tmp', etc) so it avoids the virtual file systems through that. It 
handle's mounting and unmounting partitions as needed and has a built-in 
file browser that lets you select what directories and files in a given 
partition you want to backup or exclude.

   Once a backup job runs it re-scans the source drive to see if any 
files have been added or removed (and updates the info on the rest), 
build's a text file to use with rsync's '--files-from' switch and then 
performs the copy. It can be scheduled so you don't have to manually run 
the backup job if you don't want it to (though you can run a job 
manually if or when you wish).

   It also has a built in search engine which is pretty helpful to see 
what destination drives have a given file and when those files where 
last modified (which saves plugging in, looking through and unplugging 
each destination drive). All the data is stored in the DB so the drive 
doesn't have to be connected or online to scan it.

   At this point the program backs up data reliably each night (I use it 
on my Debian/Sarge P3 1GHz, 512MB laptop). I've been developing it full 
time for about a year and a half now. What isn't there yet is 
comprehensive and updated documentation, there is a bug in the restore 
script which I hope to fix this week (it's my current highest priority) 
and so smaller features like converting the rest of the text you see on 
the screen into the languague function (when it's done it will be very 
easy to translate the program into other languages).

   Again, if you need a mature program, this isn't it. If though you'd 
like to help out an open-source backup program and have a little 
patience, let me know. Same goes for anyone else who might be 
interested, too.

   I hope this wasn't off topic. :p If it is, feel free to e-slap me.


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