Recycling and keeping backups - Tower of Hanoi management of backups using rsync

Robert Bell Robert.Bell at
Mon Sep 15 23:16:19 MDT 2014

Thanks to Kevin and Paul for responses.

We use a modified Tower of Hanoi scheme (on top of rsync and --link-dest
and recycling) for deciding which backups to keep.

Here is a sample of our holdings for one area:

 	home.20111124.seq.0   set  0
 	home.20130512.seq.512 set 10
 	home.20140203.seq.768 set  9
 	home.20140414.seq.832 set  7
 	home.20140708.seq.896 set  8
 	home.20140815.seq.928 set  6
 	home.20140831.seq.944 set  5
 	home.20140904.seq.948 set  3
 	home.20140908.seq.950 set  2
 	home.20140909.seq.951 set  1
 	home.20140910.seq.952 set  4
 	home.20140911.seq.953 set  1
 	home.20140912.seq.954 set  2
         Found 13 backups as expected up to sequence number 954
         >>>>Marking for recycling home.20140908.seq.950, set number 2

The coverage matches the likelihood of restorations being required - the
coverage tails off exponentially over time.

I found the key to running a Tower of Hanoi scheme is to assign a
sequence number to each backup, from which you can derive a set number.

The dates are for humans - scripts don't have to deal with days of week,
days of months, etc....

We keep one of each set number, except we keep two set ones, and a 
'set 0' as a base set.

With daily backups, any file that has existed for a period of more than
about 1.5*n days in the last 2*n days will be covered, with better
coverage than that for recent files.

A strategy to keep two of every set will easily provide cover for every
file that existed for n days in the last 2*n days.

Kevin: you could use Tower of Hanoi for managing your snapshots...  :-)



Dr Robert C. Bell
HPC National Partnerships | Scientific Computing
Information Management and Technology
T +61 3 9669 8102 Alt +61 3 8601 3810 Mob +61 428 108 333
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