Incremental backups using rsync with bonus backup to amazon glacier storage

I’ve been using Crashplan for backups for 3 years and highly recommend their service. If you want set and forget backups of your important stuff, go for it. But for a few reasons I’ve switched to running my own incremental backup system, namely:

  • The cheap 3 year deal I signed up with ran out, so to continue I’d have to pay $9 a month.
  • Crashplan doesn’t work very well with encrypted home directories in linux (ecryptfs) being unmounted at boot time, and deletes your home directory from the backup.
  • To get around this you generally set Crashplan to backup /home/.ecryptfs instead of /home/user, but in the process you miss out on Crashplan’s ability to restore arbitrary files (you have to restore entire backup to pull out one file).
  • Crashplan’s attempts to compress and encrypt data that is already encrypted wastes cpu time and makes it take longer.
  • Storage on amazon glacier is cheap as chips – 1 cent per GB per month

For these reasons I set about finding a new backup system and stumbled on Rubel’s snapshot method. It works a treat but wasn’t easily configurable or installable, and doesn’t backup to amazon glacier, so I set about tinkering with it. I’ve released the end result of this tinkering as lincremental. Lincremental does incremental backups that you can access anytime, and if you are using ecryptfs like me, just do an ecryptfs-recover-private when you want to pull out a file from backup. As a bonus it also has a script to upload the latest daily backup to amazon glacier once every 28 days (configurable). I had planned on making incremental rather than wholesale backups to glacier but ran out of time to devote to the project.

It seems to be working fine and dandy for me, but it needs a lot more testing. Don’t blame me if you lose all your stuff. Use at your own risk and check the issues on github.

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