Cloud Backup - accu-org/essential-tools GitHub Wiki

Amazon S3

###Amazon S3

Mimic: Amazon S3 is one of the things we use. It’s pretty simple to use and works a bit like rsync, so you get incremental backups.

The command line is something like this:

aws s3 sync /home s3://my-s3-bucket --delete

(The --delete option will delete from your s3 bucket anything deleted from /home since the last invocation (otherwise nothing gets deleted from your s3 bucket.))


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Dropbox keeps your files safe, synced, and easy to share.

Cyclops: Dropbox does seem to offer some Linux support, where you can mount a synchronised directory on your machine, then sym-link the stuff you want backed up into that. Alternately, you can create an account with them and just upload files directly on-demand - this uses a 3rd party script ( ) - which is essentially the Duplicity-and-friends solution above.


Duplicity backs directories by producing encrypted tar-format volumes and uploading them to a remote or local file server.

Iceman: I'm seriously considering [Duplicity on] Amazon S3, as it looks pretty cheap for what I need and allows setting up of rotation rules. Duplicity supports in directly, which is nice. I'm still reading through the S3 docs, but it looks pretty well thought out and supported, and given that it's Amazon, the service is unlikely to go away unexpectedly (which is a slight worry with cloud services).

Polaris: I've used Duplicity/Amazon S3 for about 10 years now, with well over 100Gb of data, doing daily/weekly/monthly backups from a handful of servers. Never had a single problem. Servers with cPanel interface automatically, otherwise I have a handful of scripts which simplify things for me.


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Xavier: I originally thought I'd found what I was looking for in IDrive, as they apparently offer incremental backups with full Linux CLI support. Getting their scripts working takes a bit of fiddling, but it's not too bad. Unfortunately (and I only found this out after buying a 2-year sub), their Linux support doesn't include full synchronisation - files deleted from my server after they've been backed up remain in the backup forever (or until manually deleted). Obviously, this breaks the backup idea, since at best, I'd restore the system with (for example) most of the email everyone deleted over the last year. Apparently, if you're running Windows or OSX (or Android, natch), the IDrive backup stuff can properly handle synchronisation; it's just Linux that's SOL.


rsnapshot is a filesystem snapshot utility based on rsync. rsnapshot makes it easy to make periodic snapshots of local machines, and remote machines over ssh.

Phoenix: I use rsnapshot to back up my Linux box. It does proper incremental backups. I have it set up to keep 7 daily backups, 5 weekly backups and 6 monthly backups. Rsnapshot uses a combination of rsync and GNU cp's hard links to use the lowest bandwidth and the smallest disk space. I either run it from cron or on-demand when I shut the machine down (it's a workstation, not a server). Rsync can copy over the wire and can use compression; GNU cp uses hard links to avoid storing unchanged files.

Changeling: I am another heavy rsnapshot user. I use it to backup around a dozen systems, both local more remote. Admittedly I am using a linux machine for the storage, and not a cloud repository. Each machine is configured independently for which directories are backed up, and the step grouping with age. Typically I have seven daily, four weekly, and three monthly iterations. Since rsnapshot is designed to use hard links for unchanged files, it is reasonably compact. There should only be one copy of any unique path/file.

Caveats: to use rsnapshot you really need to run it (and the underlying rsync) on the storage system. The initial backup, and large incremental changes are going to be bandwidth restricted. I work in a university environment and I have gigabit connections.

You need to plan your cron tasks with an eye to the amount of work each process requires to keep the bandwidth under control. Processor load is not that high.

It is not going to work with pure cloud storage. A cloud server, yes. bear in mind that rsnapshot does not encrypt the backup.


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Angel: The free shell account service I've started using for my email has something they call the metaarray, which currently allows storage of up to 200 GB per user. It's available to members who donate $36 US a year or more (meta-arpa members). You get normal NetBSD shell access via ssh / scp / etc. (or maybe that was CentOS on that machine -- most of their machines are NetBSD) as well as use of owncloud.

In terms of whether SDF will remain around, it's existed since the late 1980s.


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Havok: I use SpiderOak for my laptop and that works very well also. They've been around for a while and do offer full encryption built in. I actually have unlimited space up there, which is pretty cool.


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Beast: Symform give you 10GB free, and then you can donate free space/bandwidth to their network to get more space, you get 50% back, so if you donate 1TB, you can use 500GB of backup space. They basically slice up & encrypt your data and dump each slice on 96 computers belonging to other users, with 64 slices being your data and 32 being redundant slices, so it can cope with 33% of the PCs going down at once (and it will self-heal if PCs do go down).

(They basically make their money by selling the 25% of your space that is not used to people who want to pay money rather than donate space, so it should be a sustainable model which is important when looking for cheap backup space).

It's quite a good way of getting lots of 'free' backup space - if you have the bandwidth you could get a 2TB USB drive for £70 and then get 1TB of backup 'for free' (until the USB drive fails, when you'd have to replace it)

It does run on Linux, as well as Windows & Macs, and they support multi-device sync as well as plain backup.