A monkey that makes sure you have snapshots of all your EBS volumes
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Latest commit 225c566 Feb 10, 2016


Backup Monkey

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A monkey that makes sure you have a backup of your EBS volumes in case something goes wrong.

It is designed specifically for Amazon Web Services (AWS), and uses Python and Boto.

This script is designed to be run on a schedule, probably by CRON.


usage: backup-monkey [-h] [--region REGION]
                     [--max-snapshots-per-volume SNAPSHOTS] [--snapshot-only]
                     [--remove-only] [--verbose] [--version]
                     [--tags TAGS [TAGS ...]] [--reverse-tags]
                     [--label LABEL]
                     [--cross-account-number CROSS_ACCOUNT_NUMBER]
                     [--cross-account-role CROSS_ACCOUNT_ROLE]

Loops through all EBS volumes, and snapshots them, then loops through all
snapshots, and removes the oldest ones.

optional arguments:
  -h, --help            show this help message and exit
  --region REGION       the region to loop through and snapshot (default is
                        current region of EC2 instance this is running on).
                        E.g. us-east-1
  --max-snapshots-per-volume SNAPSHOTS
                        the maximum number of snapshots to keep per EBS
                        volume. The oldest snapshots will be deleted. Default:
  --snapshot-only       Only snapshot EBS volumes, do not remove old snapshots
  --remove-only         Only remove old snapshots, do not create new snapshots
  --verbose, -v         enable verbose output (-vvv for more)
  --version             display version number and exit
  --tags TAGS [TAGS ...]
                        Only snapshot instances that match passed in tags.
                        E.g. --tag Name:foo will snapshot all instances with a
                        tag `Name` and value is `foo`
  --reverse-tags        Do a reverse match on the passed in tags. E.g. --tag
                        Name:foo --reverse-tags will snapshot all instances
                        that do not have a `Name` tag with the value `foo`
  --label           LABEL
                        Only snapshot instances that match passed in label
                        are created or deleted. Default: None.  Selected all
                        snapshot. You have the posibility of create a different
                        strategies for daily, weekly and monthly for example.
                        Label daily won't deleted label weekly. E.g.
                          backup-monkey --max-snapshots-per-volume 6 --label daily
                          backup-monkey --max-snapshots-per-volume 4 --label weekly
                        You save 6 + 4 snapshots max. instead 4 or 6
  --cross-account-number CROSS_ACCOUNT_NUMBER
                        Do a cross-account snapshot (this is the account
                        number to do snapshots on). NOTE: This requires that
                        you pass in the --cross-account-role parameter. E.g.
                        --cross-account-number 111111111111 --cross-account-
                        role Snapshot
  --cross-account-role CROSS_ACCOUNT_ROLE
                        The name of the role that backup-monkey will assume
                        when doing a cross-account snapshot. E.g. --cross-
                        account-role Snapshot


Create snapshots of all EBS volumes in us-east-1:

backup-monkey --region us-east-1

Delete snapshots of EBS volumes in us-west-1 where a volume has more than 5 snapshots:

backup-monkey --region us-west-1 --max-snapshots-per-volume 5 --remove-only


You can install Backup Monkey using the usual PyPI channels. Example:

sudo pip install backup_monkey

You can find the package details here: https://pypi.python.org/pypi/backup_monkey

Alternatively, if you prefer to install from source:

git clone git@github.com:Answers4AWS/backup-monkey.git
cd backup-monkey
python setup.py install


This project uses Boto to call the AWS APIs. You can pass your AWS credentials to Boto can by using a .boto file, IAM Roles or environment variables. Full information can be found here:


Run test

python -m unittest -v tests.unit.test_exceptions
python -m unittest -v tests.unit.test_tags


Make no mistake. This script WILL delete snapshots. This script WILL create snapshots, which can cost you money. There really are no warranties or guarantees. For costs, refer to http://aws.amazon.com/ec2/pricing/

Source Code

The Python source code for Backup Monkey is available on GitHub:


About Answers for AWS

This code was written by Peter Sankauskas, founder of Answers for AWS - a company focused on helping businesses learn how to use AWS, without doing it the hard way. If you are looking for help with AWS, please contact us.


Copyright 2013 Answers for AWS LLC

Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (the "License"); you may not use this file except in compliance with the License. You may obtain a copy of the License at

http://www.apache.org/licenses/LICENSE-2.0 Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software distributed under the License is distributed on an "AS IS" BASIS, WITHOUT WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, either express or implied. See the License for the specific language governing permissions and limitations under the License.