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An organized set of scripts for backing up projects data to a remote server
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backup-tools is an organized set of tools developed here in EDC for being used by projects for backing up their data to a remote server.


backup-tools is not intended to be a one-size-fits-all solution, but rather, implements the common needs of projects. Should a project need more features or customization, they should create their own branch of backup-tools and add any extra functionality they require. Ideally, all branches should later be merged to the base backup-tools.


Backup-tools will be installed on the real live production servers. A config file will be created for each project, telling backup-tools about the project directories and databases that will need to be backed up. When the appropriate backup-tools script (called is invoked, it will create a backup for each of the configured projects and then send this backup to a remote server where the backups will be archived and rotated. An e-mail is sent to project owners informing them of the success or failure of the backup process.


Installation should be performed by, or coordinateed with, the administrator of the remote backup server.

  1. Copy the backup-tools package somewhere in the system. e.g. To get it directly from git into /usr/local/backup-tools:

    $: git clone /usr/local/backup-tools

  2. Make sure the following files under backup-tools are executable: toolbox/*.sh

  3. Copy backup-tools/projects-conf/defaults.template to backup-tools/projects-conf/defaults and provide ALL parameters. They are all documented inline.

  4. Optional: If you want to encrypt your backup using a GPG key, then create a gpg key using the command :

    $: gpg --gen-key

    If you simply want to encrypt your backup with a passphrase, you do not need to create gpg keys, just provide the passphrase in backup-tools/ projects-conf/defaults

  5. Configure a passwordless SSH key for the user which backup-tools cron job will run under. This key must be authorized on the remote backup server.

    You must also approve the remote backup server SSH Fingerprint. You can do this by manually SSH-ing to the remote server at least once from the user account under which backup-tools will run in future. If that account is root, then as root, you will need to SSH like this:

    $: ssh remote-backup-user@remote-backup-host

    SSH will prompt your to verify and accept the fingerprint. Answer Yes.

  6. Setup rotation of local backup entries. There will be local backup entries of your project(s), you can safely remove them as they have been synced to the remote backup server or you may wish to keep them for added safety.

    For this step, you just need to take a decision. The next step will address how to accomplish the rotation or automatic cleanup of synchronized backup entries.

  7. Add a cronjob to run backup-tools/ as frequent as you require and perform cleanup or rotation after it has synchronized the newly created backups.

    (a) If you decided to cleanup all backups (i.e. not keep any backups locally), then your cron command should look like:

       backup-tools/ && rm -rf /path/to/backup/*

    (b) If you decided to keep and rotate all backups, then your cron command should look like:

       backup-tools/ && backup-tools/utilities/ <local-backup-dir> <days-to-keep>
     Consult appendix 1 below for how to use utility which comes
     with backup-tools.

    By default, will execute projects sequentially. If you wish to pause for a given number of seconds between each project, you can do that by passing the number of seconds to In the following example, backup-tools will sleep for 15 minutes between each project:

    $: backup-tools/ 900

  8. Optional: For added security, you should secure the projects-conf/defaults file by making it readable by the owner only:

    $: chmod 600 backup-tools/projects-conf/defaults

    Now backup-tools has been installed and is ready to be used. The section "ADD A PROJECT" below describes how to configure it to backup a given project.


Any project owner can add a project under backup-tools to be backed up on the remote server. No action from the remote backup administrator is required.

  1. Create the configuration files under backup-tools/projects-conf. You should do so by copying the existing*.template file. Example:

    $: cp projects-conf/defaults.template project-conf/defaults $: cp projects-conf/project.template projects-conf/

  2. Open the files and adjust ALL parameters.

  3. Make the files executables. Example:

    $: chmod +x projects-conf/defaults $: chmod +x projects-conf/

  4. Verify that it works as intended by executing:

    $: ./ projects-conf/

    You are done!


backup-tools contains a utility for rotating backups, which can be used on the local and/or remote backup server.

The following are instructions for using it:

  1. Open utilities/ and configure the KEEP parameter to the number of days you wish to keep.

  2. Add a cron job to run utilities/ <backup-dir> every day.

    You are done!

  3. Optional: For better security, you may add the following restrictions to the authorized SSH keys in authorized_keys(8) file:


    It should be prepended to each key. Consult the authorized_keys(8) man page for more details.

    Then make sure that backup-tools/utilities/ is executable:

    $: chmod +x backup-tools/utilities/

    This will restrict the commands this key can use to rsync only. For more information, check authorized_keys(8) man page.


backup-tools/utilities/ is a utility for rotating backup files. It assumes a certain directory schema which is the same that backup-tools generates so they are both compatible. expects 2 parameters:

1. Path to the backup directory: The same as LOCAL_BACKUP_DIRECTORY in your
   backup-tools/projects-conf/defaults file

2. Number of days to keep: The number of days to keep backups for. Note that
   if there are multiple backups per day they will be all treated as one day

To use it, you simply need to add a cron job to run every day:

$: backup-tools/utilities/ <local-backup-dir> <days-to-keep>

On the project server, you just need to execute the above after the backup have been sent to the remote server. Check section 4.7.b for more details.

On the remote server, you should execute it daily using a separate cron job.


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