Utility to schedule and run duplicacy backup via the command line
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duplicacy-util: Schedule and run duplicacy via CLI

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This repository contains utilities to run Duplicacy on any platform supported by Duplicacy.

Table of contents:

What is duplicacy-util?

In short, duplicacy-util is a utility to run Duplicacy backups. While there are a number of other tools available to do similar things, duplicacy-util has a number of advantages:

  • It is completely portable. It's trivial to run on Windows, Mac OS/X, Linux, or any other platorm supported by the Go language. You schedule it, and duplicacy-util will perform the backups. Note that Duplicacy itself is written in Go, so if you can use Duplicacy, you can use dupliacy-util.
  • It is self-contained. Copy a single executable, and duplicacy-util is fully functional. It is easy to install and easy to upgrade, and you don't need to install packages to make it work properly.
  • It is "set and forget". I use duplicacy-util to send E-Mail upon completion. Then I run scripting on my E-Mail server (I use gmail) to move successful backups to the trash. This means that I can review backups at any time but, if I don't, the mail messages are deleted after 30 days. If any backup fails, it's left in your inbox for you to review. See management of E-Mail messages for details.
  • It is completely configurable with configuration files. You can have one backup that is backed up to a single server while other backups are backed up to multiple servers.
  • It is designed to be easy on resources. For example, any number of complete logs are saved, but older logs are compressed to save space. Very old logs are aged out and deleted.
  • duplicacy-util won't step on itself. You can run multiple backups concurrently, but duplicacy-util will skip a backup if it's already backing up a specific repository. Thus, you can schedule jobs as often as you would like knowing that if a backup of a repository is still running, a second job won't try to back up the same data again.

Note that duplicacy-util is a work in progress. The short term to-do list includes:

  • Create a checkpoint mechnanism. If Duplicacy fails for whatever reason, then duplicacy-util should resume the backup where it left off, even if you back up to many different storages.
  • While designed for my usage, I would very much like feedback to see what others would like. If a new feature makes sense, I'm happy to add it.

Build Instructions

Note that binaries for common platforms are provided. See releases on GitHub for the distributions. However, if you wish to build duplicacy-util yourself, follow instructions in this section.

Building duplicacy-util from source is easy. First install Go itself. Once Go is installed and $GOPATH is set up, run the following commands from the command line to get dependencies:

go get github.com/djherbis/times
go get github.com/mitchellh/go-homedir
go get github.com/spf13/viper
go get github.com/theckman/go-flock
go get gopkg.in/gomail.v2

Finally, download duplicacy-util itself:

cd $GOPATH/src
git clone https://github.com/jeffaco/duplicacy-util.git

Once Go is installed and dependencies are downloaded, to build, do:

cd $GOPATH/src/duplicacy-util
go build

This will generate a duplicacy-util binary in the current directory with the appropriate file extension for your platform (i.e. duplicacy-util for Mac OS/X or Linux, or duplicacy-util.exe for Windows).

How do you configure duplicacy-util?

duplicacy-util works off of two (or more) configuration files:

  • A global configuration file (that controls common settings), and
  • A repository-specific file to control how the repository should be backed up.

You can have multiple repository-specific configuration files (if you have many repositories to back up).

Configuration file formats are very flexible. Configuration files can be in JSON, TOML, YAML, HCL, or Java properties config files (configuration files are managed with Viper). All examples for configuration files will be in YAML, but you are to free to use a format of your choosing.

Note that the extension of configuration files can vary based on the format of the file. Sample configuration files are YAML files, and thus have a YAML extension. Change the extension if you wish to use JSON or some other format.

By default, dupliacy-util stores all files in its storage directory, which is $HOME/.duplicacy-util by default. Note that, in this document, $HOME refers to the users home directory (~/ on Mac OS/X and Linux, or /Users/<username> on Windows).

The storage directory is determined in a variety of ways:

  1. First and foremost, if the -sd parameter is specified, this will define the location of the storage directory, and duplicacy-util files will be stored directly in this directory. In this way, the directory where duplicacy-util stores its files could be called anything.

  2. If -sd is not specified on the command line, then the value of environment variable "$HOME" will be evaluated and will be used as a location to look for directory .duplicacy-util.

  3. If environment variable "$HOME" is unmodified (or not normally defined on your system), then it is expected that directory .duplicacy-util exists in the users home directory.

Global configuration file

The global configuration file is called duplicacy-util.yaml, and is searched in the storage directory.

The following fields are checked in the global configuration file:

Field Name Purpose Default Value
duplicacypath Path for the Duplicacy binary program "duplicacy" on your default path ($PATH)
lockdirectory Directory where temporary lock files are stored Storage directory, or $HOME/.duplicacy-util
logdirectory Directory where log files are stored Storage directory, or $HOME/.duplicacy-util/log
logfilecount Number of historical log files that should be stored 5

Duplicacy-util supports notifying you when backups start, are skipped (if already running), succeed, and fail. Unless you're planning to only be running dupliacy-util interactively, it's strongly recommended to configure notifications.

For now only email notifications are supported, but more notification channels will be implemented. The following config snippet shows how to subscribe to specific notifications:

  onStart: []
  onSkip: ['email']
  onSuccess: ['email']
  onFailure: ['email']
Email notifications
Field Name Purpose Default
fromAddress From address (i.e. from-user@domain.com) None
toAddress To address (i.e. to-user@domain.com) None
serverHostname SMTP server (i.e. smtp@gmail.com) None
serverPort Port of SMTP server (i.e. 465 or 587) None
authUsername Username for authentication with SMTP server None
authPassword Password for authentication with SMTP server None
acceptInsecureCerts Accept insecure or self-signed server certificates false

Notes on email fields:

  • If you don't wish to store your email authentication password in the global configuration file, you can set environment variable DU_EMAIL_AUTH_PASSWORD to your email server password. If this environment variable is not defined, then we'll check the global configuration file for the password.
  • If you are using a local email server, you are likely using a self-signed certificate. If that's the case, you should set acceptInsecureCerts to true so duplicacy-util won't reject the server certificate.

Here is an example how to setup email notifications:

  onStart: []
  onSkip: ['email']
  onSuccess: ['email']
  onFailure: ['email']

  fromAddress: "Donald Duck <donald.xyzzy@gmail.com>"
  toAddress: "Donald Duck <donald.xyzzy@gmail.com>"
  serverHostname: smtp.gmail.com
  serverPort: 465
  authUsername: donald.xyzzy@gmail.com
  authPassword: gaozqlwbztypagwt

E-Mail subjects from duplicacy-util will be of the following format:

Notification Subject Line
Start duplicacy-util: Backup started for configuration <config-name>
Skip duplicacy-util: Backup results for configuration <config-name> (skipped)
Success duplicacy-util: Backup results for configuration <config-name> (success)
Failure duplicacy-util: Backup results for configuration <config-name> (FAILURE)

You can filter on the subject line to direct the E-Mail appropriately to a folder of your choice. See Management of E-Mail Messages, for E-Mail configuration hints.

Local configuration file

The local configuration file (or repository configuration file) defines how to back up a specific repository. This file must be specified on the command line (discussed later). The repository-specific configuration file may take lists of storages if you back up to multiple cloud providers. In the simple case, a configuration file can short, such as this:

repository: /Volumes/Quicken

    -   name: b2

    -   storage: b2
        keep: "0:365 30:180 7:30 1:7"

    -   storage: b2

This configuration shows that:

  • You have a repository, stored in /Volumes/Quicken,
  • That is backed up to storage named b2,
  • You should prune storage b2 with 0:365 30:180 7:30 1:7. See prune documentation for more information on how to specify keep tag.
  • When doing a check operation, you should check revisions in storage b2.

You might wonder why the same storage is specified multiple times. This is evident if you back up to multiple cloud providers.

If you back up to multiple cloud providers, the configuration file may be more involved:

repository: /Volumes/Quicken

    -   name: b2
        threads: 10
    -   name: azure-direct
        threads: 5

    -   from: b2
        to: azure
        threads: 10

    -   storage: b2
        keep: "0:365 30:180 7:30 1:7"
    -   storage: azure
        keep: "0:365 30:180 7:30 1:7"

    -   storage: b2
        all: true
    -   storage: azure
        all: true

The new concept here is the copy section. This defines repositories that should be copied from one storage to another, but using a pseudo storage name (azure-direct) to avoid downloading a lot of data from b2. In this example, we'll back up to both b2 and azure-direct, but then we'll use a duplicacy copy operation to be sure that the two storages are identical when the backup is complete.

Because there are multiple storages involved, we want to prune each storage and check each storage for consistency.

A repository configuration file consists of a few repository-wide settings and sections that define operations. The repository-wide settings are:

Field Name Purpose Default Value
repository Location of the repository to back up None

Sections in the repository configuration files consist of:

Section Name Purpose
storage Storage names to back up for duplicacy backup operations*
copy List of storage from-to pairs for duplicacy copy operations
prune List of storage names to prune for duplicacy prune operations*
check List of storage names to check for duplicacy check operations*

Note that * denotes that this section is mandatory and MUST be specified in the configuration file.

The storage list contains a list of repositories to back up to. Note that the list may be as long as required. duplicacy-util will continue loading storages until no additional storages are found. Each storage should be differentiated with the prior storage with a - character (to signify a new section). This is conistent with all sections in the repository configuration file.

Fields in the storage section are:

Field Name Purpose Required Default Value
name Storage name to back up Yes None
threads Number of threads to use for backup No 1
vss Enable Volume Shadow Copy service No false
vssTimeout the timeout in seconds to wait for the Volume Shadow Copy operation to complete No None
quote Specify additional duplicacy parameters (for advanced users only) No None

Fields in the copy section (if one exists), are:

Field Name Purpose Required Default Value
from Storage name to copy from Yes None
to Storage name to copy to Yes None
threads Number of threads to use for copy No 1
quote Specify additional duplicacy parameters (for advanced users only) No None

Fields in the prune section are:

Field Name Purpose Required Default Value
storage Storage name to prune Yes None
keep Retention specification Yes None
threads Number of threads to use (requires duplicacy CLI v2.1.1 or later) No 1
all Should all storages be pruned No true
quote Specify additional duplicacy parameters (for advanced users only) No None

Note that by default pruning is done for all snapshot IDs. If you wish to only prune particular snapshots, you should specify all: false and use the quote option to specify the snapshot ID to prune, like the following:

    -   storage: b2
        keep: "0:365 30:180 7:30 1:7"
        all: false
        quote: "-id mysnapshot"

Finally, fields in the check section are:

Field Name Purpose Required Default Value
storage Storage name to check Yes None
all Should all revisions be checked No false
quote Specify additional duplicacy parameters (for advanced users only) No None

Note that all sections support a "quote" option. This is for advanced usages only, and you should only use this in conjunction with -v -d (verbose debug). This allows you to specify additional parameters to pass to duplicacy commands. For example, if you needed the duplicacy check command to specify the -fossils -resurrect options, you could do so by including something like:

quote: "-fossils -resurrect"

in the backup configuration file for section check.

Once you have the configuration files set up, running duplicacy-util is simple. Just use a command like:

duplicacy-util -f quicken -a

This says: Back up repository defined in quicken.yaml, performing all operations (back up/copy, prune, and check).

Output from this command is similar to:

17:58:25 Using global config: /Users/jeff/.duplicacy-util/duplicacy-util.yaml
17:58:25 Using config file:   /Users/jeff/.duplicacy-util/quicken.yaml
17:58:25 duplicacy-util starting, version: <dev>, Git Hash: <unknown>
17:58:25 Rotating log files
17:58:25 Beginning backup on 07-17-2018 17:58:25
17:58:25 Backing up to storage b2 with 10 threads
17:58:32   Files: 345 total, 823,165K bytes; 1 new, 7,964K bytes
17:58:32   All chunks: 150 total, 890,186K bytes; 5 new, 8,086K bytes, 3,092K bytes uploaded
17:58:32   Duration: 7 seconds
17:58:32 Backing up to storage azure-direct with 5 threads
17:58:33   Files: 345 total, 823,165K bytes; 1 new, 7,964K bytes
17:58:33   All chunks: 150 total, 889,922K bytes; 5 new, 8,086K bytes, 3,092K bytes uploaded
17:58:33   Duration: 1 second
17:58:33 Copying from storage b2 to storage azure with 10 threads
17:58:37   Copy complete, 110 total chunks, 3 chunks copied, 107 skipped
17:58:37   Duration: 4 seconds
17:58:37 Pruning storage b2
17:58:44 Pruning storage azure
17:58:45 Checking storage b2
17:58:47 Checking storage azure
17:58:48 Operations completed in 23 seconds

A complete log of the backup is saved in the logdirectory setting in the global configuration file.

Command Line Usage

The best way to get command line usage is to run duplicacy-util with the -h option, as follows:

duplicacy-util -h

This will generate output similar to:

Usage of ./duplicacy-util:
  -a    Perform all duplicacy operations (backup, copy, purge, check)
  -b    Perform duplicacy backup operation (deprecated; use -backup -copy)
        Perform duplicacy backup operation
  -c    Perform duplicacy check operation (deprecated; use -check)
        Perform duplicacy check operation
        Perform duplicacy copy operation
  -d    Enable debug output (implies verbose)
  -f string
        Configuration file for storage definitions (must be specified)
  -g string
        Global configuration file name
  -m    (Deprecated) Send E-Mail with results of operations (implies quiet)
  -p    Perform duplicacy prune operation (deprecated; use -prune)
        Perform duplicacy prune operation
  -q    Quiet operations (generate output only in case of error)
  -sd string
        Full path to storage directory for configuration/log files
        (Deprecated: Use -tn instead) Send a test message via E-Mail
        Test notifications
  -v    Enable verbose output
        Display version number

Exit codes from duplicacy-util are as follows:

Exit Code/Range Meaning
0 Success
1-2 Command line errors
500 Operation from duplicacy command failed
6200 Run skipped due to existing job already running

In the event of an error, a notification will be sent with details of the error. Note that 200-201 operations are not considered fatal from an notification perspective, but the fact that the backup was skipped is indicated.

Getting started with duplicacy-util

The duplicacy-util program has no knowledge of Duplicacy repository passwords. As a result, if Duplicacy prompts for a password, duplicacy-util won't be able to respond to the prompt, and the backup will fail (with suitable output in the log file).

To set up the backup for initial use, there is documentation that @mattjm worked up that is pretty good. That said, these are the basic steps I followed to initialize backing up Quicken, one of my repositories:

duplicacy init -e -storage-name b2 quicken b2://<bucket-name>
duplicacy add -e -copy b2 azure quicken azure://<bucket-name>      # Copy
duplicacy add -e azure-direct quicken-direct azure:<bucket-name>   # Direct

duplicacy backup -storage b2 -stats -threads 10
duplicacy backup -storage azure-direct -stats -threads 5
duplicacy copy -from b2 -to azure -stats -threads 10

This initialized the repository and set it up for backup to both Backblaze and Azure. It also performed the first backup, taking care of final password prompts. After this, duplicacy-util should function properly, and Duplicacy should not prompt for passwords.

You should study the Duplicacy Wiki carefully, the documentation is quite good. It explains how Duplicacy works and various commands that Duplicacy supports.

Management of E-Mail Messages

NOTE: This discussion is specific to Gmail, but if you are using a different mail server, you can almost certainly use these ideas in your specific scenerio.

In order to send E-Mail notifications, you must first have configured a number of fields in the Global configuration file. These fields depend on what E-Mail server you are using. I use Google's gmail service, and will define my usage here.

It is recommended that you use an application specific generated password that can be generated in the Gmail Security Center. This works around two-factor authentication or other issues that may create problems. Note that the password stored in the global configuration file is not encrypted at this time. On a shared system, you should set permissions of this file appropriately, or use environment variable DU_EMAIL_AUTH_PASSWORD to override the value stored in the global configuration file.

Once you set up the E-Mail configuration appropriately, you can test it with a command like: ./duplicacy-util -tn. This will trigger a failure notification for all configured notification channels (e.g E-Mail).

It's recommended that you use Gmail filtering so that failed backups are visable in your inbox while successful backups are set aside for deletion. To do this, first create a folder named Backup Logs. After the folder is created, then create a filter rule as follows:

Matches: from:(from-user@gmail.com) to:(to-user@taltos.com) subject:(duplicacy-util: Backup results for AND (success))
Do this: Skip Inbox, Mark as read, Apply label "Backup Logs", Never send it to Spam

After this is done, generate a mail test and verify that you have a failed test message in inbox and a success test message in Backup Logs.

To catch if backups that are not running, and to clean up successful backups from folder Backup Logs, it is recommended that you create a small Google Apps Script to do these actions. In this way, if you do nothing, successful backup logs are deleted after 30 days automatically, and failures go to your inbox, where you can see them and act upon them.

Here is one such Google Apps Script named duplicacy-util.gs:

function duplicacy_utils() {
  var threads = GmailApp.search('label:"Backup Logs"');
  var foundBackup = 0;

  // Backups from duplicacy-util with no errors get filtered to label "Backup Logs" via Gmail
  // settings. This makes them easy for us to find and iterate over.
  // Backups are scheduled at least as often as this script runs. Thus, if nothing was run when this
  // script runs, then we get active notification that something is wrong with the backup process.
  // Naming conventions with duplicacy-util are formatted like:
  //   "duplicacy-util: Backup results for configuration test (success)" (for successful backups), or
  //   "duplicacy-util: Backup results for configuration test (FAILURE)" (for failed backups)
  // Check to see that it starts with "duplicacy-util..." and ends with " (Success)", and if so, count
  // the message.

  for (var i = 0; i < threads.length; i++) {
    var subject = threads[i].getFirstMessageSubject();
    if (subject.indexOf('duplicacy-util: Backup results for configuration') == 0 && subject.indexOf(' (success)') != -1)

  if (foundBackup == 0)
                       'WARNING: No duplicacy-util backup logs files received',
                       'Please investigate backup process!');

Be certain to replace <user> with your Gmail username and <domain> with your Gmail domain in the script above.

After the script is set up, you can set up Google to run the script automatically on any schedule you wish.

Scheduling duplicacy-util to Run Automatically

Scheduling duplicacy-util to run backups automatically (emailing the results automatically) finishes the job. Now backups run unattended, automatically, relieving you of the job of doing backups yourself.

Backup scheduling differs by operating system. I provide hints here, although there are lots of diferent ways to schedule jobs automatically.

Scheduling for Linux

Linux has a built-in rich scheduler, cron. The cron utility can run jobs as a user or as root; the choice is yours. These instructions assume that you will be running jobs as your user since you'll generally be backing up your user files.

There's a lot of help available for cron. Wikipedia help is a good start for the average user. For purposes of example, you can do something like the following:

crontab -l > crontab
echo "0 1 * * * /Users/jeff/Applications/duplicacy-util -f quicken -a -m -q" >> crontab
crontab < crontab

The first command will dump your existing crontab entries to a file named crontab. This file will likely be empty if you haven't used crontab before.

The second command will add an entry to your crontab file: Run duplicacy-util for Quicken, e-mailing results, at 1:00 AM every morning. See Wikipedia for help in understanding the time format.

Since crontab stores entries internally, the final command will reload your saved crontab entries from your private crontab file.

Scheduling for Mac OS/X

On recent versions of Mac OS/X (macOS High Sierra as of the time of this writing), cron ships with Mac OS/X. So that is an option.

However, on Mac OS/X, the preferred way to add a timed job is to use launchd. Each launchd job is described by a separate file. This means that you can manage launchd timed jobs by simply adding or removing a file.

There are two ways to create these files:

  1. By hand; the file format is documented in launchd documentation, or
  2. By using an automated tool. Lingon is one such tool that makes the job of creating launchd files very simple. While Lingon is commercial, it's very inexpensive. I created the quicken job in seconds using Lingon:
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC "-//Apple//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN" "http://www.apple.com/DTDs/PropertyList-1.0.dtd">
<plist version="1.0">

This plist file will run job quicken twice a day: at 3:00 AM and at 3:00 PM, mailing the results of the backup job.

Scheduling for Windows

Windows includes a build-in rich scheduler called the Windows Task Scheduler. The Windows Task Scheduler is a GUI (graphical) program designed to make scheduling of repetitive tasks easy to perform.

You can find help in numerous forms with a WWW search, including articles and YouTube videos stepping you through the process.