Archive Rotation

The shell script in section “Shell Scripts” only allows for seven different archives. For a server whose data doesn't change often this may be enough. If the server has a large amount of data a more robust rotation scheme should be used.

Rotating NFS Archives

In this section the shell script will be slightly modified to implement a grandfather-father-son rotation scheme (monthly-weekly-daily):

  • The rotation will do a daily backup Sunday through Friday.

  • On Saturday a weekly backup is done giving you four weekly backups a month.

  • The monthly backup is done on the first of the month rotating two monthly backups based on if the month is odd or even.

Here is the new script:

#!/bin/bash
####################################
#
# Backup to NFS mount script with
# grandfather-father-son rotation.
#
####################################

# What to backup. 
backup_files="/home /var/spool/mail /etc /root /boot /opt"

# Where to backup to.
dest="/mnt/backup"

# Setup variables for the archive filename.
day=$(date +%A)
hostname=$(hostname -s)

# Find which week of the month 1-4 it is.
day_num=$(date +%d)
if (( $day_num <= 7 )); then
        week_file="$hostname-week1.tgz"
elif (( $day_num > 7 && $day_num <= 14 )); then
        week_file="$hostname-week2.tgz"
elif (( $day_num > 14 && $day_num <= 21 )); then
        week_file="$hostname-week3.tgz"
elif (( $day_num > 21 && $day_num < 32 )); then
        week_file="$hostname-week4.tgz"
fi

# Find if the Month is odd or even.
month_num=$(date +%m)
month=$(expr $month_num % 2)
if [ $month -eq 0 ]; then
        month_file="$hostname-month2.tgz"
else
        month_file="$hostname-month1.tgz"
fi

# Create archive filename.
if [ $day_num == 1 ]; then
	archive_file=$month_file
elif [ $day != "Saturday" ]; then
        archive_file="$hostname-$day.tgz"
else 
	archive_file=$week_file
fi

# Print start status message.
echo "Backing up $backup_files to $dest/$archive_file"
date
echo

# Backup the files using tar.
tar czf $dest/$archive_file $backup_files

# Print end status message.
echo
echo "Backup finished"
date

# Long listing of files in $dest to check file sizes.
ls -lh $dest/

The script can be executed using the same methods as in “Executing the Script”.

It is good practice to take backup media off site in case of a disaster. In the shell script example the backup media is another server providing an NFS share. In all likelihood taking the NFS server to another location would not be practical. Depending upon connection speeds it may be an option to copy the archive file over a WAN link to a server in another location.

Another option is to copy the archive file to an external hard drive which can then be taken off site. Since the price of external hard drives continue to decrease it may be cost affective to use two drives for each archive level. This would allow you to have one external drive attached to the backup server and one in another location.

Tape Drives

A tape drive attached to the server can be used instead of a NFS share. Using a tape drive simplifies archive rotation, and taking the media off site as well.

When using a tape drive the filename portions of the script aren't needed because the date is sent directly to the tape device. Some commands to manipulate the tape are needed. This is accomplished using mt, a magnetic tape control utility part of the cpio package.

Here is the shell script modified to use a tape drive:

#!/bin/bash
####################################
#
# Backup to tape drive script.
#
####################################

# What to backup. 
backup_files="/home /var/spool/mail /etc /root /boot /opt"

# Where to backup to.
dest="/dev/st0"

# Print start status message.
echo "Backing up $backup_files to $dest"
date
echo

# Make sure the tape is rewound.
mt -f $dest rewind

# Backup the files using tar.
tar czf $dest $backup_files

# Rewind and eject the tape.
mt -f $dest rewoffl

# Print end status message.
echo
echo "Backup finished"
date
[Nota]

The default device name for a SCSI tape drive is /dev/st0. Use the appropriate device path for your system.

Restoring from a tape drive is basically the same as restoring from a file. Simply rewind the tape and use the device path instead of a file path. For example to restore the /etc/hosts file to /tmp/etc/hosts:

mt -f /dev/st0 rewind
tar -xzf /dev/st0 -C /tmp etc/hosts