Insider Tips: Backup with Rsync and SSH



It is often inefficient to fire up a tape drive whenever you need to back up files or restore a backup. The Rsync tool pushes critical files to a second computer, where you can access them easily.

A full backup on separate media is a vital part of any backup strategy, however, the task of restoring backups from tapes, CDs, or DVDs is often too time-consuming. It sometimes makes sense to also perform online backups. There are a few ready-to-run solutions for online backup, such as Rsnapshot [2]. This month’s Admin Workshop will discuss a scripted approach that uses Rsync and SSH. Cooperation The practical Rsync tool, combined with SSH, takes care of transporting your backup data across the network. These tools solve two problems for admins. First, they save bandwidth, as Rsync will compress your data if asked to do so. Second, SSH ensures that sniffers on the network will be unable to grab your backups off the wire. An additional advantage of Rsync is that it transfers only the changes across the network and merges them with the last full backup on the target machine, thus providing the simplicity of a full backup with the efficiency of an incremental backup.