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Q. How do I make remote backups under Linux? I’ve CentOS 5 Linux server located in remote data center and I’d like to backup it to local or another server?
A. Both Linux / UNIX come with handy tools to make secure remote backups. You can use tool called rsync for automating remote backups of your Linux, UNIX, Windows server, Mac OS X and BSD systems. rsync is a program with many more options and uses the rsync remote-update protocol to greatly speed up file transfers when the destination file is being updated.
Let us say you would like to backup files from remote server called server.nixcraft.in and directory called /home/vivek to local directory called /backup, type the command as follows on local system:
$ rsync -avz -e ssh email@example.com:/home/vivek/ /backup
You need to supply password for vivek user.
You can also skip few files from backup. Let us say you don’t want to backup all C source code file, enter:
$ rsync --exclude '*.cpp' -avz -e ssh firstname.lastname@example.org:/home/vivek/ /backup
SSH always prompts for a password. To automate process via a shell script you need to remove password using SSH key i.e. generate passphraseless keys, enter (type at local system):
$ ssh-keygen -t dsa
When asked for to enter passphrase, just press [ENTER] key twice. Now copy public key to remote server:
$ scp ~/.ssh/id_dsa.pub email@example.com:.ssh/authorized_keys
Now you can login without a password. For more information see – howto setup SSH with DSA public key authentication and RSA key authentication for password less login.
Now create a simple shell script as follows:
$ vi backup.sh
rsync --exclude '*.cpp' --exclude '*.log' -avz -e ssh firstname.lastname@example.org:/home/vivek/ /backup
Setup executable permission using chmod command:
$ chmod +x backup.sh
Use cron to command to backup remote server:
$ crontab -e
Make a backup everyday:
Save and close the file.