SSH: Rotate backup shell script to remove directories (old backup files)

Posted on in Categories Backup, Data recovery, Howto, RedHat/Fedora Linux, Security, Shell scripting, Sys admin, Tips, Ubuntu Linux, UNIX last updated October 9, 2007

Most time you have a limited space on the remote SFTP/ SSH backup server. Here is the script that periodically cleanup old backup files from the server i.e it will remove old directories.

Requirements

Script will automatically calculate date from today’s date. By default it will keep only last 7 days backup on server. You can easily increase / decrease this limit. In order to run script you must meet the following criteria:

  • Remote SSH server with rm command execution permission
  • SSH Keys for password less login (see how to setup RSA / DSA keys for password less login)
  • Accurate date and time on local system (see how to synchronize clock using ntpdate ntp client)
  • Remote backup directory must be in dd-mm-yyyy or mm-dd-yyyy format. For example daily mysql backup should be stored in /mysql/mm-dd-yyyy format.

Sample Script Usage

Run the script as follows:
./rot.backup.sh 7 /mysql "rm -rf"
Where,

  • 7 : Remove last 7 days files
  • /mysql : Base directory to clean up. If todays date is 9/Oct/2007, it will remove last 7 days directory /mysql/02-10-2007, /mysql/01-10-2007, …. /mysql/26-09-2007, /mysql/25-09-2007. It means script will only keep last 7 days backup on remote sftp / ssh server.
  • rm -rf : Command to run on directory structure

Sample Shell Script

Install following script:

#!/bin/bash
if [ "$#" == "0" ];then
  echo "$0 upper-limit path {command}"
  exit 1
fi
### SSH Server setup ###
SSH_USER="vivek"
SSH_SERVER="nas.nixcraft.in"
START=7
DIR_FORMAT="%d-%m-%Y" # DD-MM-YYYY format
#DIR_FORMAT="%m-%d-%Y" #MM-DD-YYYY format
## do not edit below ##
LIMIT=$( expr $START + $1 )

## default CMD ##
CMD="ls"
SSH_PATH="."

[ "$3" != "" ] && CMD="$3" || :
[ "$2" != "" ] && SSH_PATH="$2" || :

DAYS=$(for d in $(seq $START $LIMIT);do date --date="$d days ago" +"${DIR_FORMAT}"; done)
for d in $DAYS
do
  ssh ${SSH_USER}@${SSH_SERVER} ${CMD} ${SSH_PATH}/$d
done

Run above script via cron tab (cronjob):
@daily /path/to/rot.ssh.script 7 "/html" "rm -rf"
@daily /path/to/rot.ssh.script 7 "/mysql" "rm -rf"

Posted by: Vivek Gite

The author is the creator of nixCraft and a seasoned sysadmin and a trainer for the Linux operating system/Unix shell scripting. He has worked with global clients and in various industries, including IT, education, defense and space research, and the nonprofit sector. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+.

6 comment

  1. Yannick,

    Thanks for quick one liner 🙂

    Just a quick note many backup services only allows limited set of commands in chrooted ssh jail. Many time find and other advanced commands are not available so you need to craft something like this

  2. Hi
    Pls suggest any one liner or script for my probelm.
    I need to tremove the files which are 14 days old but need to skip those folder which are having any single file with latest date.
    Need to skip whole folder which contain any single latest file with all the old files also which that particular folder contain.

    my script is like this
    find . -mtime +14 -exec rm -f {} ;
    find . -type d -mtime +14 -exec rmdir {} ;
    perl -MFile::Find -e”finddepth(sub{rmdir},’.’)”
    #find . -depth -type d -empty -exec rmdir {} ;

    Thanks
    Reetika Gupta

  3. I need to remove 1 month older files from a sftp server [email protected], where
    i don’t have access for ssh in the sftp server.

    Please advise

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