[Gllug] backing up an Ubuntu system.

Alain Williams addw at phcomp.co.uk
Fri Dec 2 11:21:39 UTC 2011

On Thu, Dec 01, 2011 at 03:45:59PM +0000, Gary Pocklington wrote:
> Hello,
> I was just wondering if someone could help/advise on backup up an 
> Ubuntu/Linux system?
> I would like to be able to do two things. Backup the system and data 
> separately. As an example before any updates are applied to the system I 
> would like to secure the system before applying. So, that I can restore 
> if there any problems. I would also like to backup my own personal data 
> on a regular basis.
> There seems to be options in the Ubuntu software repository but it does 
> not really clarify for me what I should be backing up (in the case of 
> the system) or how best to do this.

Ease of use, time taken, data storage taken ... are the trade offs.
Also: where to, multiple versions, how rapidly does the data change ?

You say that you want to take a snapshot before you apply an update.
Do you mean the first update or before each update ?
The trouble is that you can copy config files, etc, but just restoring them
and an earlier version of programs is not likely to work - all of the time.
Part of the reason is that different sorts of update can change things all
over the place so you might need to take an image of the whole machine.

I tend to keep a careful note of all administrative changes that I make
to a machine and keep all config files under version control - so that
I can always go back if something screws -- but that means doing sysadmin
at the command line -- is that what you do ?

If you keep a copy of what is in /etc that will do most of what you want,
but you need to restore intelligently.

Your own personal data is much easier, just backup /home/
The question is where to ... a tar file of /home is easy, but needs
quite a lot of space, differential rsync is good if most of your files
don't change very often - and you have somewhere else to copy them to.

I have a few packages that I have written at the URL below. Packaged
for CentOS (not got round to debian yet) but you can download the .tar.gz


Alain Williams
Linux/GNU Consultant - Mail systems, Web sites, Networking, Programmer, IT Lecturer.
+44 (0) 787 668 0256  http://www.phcomp.co.uk/
Parliament Hill Computers Ltd. Registration Information: http://www.phcomp.co.uk/contact.php
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