Automatic backups with rsync and Anacron

Monday, 5 July 2004, 1:38 PM EST

The thing about backups is that they can just be a pain. Everyone knows just how important they are, but very few people actually take the time to perform proper backups. Even after they have felt the pain of losing all those important files.

In this article I am going to show you how to quickly set up your computer for simple, hassle-free, and transparent backups using only rsync and cron (or Anacron). The premise is simple: every night your computer will make an automatic mirror of all the files you wish to backup, and at chosen intervals these mirrors will be archived and kept for a specified period of time.

Before you get our hands dirty on actual implementation you need to design your own backup policy. In section 3 I discuss what a backup policy should and should not be. I will then introduce the necessary background information on rsync and cron separately. Finally, I will put it all together leaving you with a simple but effective backup regime.

By Barry O'Donovan at Linux Gazette.

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