safekeep - Client/server backup script
safekeep --server [-q] [-v] [--noemail] [--force] [-c file] [--cleanup] <clientid>*
safekeep --keys [-q] [-v] [--noemail] [-c file] [-i file] [--status] [--print] [--deploy] <clientid>*
safekeep --list [-q] [-v] [--noemail] [-c file] [--increments] [--parsable-output] [--sizes] [--changed=<time>] [--at-time=<time>] <clientid>*
safekeep --client [--cleanup]
safekeep -h | -V
SafeKeep is a client/server backup script which enhances the power of rdiff-backup with simple configuration and use.
SafeKeep can work in server mode, client mode, SSH key management mode or list mode.
In server mode, SafeKeep parses a set of configurations files which
defines a set of backup clients. For each backup client, SafeKeep
connects to the client host over SSH (using a public key authentification
system previously set up using
safekeep --keys --deploy), and launches
safekeep --client onto the client host. The client does the real backup
and sends the data over SSH to the SafeKeep server which stores it in
the specified location.
In client mode, SafeKeep does a few setup steps, depending on the
client configuration (database dump, LVM device snapshot), then backups
the client data using
rdiff-backup, and then cleanups the state
(removes the database dumps, deactivates the LVM snapshots)
Note that the client mode of SafeKeep should never be invoked manually,
this mode is meant to be used only by the server mode of SafeKeep.
The only exception to this is if run with the
--cleanup option, which
is used to remove LVM snapshots and mounts created by Safekeep, after a
crash or some other failure, without a connection to the server.
Normally this cleanup would be performed through the server command
safekeep --server --cleanup.
The SSH key management mode is a helper mode for deploying or verifying the setup of the SSH authentification keys.
In list mode, SafeKeep lists the details of existing archives. This is
basically an interface to the relevant options for
In server, keys management and list mode, you can restrict the operation to a specific set of clients by listing the desired client IDs as arguments. If no client ID is given, SafeKeep will operate over all known clients.
Each mode accepts a few options as described below.
Selects the server mode
Selects the client mode. This should never be invoked manually, the clients are started automatically by the server on the client machines using SSH.
Selects the SSH key management mode
Selects the list mode
Please note that you must always specify an operation mode. Earlier
versions used do default to
--server mode, but that proved to work
out poorly in practice.
Specifies the configuration file location.
If not specified at all, SafeKeep will default to
/etc/safekeep/safekeep.conf, or optionally in
~/.safekeep/safekeep.conf for non-root users, if it exists.
Simply using this default is the recommended usage.
Selects the help mode, in which safekeep prints out the online help and exits.
Selects the version mode, in which safekeep prints out the version number and exits.
Decreases the verbosity level. Can be specified more than once.
Increases the verbosity level. Can be specified more than once.
Disables the sending of email, no matter what the settings within the configuration file.
--force option to
rdiff-backup, allowing it
to overwrite the backup directory metadata. This option
is potentially dangerous, and should only be used if the
backup directory becomes corrupt, and
logs tells you to use this option.
Remove LVM snapshots and mounts left by Safekeep after a
crash or other failure. This will run also run the standard
cleanup processes, such as the removal of an DB dumps, and
forces a consistency check of the
directory. This is the prefered cleanup procedure and can
be run with no danger of corrupting the system if there is
nothing to cleanup.
Remove LVM snapshots and mounts left after a crash or other
failure from the local system. Unlike the equivalent
option, it does not do any other of the standard cleanups.
This option should only be used when it is not possible to
refer to the server, for example, when the network connection
to the server is no longer available.
ssh(1) to use FILE for the identity (private key) in
RSA/DSA authentication. If not specified, ssh(1) will use its
default identity files.
Display the key status for the clients. It is implied if no other option is specified. In effect this option prints the steps that will be taken when the keys are deployed to the client.
Display the authorization keys for the clients. This is useful in
case you want to manually copy it into the client’s
~/.ssh/authorized_keys file. This option is seldom useful.
Deploy the authorization keys on the clients.
--list-increments option to
list the number and date of partial incremental backups for
the given or all clients. This is the default list option.
--parsable-output option to
generate output in a format that is easily parsed by other
programs. This currently only works with the
--list-increment-sizes option to
to list the total size of all increment and mirror files by
time for the given or all clients. Note, this may take some time.
--list-changed-since option for TIME to
to list the files changed since TIME for the given clients.
TIME is passed directly to
rdiff-backup. Note, this may take
some time and generate considerable output. Also, unlike
rdiff-backup the is no option to select sub-directories.
--list-at-time option for TIME to
to list the files in the archive that were present at the
given time for the given clients. Note, this may take some
time and generate considerable output. Also, unlike
rdiff-backup the is no option to select sub-directories.
Normally the configuration files are placed in the
directory, or optionally in
~/.safekeep/backup.d/ for non-root users,
from where they will get picked up automatically by SafeKeep.
Each backup client is described by a configuration file in XML format.
The minimum configuration file is:
This will simply backup all relevant files (excluding temporary files,
caches, etc) from the client with the address
A more realistic example:
In this case, SafeKeep will dump all databases managed by PostgreSQL,
snapshot the disk via LVM, and proceed to backup
/var, while excluding some unneeded files and
directories. Older data will be retained for 10 days.
For full reference documentation of the configuration format, see safekeep.backup(5).
Normally the client IDs are generated automatically from the configuration
filenames without the extension. E.g. if a configuration file is named
my_workstation.conf, the client ID becomes
my_workstation. For more
information on this topic, see safekeep.backup(5).
safekeep(1) server needs to access the clients in order to conduct
the backup. To that end, it establishes two ssh(1) pipes: one for control,
and one for data. To simplify the deployment of the keys,
has a key deploy mode.
When deploying keys using the built-in key management functionality,
safekeep(1) needs to be invoked as the user under which it will function
as a server. By default, that user is safekeep. For extra security,
you can not login into that account, so you have to invoke
safekeep(1) is built around
rdiff-backup(1), it doesn’t have any
built-in restore capabilities. It simply relies on
rdiff-backup to perform
To do so, you just need to know the directory where the data is actually
stored. In a typical installation, for a box configured via the file
/etc/safekeep/backup.d/mybox.backup, the data will be stored under
/var/lib/safekeep/mybox/. Please refer to
safekeep.backup(5) for more
information on this matter.
Once you have determined where the data will be stored (we’ll continue
the example above), all you have to do is run
You will be able to find more information on the restore procedure in
rdiff-backup(1) man page.
It is important to note that the
exclude directives that
control file selection are matched in the order they appear in the
configuration file, and the first one that matches dictates whether
the file will be included or excluded. As a result, you have to
add the more specific ones first, or the more generic specifications
will always win. For example:
will NOT do what you expect, because the
/home will match before
/home/joe, and thus all files under
/home will be included.
The correct way is to flip the two around
Please see safekeep.backup(5) for more information on file selection.
rdiff-backup(1), safekeep.conf(5), safekeep.backup(5)
Written by Dimi Paun <email@example.com> and Stelian Pop <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
Last updated 2016-07-05 13:52:10 AEST