restic backups scheduled with native OS tools
Remote Backups - Just Do It
I wanted to share here a project that I did a few years ago but that is still very relevant. What is very relevant? To have off-site client-side encrypted remote backups of course! In the past I used CrashPlan but at some point the switched business model and got rid of the affordable personal plans. As of this I was reviewing the market with some of my requirements being:
- Client-side encrypted
- Headless, should be possible to run on a server i.e. CLI
- Preferably using open source tools
- Being able to restore to different older revision
- Retention policy configuration to not explode in storage costs
- Bonus: flexibility in storage backend
It did not take long time until I came across restic A remote backup CLI program that excels in effectiveness, security, flexibility and portability.
. After playing around for a bit I quickly settled that this tool will be able to do what I want. I also come across Backblaze B2 as a cheap and reliable storage backend that works well with restic.
Problem solved? Not quite.
There is not built-in scheduler for restic. It’s just a cli tool that you can run like
$ restic backup. I started with exploring the simplest solution which on Unix systems will be to use a cron job A Unix tool (standard) for scheduling background jobs.
. While this works, it does not give you the fullest potential if you happen to be running on a system that uses systemd (like mine, Arch Linux). Some benefits would be better access to logging and being able to define dependencies, access control etc.
As I could not find any ready solutions for this on the Internet, I took this as an opportunity to learn more about systemd services and timers. I got it to work very nicely meeting all my initial requirements and the monthly bill is rather low! I shared the results of how I set this up as a template-tutorial on my GitHub. Check it out here:
I’ve continued to use this setup for several years and it works for me perfectly!
Recently I have worked on this project to include setup for macOS and Windows as wel. For both I use the modern native task scheduler LaunchAgents and ScheduledTask respectivly.
Feel free to contribute like many has already done, directly at the GitHub page with issues or Pull Requests!
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