Backing up Linux servers

Creating backups is one of the essential tasks of a system administrator. Consider how to implement the procedure using the built-in utilities dd and tar on Linux OS families.

Creating a backup

The dd utility is one of the first in its direction.  lacks some of the options that are available on modern analogues, but it is convenient and easy to use. In addition, the original backup file is read by other programs without problems.

Run the utility with the given parameters:

dd if=xxx of=yyy bs=8M conv=,noerror

The syntax is the following. XXX is the name of the drive from which the backup is being made, and YYY is the name of the backup file.

The bs operand specifies the size of the hard disk cache. Let’s set it to 8 MB so that copying is faster. The conv option specifies that are copied bit by bit, skipping read errors.

The tar command is mainly used for creating archives, but it is also used for backups:

tar -cvpzf name1.tar.gz --exclude=name2 --one-file-system folder1

  • name1 is an arbitrary name for the new backup;
  • exclude=name2 means that all folders and files with the same name are excluded from the archive;
  • one file system informs the archiver that we are using only one file system;
  • folder1 is the name of the directory that is backed up by the tar command.

How to recover

To restore from a backup, use the following syntax:

dd if=ZZZ of=QQQ bs=8M conv=sync,noerror

The decoding is as follows. ZZZ is the name of the backup, indicating the path to it. , /mnt/backup/21082019.img, QQQ is the drive to which the backup is being restored.

The archiver uses a slightly different set of commands:

sudo tar -xvpzf XXX -C YYY --numeric-owner

  • XXX is the full name of the archive;
  • YYY is the directory where the unzipped information will be moved.

The last key (–numeric-owner) means that users will also be restored, but not by account name, but by numeric value.


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