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rotate-backups

Simple command line interface for backup rotation

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rotate-backups: Simple command line interface for backup rotation

.. image:: https://travis-ci.org/xolox/python-rotate-backups.svg?branch=master :target: https://travis-ci.org/xolox/python-rotate-backups

.. image:: https://coveralls.io/repos/xolox/python-rotate-backups/badge.svg?branch=master :target: https://coveralls.io/r/xolox/python-rotate-backups?branch=master

Backups are good for you. Most people learn this the hard way (including me). Nowadays my Linux laptop automatically creates a full system snapshot every four hours by pushing changed files to an rsync daemon running on the server in my home network and creating a snapshot afterwards using the cp -al command (the article Easy Automated Snapshot-Style Backups with Linux and Rsync explains the basic technique). The server has a second disk attached which asynchronously copies from the main disk so that a single disk failure doesn't wipe all of my backups (the "time delayed replication" aspect has also proven to be very useful).

Okay, cool, now I have backups of everything, up to date and going back in time! But I'm running through disk space like crazy... A proper deduplicating filesystem would be awesome but I'm running crappy consumer grade hardware and e.g. ZFS has not been a good experience in the past. So I'm going to have to delete backups...

Deleting backups is never nice, but an easy and proper rotation scheme can help a lot. I wanted to keep things manageable so I wrote a Python script to do it for me. Over the years I actually wrote several variants. Because I kept copy/pasting these scripts around I decided to bring the main features together in a properly documented Python package and upload it to the Python Package Index_.

The rotate-backups package is currently tested on cPython 2.7, 3.5+ and PyPy (2.7). It's tested on Linux and Mac OS X and may work on other unixes but definitely won't work on Windows right now.

.. contents:: :local:

Features

Dry run mode Use it. I'm serious. If you don't and rotate-backups eats more backups than intended you have no right to complain ;-)

Flexible rotation Rotation with any combination of hourly, daily, weekly, monthly and yearly retention periods.

Fuzzy timestamp matching in filenames The modification times of the files and/or directories are not relevant. If you speak Python regular expressions, here is how the fuzzy matching works::

Required components.

(?P\d{4}) \D? (?P\d{2}) \D? (?P\d{2}) \D? (

  # Optional components.
  (?P<hour>\d{2}) \D?
  (?P<minute>\d{2}) \D?
  (?P<second>\d{2})?

)?

All actions are logged Log messages are saved to the system log (e.g. /var/log/syslog) so you can retrace what happened when something seems to have gone wrong.

Installation

The rotate-backups package is available on PyPI_ which means installation should be as simple as:

.. code-block:: sh

$ pip install rotate-backups

There's actually a multitude of ways to install Python packages (e.g. the per user site-packages directory, virtual environments or just installing system wide) and I have no intention of getting into that discussion here, so if this intimidates you then read up on your options before returning to these instructions ;-).

Usage

There are two ways to use the rotate-backups package: As the command line program rotate-backups and as a Python API. For details about the Python API please refer to the API documentation available on Read the Docs_. The command line interface is described below.

Command line


.. A DRY solution to avoid duplication of the `rotate-backups --help' text:
..
.. [[[cog
.. from humanfriendly.usage import inject_usage
.. inject_usage('rotate_backups.cli')
.. ]]]

**Usage:** `rotate-backups [OPTIONS] [DIRECTORY, ..]`

Easy rotation of backups based on the Python package by the same name.

To use this program you specify a rotation scheme via (a combination of) the
``--hourly``, ``--daily``, ``--weekly``, ``--monthly`` and/or ``--yearly`` options and the
directory (or directories) containing backups to rotate as one or more
positional arguments.

You can rotate backups on a remote system over SSH by prefixing a DIRECTORY
with an SSH alias and separating the two with a colon (similar to how rsync
accepts remote locations).

Instead of specifying directories and a rotation scheme on the command line you
can also add them to a configuration file. For more details refer to the online
documentation (see also the ``--config`` option).

Please use the ``--dry-run`` option to test the effect of the specified rotation
scheme before letting this program loose on your precious backups! If you don't
test the results using the dry run mode and this program eats more backups than
intended you have no right to complain ;-).

**Supported options:**

.. csv-table::
   :header: Option, Description
   :widths: 30, 70


   "``-M``, ``--minutely=COUNT``","In a literal sense this option sets the number of ""backups per minute"" to
   preserve during rotation. For most use cases that doesn't make a lot of
   sense :-) but you can combine the ``--minutely`` and ``--relaxed`` options to
   preserve more than one backup per hour.  Refer to the usage of the ``-H``,
   ``--hourly`` option for details about ``COUNT``."
   "``-H``, ``--hourly=COUNT``","Set the number of hourly backups to preserve during rotation:
   
   - If ``COUNT`` is a number it gives the number of hourly backups to preserve,
     starting from the most recent hourly backup and counting back in time.
   - Alternatively you can provide an expression that will be evaluated to get
     a number (e.g. if ``COUNT`` is ""7 \* 2"" the result would be 14).
   - You can also pass ""always"" for ``COUNT``, in this case all hourly backups are
     preserved.
   - By default no hourly backups are preserved."
   "``-d``, ``--daily=COUNT``","Set the number of daily backups to preserve during rotation. Refer to the
   usage of the ``-H``, ``--hourly`` option for details about ``COUNT``."
   "``-w``, ``--weekly=COUNT``","Set the number of weekly backups to preserve during rotation. Refer to the
   usage of the ``-H``, ``--hourly`` option for details about ``COUNT``."
   "``-m``, ``--monthly=COUNT``","Set the number of monthly backups to preserve during rotation. Refer to the
   usage of the ``-H``, ``--hourly`` option for details about ``COUNT``."
   "``-y``, ``--yearly=COUNT``","Set the number of yearly backups to preserve during rotation. Refer to the
   usage of the ``-H``, ``--hourly`` option for details about ``COUNT``."
   "``-t``, ``--timestamp-pattern=PATTERN``","Customize the regular expression pattern that is used to match and extract
   timestamps from filenames. ``PATTERN`` is expected to be a Python compatible
   regular expression that must define the named capture groups 'year',
   'month' and 'day' and may define 'hour', 'minute' and 'second'."
   "``-I``, ``--include=PATTERN``","Only process backups that match the shell pattern given by ``PATTERN``. This
   argument can be repeated. Make sure to quote ``PATTERN`` so the shell doesn't
   expand the pattern before it's received by rotate-backups."
   "``-x``, ``--exclude=PATTERN``","Don't process backups that match the shell pattern given by ``PATTERN``. This
   argument can be repeated. Make sure to quote ``PATTERN`` so the shell doesn't
   expand the pattern before it's received by rotate-backups."
   "``-j``, ``--parallel``","Remove backups in parallel, one backup per mount point at a time. The idea
   behind this approach is that parallel rotation is most useful when the
   files to be removed are on different disks and so multiple devices can be
   utilized at the same time.
   
   Because mount points are per system the ``-j``, ``--parallel`` option will also
   parallelize over backups located on multiple remote systems."
   "``-p``, ``--prefer-recent``","By default the first (oldest) backup in each time slot is preserved. If
   you'd prefer to keep the most recent backup in each time slot instead then
   this option is for you."
   "``-r``, ``--relaxed``","By default the time window for each rotation scheme is enforced (this is
   referred to as strict rotation) but the ``-r``, ``--relaxed`` option can be used
   to alter this behavior. The easiest way to explain the difference between
   strict and relaxed rotation is using an example:
   
   - When using strict rotation and the number of hourly backups to preserve
     is three, only backups created in the relevant time window (the hour of
     the most recent backup and the two hours leading up to that) will match
     the hourly frequency.
   
   - When using relaxed rotation the three most recent backups will all match
     the hourly frequency (and thus be preserved), regardless of the
     calculated time window.
   
   If the explanation above is not clear enough, here's a simple way to decide
   whether you want to customize this behavior or not:
   
   - If your backups are created at regular intervals and you never miss an
     interval then strict rotation (the default) is probably the best choice.
   
   - If your backups are created at irregular intervals then you may want to
     use the ``-r``, ``--relaxed`` option in order to preserve more backups."
   "``-i``, ``--ionice=CLASS``","Use the ""ionice"" program to set the I/O scheduling class and priority of
   the ""rm"" invocations used to remove backups. ``CLASS`` is expected to be one of
   the values ""idle"" (3), ""best-effort"" (2) or ""realtime"" (1). Refer to the
   man page of the ""ionice"" program for details about these values. The
   numeric values are required by the 'busybox' implementation of 'ionice'."
   "``-c``, ``--config=FILENAME``","Load configuration from ``FILENAME``. If this option isn't given the following
   default locations are searched for configuration files:
   
   - /etc/rotate-backups.ini and /etc/rotate-backups.d/\*.ini
   - ~/.rotate-backups.ini and ~/.rotate-backups.d/\*.ini
   - ~/.config/rotate-backups.ini and ~/.config/rotate-backups.d/\*.ini
   
   Any available configuration files are loaded in the order given above, so
   that sections in user-specific configuration files override sections by the
   same name in system-wide configuration files. For more details refer to the
   online documentation."
   "``-C``, ``--removal-command=CMD``","Change the command used to remove backups. The value of ``CMD`` defaults to
   ``rm ``-f``R``. This choice was made because it works regardless of whether
   ""backups to be rotated"" are files or directories or a mixture of both.
   
   As an example of why you might want to change this, CephFS snapshots are
   represented as regular directory trees that can be deleted at once with a
   single 'rmdir' command (even though according to POSIX semantics this
   command should refuse to remove nonempty directories, but I digress)."
   "``-u``, ``--use-sudo``","Enable the use of ""sudo"" to rotate backups in directories that are not
   readable and/or writable for the current user (or the user logged in to a
   remote system over SSH)."
   "``-S``, ``--syslog=CHOICE``","Explicitly enable or disable system logging instead of letting the program
   figure out what to do. The values '1', 'yes', 'true' and 'on' enable system
   logging whereas the values '0', 'no', 'false' and 'off' disable it."
   "``-f``, ``--force``","If a sanity check fails an error is reported and the program aborts. You
   can use ``--force`` to continue with backup rotation instead. Sanity checks
   are done to ensure that the given DIRECTORY exists, is readable and is
   writable. If the ``--removal-command`` option is given then the last sanity
   check (that the given location is writable) is skipped (because custom
   removal commands imply custom semantics)."
   "``-n``, ``--dry-run``","Don't make any changes, just print what would be done. This makes it easy
   to evaluate the impact of a rotation scheme without losing any backups."
   "``-v``, ``--verbose``",Increase logging verbosity (can be repeated).
   "``-q``, ``--quiet``",Decrease logging verbosity (can be repeated).
   "``-h``, ``--help``",Show this message and exit.

.. [[[end]]]

Configuration files

Instead of specifying directories and rotation schemes on the command line you can also add them to a configuration file.

.. [[[cog .. from update_dotdee import inject_documentation .. inject_documentation(program_name='rotate-backups') .. ]]]

Configuration files are text files in the subset of ini syntax supported by Python's configparser module. They can be located in the following places:

========= ============================ ================================= Directory Main configuration file Modular configuration files ========= ============================ ================================= /etc /etc/rotate-backups.ini /etc/rotate-backups.d/*.ini ~ ~/.rotate-backups.ini ~/.rotate-backups.d/*.ini ~/.config ~/.config/rotate-backups.ini ~/.config/rotate-backups.d/*.ini ========= ============================ =================================

The available configuration files are loaded in the order given above, so that user specific configuration files override system wide configuration files.

.. _configparser: https://docs.python.org/3/library/configparser.html .. _ini syntax: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/INI_file

.. [[[end]]]

You can load a configuration file in a nonstandard location using the command line option --config, in this case the default locations mentioned above are ignored.

Each section in the configuration defines a directory that contains backups to be rotated. The options in each section define the rotation scheme and other options. Here's an example based on how I use rotate-backups to rotate the backups of the Linux installations that I make regular backups of:

.. code-block:: ini

/etc/rotate-backups.ini:

Configuration file for the rotate-backups program that specifies

directories containing backups to be rotated according to specific

rotation schemes.

[/backups/laptop] hourly = 24 daily = 7 weekly = 4 monthly = 12 yearly = always ionice = idle

[/backups/server] daily = 7 2 weekly = 4 2 monthly = 12 * 4 yearly = always ionice = idle

[/backups/mopidy] daily = 7 weekly = 4 monthly = 2 ionice = idle

[/backups/xbmc] daily = 7 weekly = 4 monthly = 2 ionice = idle

As you can see in the retention periods of the directory /backups/server in the example above you are allowed to use expressions that evaluate to a number (instead of having to write out the literal number).

Here's an example of a configuration for two remote directories:

.. code-block:: ini

SSH as a regular user and use `sudo' to elevate privileges.

[server:/backups/laptop] use-sudo = yes hourly = 24 daily = 7 weekly = 4 monthly = 12 yearly = always ionice = idle

SSH as the root user (avoids sudo passwords).

[server:/backups/server] ssh-user = root hourly = 24 daily = 7 weekly = 4 monthly = 12 yearly = always ionice = idle

As this example shows you have the option to connect as the root user or to connect as a regular user and use sudo to elevate privileges.

Customizing the rotation algorithm


Since publishing `rotate-backups` I've found that the default rotation
algorithm is not to everyone's satisfaction and because the suggested
alternatives were just as valid as the choices that I initially made,
options were added to expose the alternative behaviors:

+-------------------------------------+-------------------------------------+
| Default                             | Alternative                         |
+=====================================+=====================================+
| Strict rotation (the time window    | Relaxed rotation (time windows are  |
| for each rotation frequency is      | not enforced). Enabled by the       |
| enforced).                          | ``-r``, ``--relaxed`` option.       |
+-------------------------------------+-------------------------------------+
| The oldest backup in each time slot | The newest backup in each time slot |
| is preserved and newer backups in   | is preserved and older backups in   |
| the time slot are removed.          | the time slot are removed. Enabled  |
|                                     | by the ``-p``, ``--prefer-recent``  |
|                                     | option.                             |
+-------------------------------------+-------------------------------------+

Supported configuration options
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

- Rotation schemes are defined using the ``minutely``, ``hourly``, ``daily``,
  ``weekly``, ``monthly`` and ``yearly`` options, these options support the
  same values as documented for the command line interface.

- The ``timestamp-pattern`` option can be used to customize the regular
  expression that's used to extract timestamps from filenames. The value is
  expected to be a Python compatible regular expression that must contain the
  named capture groups 'year', 'month' and 'day' and may contain the groups
  'hour', 'minute' and 'second'. As an example here is the default regular
  expression::

    # Required components.
    (?P<year>\d{4} ) \D?
    (?P<month>\d{2}) \D?
    (?P<day>\d{2}  ) \D?
    (?:
        # Optional components.
        (?P<hour>\d{2}  ) \D?
        (?P<minute>\d{2}) \D?
        (?P<second>\d{2})?
    )?

  Note how this pattern spans multiple lines: Regular expressions are compiled
  using the `re.VERBOSE`_ flag which means whitespace (including newlines) is
  ignored.

- The ``include-list`` and ``exclude-list`` options define a comma separated
  list of filename patterns to include or exclude, respectively:

  - Make sure *not* to quote the patterns in the configuration file,
    just provide them literally.

  - If an include or exclude list is defined in the configuration file it
    overrides the include or exclude list given on the command line.

- The ``prefer-recent``, ``strict`` and ``use-sudo`` options expect a boolean
  value (``yes``, ``no``, ``true``, ``false``, ``1`` or ``0``).

- The ``removal-command`` option can be used to customize the command that is
  used to remove backups.

- The ``ionice`` option expects one of the I/O scheduling class names ``idle``,
  ``best-effort`` or ``realtime`` (or the corresponding numbers).

- The ``ssh-user`` option can be used to override the name of the remote SSH
  account that's used to connect to a remote system.

How it works
------------

The basic premise of `rotate-backups` is fairly simple:

1. You point `rotate-backups` at a directory containing timestamped backups.

2. It will scan the directory for entries (it doesn't matter whether they are
   files or directories) with a recognizable timestamp in the name.

   .. note:: All of the matched directory entries are considered to be backups
             of the same data source, i.e. there's no filename similarity logic
             to distinguish unrelated backups that are located in the same
             directory. If this presents a problem consider using the
             ``--include`` and/or ``--exclude`` options.

3. The user defined rotation scheme is applied to the entries. If this doesn't
   do what you'd expect it to you can try the ``--relaxed`` and/or
   ``--prefer-recent`` options.

4. The entries to rotate are removed (or printed in dry run).

Contact
-------

The latest version of `rotate-backups` is available on PyPI_ and GitHub_. The
documentation is hosted on `Read the Docs`_ and includes a changelog_. For bug
reports please create an issue on GitHub_. If you have questions, suggestions,
etc. feel free to send me an e-mail at `peter@peterodding.com`_.

License
-------

This software is licensed under the `MIT license`_.

© 2020 Peter Odding.

.. External references:

.. _changelog: https://rotate-backups.readthedocs.org/en/latest/changelog.html
.. _Easy Automated Snapshot-Style Backups with Linux and Rsync: http://www.mikerubel.org/computers/rsync_snapshots/
.. _GitHub: https://github.com/xolox/python-rotate-backups
.. _MIT license: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MIT_License
.. _per user site-packages directory: https://www.python.org/dev/peps/pep-0370/
.. _peter@peterodding.com: peter@peterodding.com
.. _PyPI: https://pypi.python.org/pypi/rotate-backups
.. _Python Package Index: https://pypi.python.org/pypi/rotate-backups
.. _re.VERBOSE: https://docs.python.org/3/library/re.html#re.VERBOSE
.. _Read the Docs: https://rotate-backups.readthedocs.org
.. _rsync: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/rsync
.. _virtual environments: http://docs.python-guide.org/en/latest/dev/virtualenvs/

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