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[rdiff-backup-users] Resuming failed backups

From: Josh Nisly
Subject: [rdiff-backup-users] Resuming failed backups
Date: Tue, 10 Mar 2009 11:22:19 -0500
User-agent: Thunderbird (X11/20090105)

I have a number of clients backing up over slow internet links. Because of the inherent flakiness of public internet connections, it can be frustrating when the client dumps a large set of new data in a folder that is being backed up. If the backup fails partway through, rdiff-backup regresses the destination to the last good backup, throwing away any data the client has uploaded. Since rdiff-backup now supports resuming initial backups, this seems like the Achilles' heel of rdiff-backup over slow connections.

I believe strongly in rdiff-backup's idea of consistent "snapshots"; I don't think that it should tie off a partial backup. Instead, I think it should simply keep the uploaded files outside of the backup set and use them in the next backup.

Here is what I propose: when regressing a repository prior to a backup, rdiff-backup takes all "new" files (files that have been added during the failed backup) and moves them to a temporary location inside of the rdiff-backup-data folder. Then, when the backup runs, if it encounters a new file, it first checks to see if the file exists in this temporary location, and if it does, it diffs against that file (or moves it to the target location, then diffs; I don't know which would be easier). At the end of any backup run, rdiff-backup empties out this folder.



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