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Borg Backup

Borg is a simple python tool to create backups. It has many benefits over other classical backup solutions (like rsync):

  • Data encryption
  • Deduplication
  • Compression (no, lz4, zlib or lzma)
  • Backups can be mounted using fuse

I've been playing around with borg a while and it seems to be simply awesome. See the good documentation for more: Borg - Quick Start


Most Linux Distributions have it already in their official repository. For Debian Jessie, you can install it from the backport-repository:

 # apt-get -t jessie-backports install borgbackup


The configuration on the Backup-Server is simple, since the clients connect to the server using SSH. So you might just want to setup a singe borg-user and restrict the clients a little bit.

In my case, I also set the home-directory of the borg-user to my Backup drive.

Creating a Backup Repository

First of all, every client needs a repository. The repository can be encrypted but in this case, we'll leave it unencrypted:

 # borg init user@backupserver:reponame

This is what I use (f.e.):

 # borg init nold@backup:myclient

Creating Backups

Again, since borg has many options (f.e. for compression or debugging) we'll keep it simple. See the Docs for more: Borg - Creating Backups

 # borg create -v --stats nold@backup:myclient::myhomebackup-2016-01-30 /home/nold

Here is a more advanced example using compression:

borg create -v --stats -C lzma,5 nold@backup:myclient::root-2016-01-30 / \
               --exclude /proc \
               --exclude /media \
               --exclude /home \
               --exclude /mnt \
               --exclude /sys \
               --exclude /run \
               --exclude /dev \
               --exclude /tmp 

So this will backup root, compress it using lzma with a grade of 5 and exclude all directories we don't want.

Getting Infos about Backups

Listing Backups

# borg list nold@backup:myclient
root-2016-01-27                      Wed, 2016-01-27 17:58:53
root-2016-01-28                      Thu, 2016-01-28 16:44:11
root-2016-01-29                      Fri, 2016-01-29 06:32:56
root-2016-01-31                      Sun, 2016-01-31 09:44:47
root-2016-02-01                      Mon, 2016-02-01 10:37:38
root-2016-02-02                      Tue, 2016-02-02 17:37:02
root-2016-02-03                      Wed, 2016-02-03 06:25:04

Show informations about Backup

# borg info nold@backup:myclient::root-2016-02-03

Name: root-2016-02-03
Fingerprint: 16a993dd867ab8a2054aaed8c5...
Hostname: myclient
Username: root
Time: Wed, 2016-02-03 06:25:04
Command line: /usr/bin/borg create -v --stats -C lzma,5 nold@backup:myclient::root-2016-02-03 / --exclude /proc --exclude /media --exclude /home --exclude /mnt --exclude /sys --exclude /run --exclude /dev --exclude /tmp --exclude /var --exclude /opt
Number of files: 811818

                       Original size      Compressed size    Deduplicated size
This archive:               19.00 GB              7.37 GB            427.63 kB
All archives:              176.27 GB             71.77 GB             13.08 GB

                       Unique chunks         Total chunks
Chunk index:                  679137              7662253

So here you can see the “Borg-Magic”! This backup only has a size of 427.63kB. And all Backups just use 13GB, even if their original size would be more than 10 times of it.


Backup is important, but mostly even more important is getting it recovered.

So this will recover /etc to the local directory we're currently in:

# pwd
# borg extract nold@backup:myclient::root-2016-02-03 etc

# ls

So if we want to recover the whole root-filesystem:

# pwd

# borg extract nold@backup:myclient::root-2016-02-03
linux/borg/borg.txt · Last modified: 2016/03/30 10:56 by Nold