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allas-backup: nearly a self-service backup

CSC does not provide a backup service as a free service for its customers. In this chapter, we describe a tool called allas-backup that can be used to make backup copies of files and directories, locating at CSC supercomputers or at users own computer, to Allas.

However, this tool does not provide an actual backup service – the data is stored in only one location and one bucket in Allas. This bucket can be removed by an authenticated user with a single command, irreversibly erasing all backups.

The allas-backup tool provides an easy-to-use command line interface for the restic backup tool. allas-backup automatically creates a project-specific backup repository in the Allas storage service at CSC and uses it for cumulative backups.

Unlike data upload tools such as a-put, s3cmd put or rclone copy, allas-backup (or actually, the restic program) stores the imported data as a collection hash. This feature enables effective storage of datasets that include small changes. Thus different versions of a dataset can be stored so that in the case of a new dataset version, only the changes copared to the previous version needs to be stored.

In order to use this tool, first open a connection to Allas:

module load allas
allas-conf
A connection remains open for eight hours.

BACKUP OPERATIONS

Operations allas-backup can be used for:

  • allas-backup <file_or_directory> or allas-backup add <file_or_directory>
    Adds a new backup version (snapshot) of a file or directory in the backup repository.

  • allas-backup list
    Lists the snapshots saved in the repository. The option -last lists only the latest versions of snapshots.

  • allas-backup files <snapshot_id>
    Lists the files the snapshot includes.

  • allas-backup find <query>
    Finds the snapshots that contain a file or directory matching the query term.

  • allas-backup restore <snapshot_id>
    Retrieves the data of the snapshot in the local environment. By default, stored data is restored to the local directory. Other locations can be defined with the -target option.

  • allas-backup delete <snapshot_id>
    Deletes a snapshot in the backup repository.

Last edited Wed Mar 18 2020