Rsync Vault Manager

by Michael Peek


RVM is an archive manager that uses rsync to manage backups of multiple clients across multiple logical partitions (vaults). It has some features that some other rsync-based backup schemes lack, such as being written in C++, needing no scripts or other programs than rsync and any binaries on which rsync depends (such as SSH), the ability to manage multiple instances of rsync connections to separate clients in parallel, the ability to use multiple logical partitions (vaults) in a configurable fashion for purporses of redundancy and added reliability, and the use of hard links for files that have not changed from one archive to the next.


So, does anyone out there actually use RVM? If so, drop me a line and let me know a few details, and I'll add you to this list. (Feel free to include snippets of configuration file(s) and/or pictures, if you feel so inclined.)

2006-07-19 :: Michael Peek (RVM creator) :: Network Backup
We use RVM for our daily network backups. Backups are done via SSH for workstations that I manage, and via read-only NFS for privately-owned machines.

For our first attempt at building a disk-based backup machine:
  • Case: An RM4024 from with a Maxtor-compatible PATA backplane.
  • Motherboard: An X5DP8-G2 from SuperMicro
  • CPU(s): 2 x Xeon 2.0GHz
  • RAID: 2 x 7500-12 3ware
  • HDDs: 24 x 256GB (RAID), 1 x 40GB for OS

This motherboard has two built-in network ports, which I've bonded together into one virtual interface for higher throughput.

The 3ware cards work wonderfully. We're running Debian/Linux with a 2.6 kernel, and the 3ware cards are supported right out of the box. The only thing we had to do extra was to download the monitoring daemon and command-line tools from 3ware's site. They're provided as pre-compiled binaries.

The only thing I regret about building this machine was deciding to go with PATA drives. If I had known whether SATA cards would work with Linux as easily as PATA, then I would have gone with SATA cards, backplane, and drives. At it is, since I've gone and built the thing with PATA drives, I have a case that's too cramped for all those PATA cables, and I'm locked in to buying Maxtor-only PATA drives. Not that there's anything wrong with that for now, but it means we'll have issues down the road when it comes time to upgrade. To the right is a picture of the cramped interior. There are supposed to be a total of eight fans, one for each of the circular holes in the metal cross-plane. I had to take most of them out to make room for the cables.

So how to I keep it cool? Well... See for yourself. :)

Okay, okay, I admit, the box fan isn't actually necessary. The machine used to have four fans across the top of the cross-plane, and that kept it cool enough. Unfortunately, we can't afford the needed facility upgrades to put decent air-conditioning in our machine room, and there's already a Sun Enterprise 4500 and a Sun A5200 in there pumping out an obscene amount of heat. Our machine room sits at a toasty 76F-80F most of the time, and last summer we lost drives from several machines due to overheating. So for now the backup machine sits on a desk behind me. I substituted the box fan for the four remaining internal fans because it's quieter. This way, I can still hold a conversation in my office.

At the time of this writing I am working on assembling a second backup server. This one will sit in another building as a redundant in case an act of God takes out the first backup server. For this one I have opted for SATA. While it's more expensive than PATA at the moment, it'll be easier to upgrade down the road.
Far less air-flow restriction. And I like the fact that the two OS drive bays (at the bottom) are also hot-swappable.


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