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
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 rackmountpro.com 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
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
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