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Thread: Running rsync with sudo ?

  1. #1
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    Running rsync with sudo ?

    I've been doing incremental backups of my system with rsync for months now,only recently it dawned on me that by backing up the running system as normal user,I was actually leaving out a number of files with -rw-r----- permissions,like say the ufw configuration files among many others
    Code:
    rsync: send_files failed to open "/etc/ufw/after6.rules": Permission denied (13)
    therefore I've resolved to use sudo when running rsync,leaving out (as I used to do already) these directories
    Code:
    --exclude='/mnt' --exclude='/media' --exclude='/proc' --exclude='/sys'  --exclude='/dev'  --exclude='/tmp'  --exclude='lost+found'  --exclude='/var/run'
    is this a good idea? Are there any issues in running rsync as super user,and should I edit my --exclude list accordingly?

  2. #2
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    Re: Running rsync with sudo ?

    Rsync works fine with sudo. But you'll probably need to make a full backup first since your previous backups were incomplete.

  3. #3
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    Re: Running rsync with sudo ?

    Hi cogset.

    As long as you are using 'sudo rsync' locally, there's no problem at all.

    Most of the security concerns would come when you enable a system to receive root rsync connections over ssh, but that's another story.

    Hope it helps.
    Regards.

  4. #4
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    Re: Running rsync with sudo ?

    Are these backups running as a cron job, or do you have to run them manually? If the latter, I would definitely consider putting the rsync command into root's crontab or, better yet, put the command into a root-executable script and place the script in /etc/cron.daily. Then it will be run automatically each night. This method avoids the use of sudo entirely.
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  5. #5
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    Re: Running rsync with sudo ?

    These are manual backups that I run locally on my system,as in manually rsyncing the / directory (with the exclude list posted above) of my system on an external USB drive -ssh is not involved at all,in fact I've actually removed it altogether (on a side note,I still can't figure out why desktop distributions mainly intended for home use should come with ssh installed:if someone really needs it,I guess he'll be smart enough to know how to install it).

    Automating the whole process with a cronjob does sound really interesting,however this backup process involves quite a lot of disk activity,and I wouldn't want it to start whilst I am doing something else-this being a desktop computer,I never leave it on overnight:if it is on,it means that I'm actually using it.

  6. #6
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    Re: Running rsync with sudo ?

    If you have an older machine around, say a largely unused desktop, you might consider converting it into a file server that runs continuously. Place files you want to save on that and let a cron job run a backup each night. My server has a large external USB drive attached to which I write the backups so there's a second physical copy of every file. (The server also runs RAID1, so each file is duplicated on two parallel hard drives as well. But as they say, and to which I can attest, RAID is not a substitute for backups.)
    Last edited by SeijiSensei; August 10th, 2013 at 04:10 AM.
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  7. #7
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    Re: Running rsync with sudo ?

    Quote Originally Posted by SeijiSensei View Post
    If you have an older machine around, say a largely unused desktop, you might consider converting it into a file server that runs continuously.
    +1

    Another option that works quite well for me is to use an old laptop (otherwise similar setup--complete with external USB drive). Much better on the electrical bill and provides at least a modicum of battery backup.
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  8. #8
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    Re: Running rsync with sudo ?

    Quote Originally Posted by DuckHook View Post
    +1

    Another option that works quite well for me is to use an old laptop (otherwise similar setup--complete with external USB drive)
    You lost me:I understand there's this second unity always running as a file server,but to run automated backups,you still have to keep your primary desktop running overnight,unless you've automated the process to shut it down once it's finished?

  9. #9
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    Re: Running rsync with sudo ?

    I have both my workstation and laptop configured to mount an NFS-exported directory on the server at boot. Any files I want to save permanently get written there. The server runs a nightly script that backs up those directories to an external hard drive. The server runs constantly (it's also a mail server for a few domains), but the client machines can be shut down since any important files are already on the server and will be backed up automatically.

    There are many other solutions to this. For instance, you can add a script that runs at shutdown to back up specific directories before turning off the machine.
    Last edited by SeijiSensei; August 12th, 2013 at 06:59 PM.
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  10. #10
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    Re: Running rsync with sudo ?

    I was just riffing off of SeijiSensei's suggestion to use an old desktop as a file server. By substituting an old laptop instead, you get lower electrical usage and battery backup (the laptop still runs even in a short power outage). However, the laptop, like the desktop, would have to be left on all the time.

    It is true that you would have to leave your primary desktop running overnight if you want the rsync process to run when no one is around. However, I can't help asking why you get so much disk activity if rsync is run daily (as would be the case with a cron job)? The beauty of rsync is that it syncs only changed files. My own experience is that it runs a disk-intensive sync the first time, and is relatively quick and easy thereafter, unless you have massive amounts of changed files each day. Therefore, if you schedule the sync to occur every day at, say, lunchtime, it should be hardly noticeable.
    Newb: How far must I jump to clear the ledge halfway down?
    Guru: It's bad to jump off cliffs. Let's look at better options.
    Newb: Stop harping about "best practices" and just tell me.


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