Scott O'Brien

Filesystem Snapshots

Created: 3/18/2011, 12:10:36 PM

Note: This post is one in a series aimed to be a tutorial eventually, it’s not currently finalised and at the moment exists as a place for collating thought and collecting feedback

Setting up the FileSystems is a trivial task.  First, you can see that when we’ve created a storage pool ‘datastore’ it created a filesystem for us (also called datastore) that can act as a container for child file systems.  I’m going to go ahead and create a place to store my media and downloads now

# zfs create datastore/media

for now I’ll also want a place to store my backups.  It’s worth noting that while my media filesystem will contain compressed MP3’s and the like, it’s kind of a waste of CPU power to compress it, but my backups will be a lot of PHP pages and what not, so lets go ahead and enable compression on this one

# zfs create datastore/backups
# zfs set compression=on datastore/backups

As appalled as I am of my mums backup habits, one of the requirements of this server was to provide a medium for backing up her data without her having to do anything, so lets set up backup locations for my laptop (MacShell) and a place for mum (mum) assigning both of these 20GB quota’s (ok, MacShell gets 120GB)

# zfs create datastore/backups/MacShell
# zfs create datastore/backups/mum
# zfs set quota=120G datastore/backups/MacShell
# zfs set quota=20GB datastore/backups/mum
# zfs get datastore/backups/mum

Now, the idea is that a cron job will run rsyncing over the files every hour, on the hour.  For many reasons (in case I get a virus and need to revert back, in case somebody hacks in and does bad stuff, etc, etc) I’m going to choose to create Snapshots so I can roll back to a previous version.

The convention I want is hourly.HOUR, daily.DAY, weekly.WEEK for up to 7 days and 4 weeks.  This also means that once I delete a file, I won’t recover the space that it took (once a snapshot of the file has been created) in my data pool until the end of the 4 week period.  for instance, hourly.0 will be the last hours snapshot, hourly.1 will be the 2nd last hours snapshot, etc.

the following bash script will take care of the desired snapshots.  It’s based on a concept I took from this rolling snapshots made easy post but I like my scripted way of doing rotating snapshots much better.


#print out usage
if [ $# -ne 2 ]
  echo "Usage: [snapName] [max]"
  echo "  eg. hour 24"

#if the max snapshot already exists, just delete it
if [ $(zfs list -t snapshot | grep datastore@$1.$2 | wc -l) -eq 1 ]
  zfs destroy -r datastore@$1.$2

for ((i=$2-1; i >= 0; i--)); do
  if [ $(zfs list -t snapshot | grep datastore@$1.$i | wc -l) -eq 1 ]
    #this snapshot exists, so we want to move it up one
    zfs rename -r datastore@$1.$i @$1.$[$i+1]

zfs snapshot -r datastore@$1.0

so with this snapshot beauty in place, lets say I had an existing file and structure in place

root@thumper:/datastore/backups/MacShell# pwd
root@thumper:/datastore/backups/MacShell# tree
|– hello_world.txt
|– someDir
|- someFile.dat

1 directory, 2 files

BUT, I had a snapshot in place

# / hourly 24

then I did something silly like delete my entire backup directory (Oh No!!)

# rm -R *
# ls -l

total 0

never fear! check the snapshots

MacShell/.zfs/snapshot/hourly.0# tree
|– hello_world.txt
 – someDir
`– someFile.dat

they’ll eventually roll off my snapshot cycle and be removed in 4 weeks with my plan, but hey, pretty good at this point 🙂

See Part 2 for a post on how to set up cron jobs to automatically call this script

other posts to come in the series:

  1. Selecting the hardware
  2. Installing the Operating System
  3. Setting up File systems & Snapshots
  4. Allowing access through NFS & SAMBA
  5. Setting up encrypted off-site backups
  6. Configuring Windows & Linux clients to dump backup info to the FileServer
  7. My router setup, configuring IP tables & torrents on a low-powered server.