BURP - BackUp and Restore Program

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Retention
---------

Each time burp creates a backup, it will be given a number that is one greater
than the previous successful backup. If there is no previous backup, it will
start with the number 1. It will also be given a timestamp.

So, after five days, your backups of a client in /var/spool/burp/testclient/
might look like this:

0000001 2014-05-19 19:00:04
0000002 2014-05-20 19:00:02
0000003 2014-05-21 19:00:05
0000004 2014-05-22 19:00:05
0000005 2014-05-23 19:00:03

It is important to note that burp's retention works on the backup numbers, not
the timestamp.


Single 'keep' setting
---------------------

The retention is configured via the 'keep' server side configuration option,
which can be overridden per-client in the clientconfdir files.

At the end of each successful backup, the server will run its retention code
and delete old backups. It will delete any backup that the 'keep' settings and
the 'deletable' criteria allow it to.
A backup is 'deletable' if it is the oldest backup, or comes immediately after
a 'hardlinked' backup. This is explained further in the section about multiple
'keep' values, below.


For example, the burp default is 'keep = 7'. Intuitively, this means 'keep
seven backups'. After nine backups, your backup list will look like this:

0000003 2014-05-21 19:00:04
0000004 2014-05-22 19:00:02
0000005 2014-05-23 19:00:05
0000006 2014-05-24 19:00:05
0000007 2014-05-25 19:00:03
0000008 2014-05-26 19:00:01
0000009 2014-05-27 19:00:04

At the end of backup 8, backup 1 was deleted.
At the end of backup 9, backup 2 was deleted.

A single 'keep' setting is just a special case of the algorithm that burp uses
when you have multiple 'keep' settings.


Multiple 'keep' settings
------------------------

You may want configure multiple 'keep' values. This will make burp prune the
the backups so that as you go further back in time, there are fewer of them.
In effect, an exponential decay.

For example, you may set:

keep = 7
keep = 4
keep = 12

This guarantees to keep 7 backups in a row, plus 4 on multiples of 7, plus
12 on multiples of 4*12.


At the end of a successful backup, burp takes the 'keep' settings and the list
of numbered backups.
It re-indexes the list so that the most recent backup is at postition 1.
It splits the re-indexed list into regions based on the 'keep' settings (eg,
boundaries at 1..7, 7*1, 7*2, 7*3, 7*4, 7*4*1, 7*4*2, ..., 7*4*12.

It then attempts to reduce the number of backups in each region to 1 (or 0 if
the region is beyond the end of the 'keep' settings).
It can only delete backups that are 'deletable'.
The very oldest backup is deletable.
A backup that comes immediately after a 'hardlinked' backup is deletable.
Burp makes all backups 'hardlinked' if they are made while
'hardlinked_archive=1' is set.
Otherwise, backups that are created on the boundaries defined by the first
'keep' setting are made 'hardlinked' (ie, 1, 7, 14, etc).

This is an example set of backups on a server on which I set 'keep' values of
7 and 4:

0000260 2012-04-03 20:07:02
0000267 2012-04-22 09:14:44
0000274 2012-05-06 19:06:43
0000281 2012-05-13 19:27:03
0000283 2012-05-15 19:47:03
0000284 2012-05-16 19:27:03
0000285 2012-05-17 19:27:03
0000286 2012-05-18 19:47:04
0000287 2012-05-19 19:27:04
0000288 2012-05-20 19:27:03
0000289 2012-05-21 19:27:03

You can see the gaps of 7 between backups 260,267, 274 and 281.
Backups 283 to 289 are in the range of 1 to 7.


Changing 'keep' settings
------------------------

A question that sometimes comes up is:
What happens if I change my 'keep' settings?


On the next backup of a client, burp will do it's reduction algorithm based on
the new settings for that client.
If it has more than 1 backup in its new regions, it will try to reduce them
to 1 if it is able to.


In the following examples, somebody initially set...
keep = 14
keep = 4
keep = 2
...and they then change them to:
keep = 14
keep = 7


Example A:
In this case, the 'range' of backups has been reduced.
14*4*2 = 112
 7*4*2 = 56

Therefore, if there were 72 backups, the new settings will result in any
left in the range 57-112 (the oldest ones) being deleted.
Since the regions are now smaller, some of the regions will now have 0
backups. Obviously nothing will happen to those regions. Other regions will
still have 1. Nothing will happen to those. If a multiple that expanded the
regions were chosen, there may be a region with more than 1 backup, which then
might be reduced to 1 (depending on 'deletable' criteria).


Example B:
If there were backups 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1, and hardlinked_archive=1 were set
the whole time, after next backup, there would be:
11 10 9 8 7 6 5 1

If hardlinked_archive=0 were set the whole time with 14*4*2, the result would
be the same:
11 10 9 8 7 6 5 1

But when carrying on, there will be a small difference.
The hardlinked_archive=1 example would become:
21 20 19 18 17 16 15 14 7 1

The other would become:
21 20 19 18 17 16 15 14 13 12 11 10 9 8 7 1
Burp would like to delete 8 to 13 based on the current 'keep' settings, but it
can't because 7 to 13 were not hardlinked.
However, you can still delete 7, then 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 in that order by
hand if you like (with the client 'delete' option), because each one
successively does not have any backups that depend upon it.


Donate with Bitcoin

Burp is open and free software. I work on it in my spare time. If you would like this work to continue, please consider making a small donation.


Burp, don't suck. Last updated: April 2017
By Graham Keeling
Hosted by Natcoweb