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Last pushed: 24 days ago
Short Description
File and database backup service to local Btrfs formatted media
Full Description


A Docker image to backup files, databases, etc. using Btrfs for snapshots. It uses the btr-backup scripts written by me.

The idea of this image is a consistent environment that backs up the configured stuff and then exits. There are no tools like cron installed. I believe that the host operating system needs to schedule the jobs and control that they start, run and end OK.


The presumed initial situation is as follows: One has a more or less complex hierarchy of Docker containers running, that constitute an application. E.g. a "web" container, a linked "database" container and a connected data-only volume
that holds persistent data.

All variable or configuration data is either inside the database or inside a volume container ... otherwise one should reread the base ideas of containerization.

In order to run a backup job, six "steps" are necessary:

Connect Btrfs backup medium to container's /backup

The directory /backup is exposed to the host operating system and this is where the backup is written to. It is expected that this directory is linked to a Btrfs filesystem attached to the host operating system.

Example (external USB hard drive):

docker run -d --volume /media/backup:/backup [...] dinkel/backup

The backup script makes sure that the list of snapshots is kept to a reasonable size, by deleting older snapshots (it keeps the 12 latest, 12 latest "daily", 12 latest "monthly" and all "yearly" snapshots). Deleting Btrfs snapshots inside a container is normally forbidden. In order to allow this, I found a brute solution by starting the container with the --privileged option, like so:

docker run -d --privileged --volume /media/backup:/backup [...] dinkel/backup

There quite probably exist more suptile solutions that only grant the necessary privileges, but I didn't really understood it, resp. played with the different options. Someone?

Connect named volumes or data-only containers

Connect the named volumes or the data-only container(s) to the backup container. Note that it is possible that a data-only container exposes multiple directories and that more than one data-only container can be connected.


docker run -d [...] --volumes-from application-config --volumes-from application-data --volume named_volume:/path/inside/container [...] dinkel/backup

Connect databases as --link

Databases to backup (by creating a full dump) need to be connected using the --link option. Please note that the "name" after the colon, is the hostname as known inside the backup container to connect to the database.


docker run -d [...] --link application-db:db [...] dinkel/backup

Name the "project"

With a backup run, all variable data of an application should be saved, so that a consistent state is found in one place. Therefore name this "project" accordingly. It is set as an environment variable.


docker run -d [...] --env BACKUP_PROJECT="application-name" [...] dinkel/backup

Set directories to backup

Set every absolute directory in the backup container you want to backup (ones that have been included through --volumes-from or --volume). They need to be separated with a colon.


docker run -d [...] --env BACKUP_FILES_PATHS=/var/www/config:/var/www/data [...] dinkel/backup

Set database information to backup

Set the host running the database, port and user credentials. The _HOST variable is mandatory and acts as the trigger to do an actual database backup, _USER and _PASSWORD are optional and fall back to default values.

Example (for PostgreSQL):

docker run -d [...] --env BACKUP_POSTGRESQL_HOST=db --env BACKUP_POSTGRESQL_USER=admin --env BACKUP_POSTGRESQL_PASSWORD=mysecretpassword [...] dinkel/backup


We now have a complete example:

docker run -d --privileged --volume /media/backup:/backup --volumes-from application-config --volumes-from application-data --link application-db:db --env BACKUP_PROJECT="application-name" --env BACKUP_FILES_PATHS=/var/www/config:/var/www/data --env BACKUP_POSTGRESQL_HOST=db --env BACKUP_POSTGRESQL_USER=admin --env BACKUP_POSTGRESQL_PASSWORD=mysecretpassword dinkel/backup

Environment variables

See above for a exemplified explanation. The environment variables are described in more detail in btr-backup.

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