Backup Destination DreamHost

I started on Monday backing up my home computers to DreamHost backup using duplicity.

DreamHost gives their shared hosting users 50GB of backup for personal files. DreamHost offers “unlimited” diskspace on their webservers for hosting files accessed by the web. However, my personal files aren’t to be accessed by anyone but me and I just wanted an offsite backup.

I researched backup solutions, initially turning to my tried and true over the past 10+ years rsync scripts. However, I don’t trust DreamHost to keep my data secure, so I need encryption. I narrowed down the choices to either a TrueCrypt image that I could mount in Linux and then split and rsync, or use duplicity.

Does TrueCrypt make sense?

I considered TrueCrypt for quite a while as the community following for it is rather impressive. However, syncing a single large image wasn’t feasible. Splitting the 30-50GB image in to smaller pieces (guessing 250MB maybe) using the UNIX split command seemed to work with rsync, only transferring the major parts seemed to work on a 1GB test file I modified parts of. However, this just meant that now I needed to always keep 50GBs of space free so I could split the image which in turn was sync’d upstream.

Fallback to Duplicity

I then resorted to duplicity. Initially, I didn’t like idea of using tar (behind the scenes) which was then encrypted using GPG. I’m a long time users of rsync, where if I need one or two files I can instantly access them. However, I can’t remember the last time I needed to that, so I bit the bullet and tried it. GPG is more secure as well (in my opinion) then TrueCrypt.

On Monday I gave it a shot, backing up my system’s /etc directory and /home for the time being. The --dry-run in duplicity calculated approx 31GB of data to be copied… do some math using Wolfram Alpha considering my ~ 700Kb/s upload and we get 4 days 2 hours. Lovely, okay so my system will be hogging my Internet for a few days.

Estimated Backup Time

Some more research (via Google not firsthand) seems to suggest that duplicity won’t pick-up where it left off either should it get interrupted, one of the features rsync does very well since it only deals with items on a file by file basis. So, I’ll let it run.

After that I’ll do incremental backups and then do a full backup next month. I also need to research compression algorithms in gpg’s by adding --gpg-options='--compress-algo=bzip2 --bzip2-compress-level=9' to duplicity’s options.

Oh yeah, and I need to make sure I can restore the backup.


Duplicity is a glorified version of tar.