System snapshots of your server: how do you do it?

Do any of you take “snapshots” of your system to restore everything if something goes wrong? or do you just backup your important data?

I am currently using Restic to backup all my data. I have made quite a mess of my server, so I’m looking to probably re-install the whole system. I won’t lose any data, but it will be a bit time consuming to configure and install all my programs again.

So, I’m wondering if there is an easy way to take snapshots of a whole live system, and then restore a snapshot.

What software do you use? Is it worth doing?

I’ve seen different methods discussed online:

  • rsync
  • rsnapshot
  • rclone
  • dd
  • timeshift
  • btrfs

Anybody have some real-world experience with these? or is a fresh install good every now and again? :sob:

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I’d add LVMS to the list. I have no experience with btrfs, but from LVMS I know that it supports ‘block level’ remote sync of logical volumes. I guess ZFS would support something like that as well, but I have not used ZFS enough to feel comfortable with it yet.

I have found the Yunohost backups a reliable way of restoring a server from scratch, or anyway, instead of doing the post-install after having set up Debian and installing Yunohost.

Yes, that is what I do with Borg.

I think having whole-system back ups would help for a totally screwed up server, but it does not allow to restore a single messed up program.

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I use Borg to backup and yunohost is in a virtual machine with Proxmox. Before each upgrade, i make a snapshot. All my data is in yunohost.multimedia on another disk and are not in the snapshot, so it takes a few seconds.

From my experience, i install yunohost on a RPI3B+ about 3 years ago. When i migrate my yunohost on a VM, i use my last backup and restore it instead of doing post-install and all is fine.
I use proxmox about fifteen month. I had a problem with an upgrade of Nextcloud. When it happened, i uninstall it and try to restore my backup but it failed. I don’t waste my time to investigate, then, i restore the proxmox snapshot and my server revive. I did the upgrade of Nextcloud again and it worked this time.
Without snapshot, i think i shoud have reinstall my server.

So, the combination of Borg (or restic for you) for your data and the server and proxmox with a VM for snapshot is a strong solution. proxmox also supports backup of the VM and i’ve planned one a week. You can define the number of backup that you want to keep.

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You could try to use lxc containers.
It’s very lightweight, fast and easy to use.
I didn’t install my yunohost in LXC container but I tried it a lot in a VM (virtualbox) to get accustomed to it so when I’ll do the migration (not in the near future) it won’t be hard.