Ivor O’Connor

May 11, 2009

Backups Via GIT: gibak

Filed under: howto, Linux — Tags: , , , , , , , — ioconnor @ 6:01 pm

What’s the best way to move data between two machines? As in migrating off this laptop and on to another laptop? Rsync with tar and rdiff-backup come immediately to mind. Why not with “git” instead? Supposedly git is much faster than anything and compacts stuff better too. Because of it’s strange algorithms you don’t have to worry about date discrepancies between machines either. It was written by Linus to be better than sliced bread. Here Linus is giving a presentation at Google on “git”. So every machine could contain exactly the same information across my networks. And since it is a distributed version control system, DVCS, what happens in Las Vegas doesn’t stay in Las Vegas. You’d also have the various versions of the data too.

Trying not to reinvent the wheel a quick google was done. Lucky thought on my part because somebody else has already made an application for this purpose called “gibak“. Here’s what the author says:

* it is more space-efficient than most incremental backup schemes, since it does file compression and both textual *and* binary deltas (in particular, it’s better than solutions relying on hardlinks or incremental backups à la tar/cpio)
* its transport mechanism is more efficient than rsync’s
* it is fast: recoving your data is *faster* than cp -a
* you keep the full revision history
* powerful toolset with a rich vocabulary

So what’s the catch? I don’t know. I’ll be playing with it today and update this blog with my results…

I played with it for quite some time but for some reason it would archive over 8GBs, which is all the space I currently have left on this laptop, and die. As a result I’m looking at using a drive on the network before I can resume this. (And unfortunately the documentation for doing this is lacking and the wee little bit that does exist is so badly incorrect it makes me think poorly on the testing that never gets done on Ubuntu.)


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