As all other unix tricks this is also the result of laziness and the need. I wanted to backup data on my windows laptop to a central linux/unix server. I didn't want all the features of available expensive backup solutions. Just a simple updated copy of my data on a central machine which is backed up to the tape daily. rsync is known for fast incremental transfer and was an obvious choice for the purpose.
We have a unix machine at our workplace which has a directory structure /backup/username allocated for backing up user data. rsync has a client/server architecture, where rsync client talks to an rsync daemon at the server side (This statement may not be completely true. I am not sure and don't care also. You can refer to rsync manpage for complete discussion over rsync.). rsync client can connect to rsync server directly or through other remote transport programs like rsh, ssh etc. I decided to use ssh for transport for security and simplicity.
rsync daemon requires a configuration file rsyncd.conf. For my use, I have set it up like this:
[manu@amusbocldmon01 ~]$ cat rsyncd.conf use chroot = no [backup] path = /backup read only = no comment = backup area
-do no chroot (required because I'll run it as a non-root user)
-[backup] specifies a module named backup.
-/backup is the path to backup module on filesystem
That's all we need at the server side. We don't need to keep rsync deamon running on the server. We'll start rsync daemon from the client using ssh before starting the backup.
At Windows side, we need rsync and some ssh client. rsync is available for windows through cygwin port. You can download cygwin from http://www.cygwin.com/. While installing cygwin, remember to select rsync. For ssh client, you can either use ssh that comes with cygwin or plink command line tool that comes with putty. Since, I have already set up my putty for password-less authentication using public/private key pair and pageant, I'll demonstrate this solution using plink. However you can use any other ssh client too. You can download putty and plink from http://www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~sgtatham/putty/. You can find much information about ssh password less authentication on the web. To keep commands short, add rsync and plink to Windows path. Let's start our backup now.
First, we need to start rsync daemon at the server. It can be started from the client using following command:
plink -v -t -l manu fileserver.local.com rsync --daemon --port=1873 --config=$HOME/rsyncd.conf
where, fileserver.local.com is the central server where we are going to store our data. This logs in user 'manu' on fileserver and starts a rsync daemon there at the port 1873. rsync goes to the background and plink returns immediately.
Next we need to setup an ssh transport tunnel using plink:
plink -v -N -L 873:localhost:1873 -l manu fileserver.local.com
This sets up the local port forwarding -- forwarding local port 873 to port 1873 on the remote server.
After running this, we have port 873 on our windows box connected to the port 1873 on the fileserver on which rsync daemon is listening. So, now we just need to run rsync on windows machine with localhost as the target server:
rsync -av src 127.0.0.1::backup/manu
This command copies file or dir '
src' incrementally to directory '
manu' inside 'backup' module. Since this rsync is the one that comes with cygwin, it understand only cygwin paths for the files. For that reason, 'src' needs to be specified in cygwin terms. For example,
/cygdrive/d/project in cygwin terms.