Mixtape is created as an improvement over the old backup practices of using
rsync. Here are some of the reasons to consider using Mixtape
Deduplicated data — Files are only stored once (deduplication), using their
sha256sumto detect copies and changes. In many cases, this provides sufficient deduplication to make backups both fast and space-efficient.
Data compression — Backup data is compressed using
xzto save space. Small files are bundled together into
tararchives before compression to keep the number of files low and compression ratios high.
Shell-friendly — Mixtape is written in Bash, using the standard GNU/Linux toolchain (
sort, etc). This means that you can check, inspect or extract data from the backups using the tools already on your system. No extra installs or custom archive formats.
Cloud-friendly — The number of files are kept low (much lower than the number of files backed up), which makes it practical to sync the backups to cloud storage.
Garbage collection — Backups can be made to expire based on a dynamic schedule that keeps fewer backups the older they become. Backups can also be manually removed with plain
rm, using the garbage collection tool to remove referenced data files. This makes is viable to run backups as frequently as every minute if desired.
Simple search, restore & status - A number of tools are available for inspecting the backups, including searching for files based on simple file glob patterns. Other tools allows simple restore without overwriting, listing all backup files, printing disk usage, and more.
There are many good reasons to avoid using Mixtape for backing up your data. Here are some of them:
No chunk deduplication — By splitting files into chunks, better data deduplication is possible. This is important for large files sharing portions of their data (e.g. docker images). Mixtape has opted for making file restores simple with standard Unix tools instead.
No sparse file support — Files containing gaps (i.e. sparse files) are handled just as any other file. They will be compressed if possible, but other backup tools may store these files more efficiently.
No extended attributes - The suid/guid/sticky bits, extended attributes, SELinux attributes, etc of files are currently ignored when storing the backups. Nor will they be available upon restore. It is possible that this will be added to a future version.
No remote storage — Backups are stored on the local file system and remote storage transfer must be handled by a separate tool. This uses more diskspace, but enables quicker searches and easier file recovery. Consider using rclone with encryption to move data off-server.
No encryption — Backups are not encrypted (as they are stored locally). Again, this is a tradeoff to enable fast searching and easy access. Use a cloud upload tool with built-in encryption when moving data off-server.
No BSD, MacOS or Windows support — Although written in Bash, the scripts are known to not work in a non-GNU/Linux environment. This is due to subtle differences in
sortand other similar tools. A future version may address this.