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File Deduplication using Base Jobs

A base job is sort of like a Full save except that you will want the FileSet to contain only files that are unlikely to change in the future (i.e. a snapshot of most of your system after installing it). After the base job has been run, when you are doing a Full save, you specify one or more Base jobs to be used. All files that have been backed up in the Base job/jobs but not modified will then be excluded from the backup. During a restore, the Base jobs will be automatically pulled in where necessary.

This is something none of the competition does, as far as we know (except perhaps BackupPC, which is a Perl program that saves to disk only). It is big win for the user, it makes Bacula stand out as offering a unique optimization that immediately saves time and money. Basically, imagine that you have 100 nearly identical Windows or Linux machine containing the OS and user files. Now for the OS part, a Base job will be backed up once, and rather than making 100 copies of the OS, there will be only one. If one or more of the systems have some files updated, no problem, they will be automatically restored.

A new Job directive Base=Jobx, Joby... permits to specify the list of files that will be used during Full backup as base.


Job {
Name = BackupLinux
Level= Base
...
}

Job {
Name = BackupZog4
Base = BackupZog4, BackupLinux
Accurate = yes
...
}

In this example, the job BackupZog4 will use the most recent version of all files contained in BackupZog4 and BackupLinux jobs. Base jobs should have run with level=Base to be used.

By default, Bacula will compare permissions bits, user and group fields, modification time, size and the checksum of the file to choose between the current backup and the BaseJob file list. You can change this behavior with the BaseJob FileSet option. This option works like the verify= one, that is described in the FileSetFileSetResource chapter.


FileSet {
Name = Full
Include = {
Options {
BaseJob = pmugcs5
Accurate = mcs
Verify = pin5
}
File = /
}
}

Important note: The current implementation doesn't permit to scan volume with bscan. The result wouldn't permit to restore files easily. It is recommended to not prune File or Job records with Basejobs.

Added in version 8.0.5, the new ``M'' option letter for the Accurate directive in the FileSet Options block, which allows comparing the modification time and/or creation time against the last backup timestamp. This is in contrast to the existing options letters ``m'' and/or ``c'', mtime and ctime, which are checked against the stored catalog values, that could vary accross different machines when using the BaseJob feature.

The advantage of the new ``M'' option letter for Jobs that refer to BaseJobs is that it will backup files based on the last backup time, which is more useful, because the mtime/ctime timestamps may differ on various Clients, causing unnecessary files to be backed up.


Job {
Name = USR
Level = Base
FileSet = BaseFS
...
}

Job {
Name = Full
FileSet = FullFS
Base = USR
...
}

FileSet {
Name = BaseFS
Include {
Options {
Signature = MD5
}
File = /usr
}
}

FileSet {
Name = FullFS
Include {
Options {
Accurate = Ms # check for mtime/ctime and Size
Signature = MD5
}
File = /home
File = /usr
}
}