beam−backup − create a back up.


beam backup [−vnN] [−−verbose] [−l FILE] [−−logfile FILE] [−−dry−run]
[−L N] [−−level N]
[−R N] [−−round N] [−−week N]

beam backup [−h] [−−help]

beam backup [−V] [−−version]


The beam−backup command creates full or incremental backups of file systems and other objects described in its configuration file beam.conf. The configuration file by default is searched in /usr/local/etc. Another location can be specified by setting the environment variable BACKUP_CONFIG to the full pathname of the configuration file.

After loading the configuration file, the script examines its command line for options that modify its behavior. These are described in detail in the section OPTIONS, below.

The script uses tar(1) to produce incremental backups. The produced archives are named using the following pattern:




The name of the backup item. Backup items are defined in the configuration variable backup_items and identify file systems (or other objects, such as PostgreSQL databases) to backup. See the section BACKUP ITEMS in beam.conf(5), for a detailed description.


The number of week when this backup was taken. This is a number of week in year, formatted as a two-digit decimal number in the range 01 to 53. Weeks are numbered starting with the first Sunday as the first day of week 01. For more details, see strftime(3) conversion %U.


The round number of this backup. This number identifies a particular series of incremental backups (starting at level 1), taken with respect to the same full backup.

Consider for example the following backup schedule. A full backup is taken each Sunday. Then, during the week, incremental backups are taken daily: level one backup on Monday, level two backup on Tuesday, then again level one on Wednesday, and so on. In this scheme you get three rounds of backups each week. See the EXAMPLES section for an example of this schedule.


Incremental level number.


The value of backup_suffix configuration variable. If not set, tar is assumed.

The archives are stored in the directory specified by the backup_archive_dir configuration variable. This directory can be a local as well as a remote one. To use a remote location, set this variable to


where HOST is the IP address or hostname of the remote machine, and DIR is the pathname on its file system. See the The GNU Tar Manual, section 9.2 Remote Tape Server for more information on the subject.

The corresponding snapshots are stored in the directory specified by the backup_snapshot_dir configuration variable and follow the same scheme as the archives, except that db is used as their suffix.


−v, −−verbose

Increase verbosity. This overrides the backup_verbose configuration variable.

−l, −−logfile FILE

Log to FILE. This overrides the backup_logfile configuration variable.

−n, −−dry−run

Do nothing, print what would have been done. This option also implies −−no−logfile.

Useful to debug your configuration.

−N, −−no−logfile

Do not use backup_logfile variable, log to standard error instead.

−L, −−level N

Create incremental dump level N.

-R, −−round N

Mark archives with incremental round number N.

−−week N

Force using week number N. By default, the current week number (as returned by strftime(3) conversion %U) is used.

−h, −−help

Display a short help summary.

−V, −−version

Display program version.


Usually backup is started as a cron job. The following example shows a root crontab designed so as to create full (level 0) backups on Sundays, level 1 backups on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and level 2 backups on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

# Create one full backup weekly.
0 3 * * sun beam backup −−round 0 −−level 0
# Create incremental backups daily.
0 3 * * mon beam backup −−round 0 −−level 1
0 3 * * tue beam backup −−round 0 −−level 2
0 3 * * wed beam backup −−round 1 −−level 1
0 3 * * thu beam backup −−round 1 −−level 2
0 3 * * fri beam backup −−round 2 −−level 1
0 3 * * sat beam backup −−round 2 −−level 2



Default configuration file.


Backup module directory. Whenever a beam item of type T is requested, beam will attempt to load from this directory a file named This file provides methods and definitions necessary to handle that particular item type.


Settings and definitions shared between beam−backup, beam−restore(1), and beam−list(1).


beam(1), beam−restore(1), beam−list(1), beam.conf(5).


Sergey Poznyakoff


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