Tartarus: A flexible yet simple backup solution

Tartarus provides a nice wrapper around basic Unix tools such as tar, find and curl (well, that's not that basic) to provide a seamless backup solution, aimed at automatic gathering and backup. It has the ability to do full as well as incremental backups and is published by Stefan Tomanek under the rules of the GPL.

Instead of relying on single usage backup scripts or complicated command lines, tartarus reads its configuration from easily managable configuration files. It can store gathered data in regular files, or upload the backup directly (on the fly) to an FTP server. For more specific usage scenarios, custom methods can also be defined within the config file.

So here is a compact feature list:

  • shell script relying on standard software and formats (tar)
  • modular and flexible configuration handling
  • full and incremental backups
  • filesystem snapshot functionality (when used in conjunction with LVM)
  • On-the-fly uploading to an FTP site
  • Encryption (symmetric and asymmetric) using GnuPG
  • splitting the archive into several files

What do I need?

The Program itself is a simple shell script, so any basic unix shell should be sufficient to run it (development has been done with bash, so this would be obviously the best choice). The creation of the archives is left to tar (in its GNU incarnation), while the set of files to be saved is gathered with the help of find. If you want to use the snapshot feature, LVM utilities are of course required as well.

  • tar
  • afio (only when using the afio archive format)
  • find
  • curl (when storing the backup on an FTP site)
  • If snapshot functionality is used:
    • lvdisplay
    • lvremove
    • lvcreate
  • GnuPG for encryption support
  • perl (for splitting the archive in multiple chunks)

In case you are using Debian GNU/Linux, Tartarus can be installed as a package via APT. This method is highly recommended due to apt keeping track of updates. Just add the following line to your list of apt sources (e.g. in /etc/apt/sources.list.d/tartarus.list) and enter apt-get update && apt-get install tartarus:

deb http://wertarbyte.de/apt/ ./

To import the GPG key used to sign the packages and the repository content, enter curl http://wertarbyte.de/software-key.gpg | apt-key add -.

wget -O /etc/apt/sources.list.d/wertarbyte-apt.list http://wertarbyte.de/apt/wertarbyte-apt.list
wget -O - http://wertarbyte.de/apt/software-key.gpg | apt-key add -
apt-get update
apt-get install tartarus

The program archive itself can be obtained from here, documentation is available as well.

If you store your backup files on an FTP server with limited storage, you might also be interested in the helper script Charon which removes stored backups exceeding a specific age and is included in the tartarus distribution package.

The current version of tartarus is: 0.9.8

If you have questions about the program, wish to report bugs, stay informed about developments or like to add your own ideas and concepts to the software, consider subscribing to the mailing list of the project. If you are interested in the development of the program, you might consider cloning the git repository of the project.

At the time of writing (2011-01-06), more than 1170 systems are using Tartarus on a regular basis for their backup needs.