Table of contents
This page describes what to do in case of an Icinga alert. For more information you could search the govuk-puppet repo for the source of the alert

Offsite backups

All of our offsite backups use duplicity. Most, but not all, are encrypted using GPG.

If a backup fails then start by looking at any output captured by cron and sent to the “machine email” list. This is linked from the Nagios alert under “extra actions”.

If the backup hasn’t failed but is flagged with a freshness warning it may still be in progress. The asset stores are large and backups can take a long time, check whether the duplicity process is still running (e.g. using htop or ps aux | grep duplicity).

To proceed further you will need to know a few things which you can determine either from the job configuration in Puppet or by listing crontabs for users, eg. sudo crontab -lu govuk-backup:

  1. the user that the backup normally runs as, eg. govuk-backup or root.
  2. the script that is run, eg. /var/spool/duplicity/<job>.sh.
  3. the destination for the backup, eg. rsync://<user>@<host>:/<path>
  4. the archive directory used as a local cache, eg. /data/backups/.cache/duplicity
The `sudo -i` in these commands is important because it prevents GPG from using keyrings in your own user’s home directory.

Start by checking the status of the destination to see what backups succeeded recently:

sudo -iu <user> duplicity collection-status --archive-dir <archive_directory> <destination>

You can try running the backup again manually. This may take some time so it’s recommended to use tmux or screen:

sudo -iu <user> /var/spool/duplicity/<script>

You can look for output of the backup jobs in the “machine email plat1” google group. If the log contains the line "Warning, found the following orphaned backup files then try running the command sudo -iugovuk-backup duplicity cleanup <destination> --no-encryption --force

More about Icinga alerts

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