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Version Control with Subversion, 2nd Edition by Brian W. Fitzpatrick, Ben Collins-Sussman, C. Michael Pilato

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Repository Backup

Despite numerous advances in technology since the birth of the modern computer, one thing unfortunately rings true with crystalline clarity—sometimes things go very, very awry. Power outages, network connectivity dropouts, corrupt RAM, and crashed hard drives are but a taste of the evil that Fate is poised to unleash on even the most conscientious administrator. And so we arrive at a very important topic: how to make backup copies of your repository data.

Two types of backup methods are available for Subversion repository administrators: full and incremental. A full backup of the repository involves squirreling away in one sweeping action all the information required to fully reconstruct that repository in the event of a catastrophe. Usually, it means, quite literally, the duplication of the entire repository directory (which includes either a Berkeley DB or FSFS environment). Incremental backups are lesser things: backups of only the portion of the repository data that has changed since the previous backup.

As far as full backups go, the naïve approach might seem like a sane one, but unless you temporarily disable all other access to your repository, simply doing a recursive directory copy runs the risk of generating a faulty backup. In the case of Berkeley DB, the documentation describes a certain order in which database files can be copied that will guarantee a valid backup copy. A similar ordering exists for FSFS data. But you don’t have to implement these algorithms ...

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