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rightscale_backup (12) Versions 1.1.3

Provides a resource to manage volume backups on any cloud RightScale supports.

cookbook 'rightscale_backup', '= 1.1.3'
cookbook 'rightscale_backup', '= 1.1.3', :supermarket
knife supermarket install rightscale_backup
knife supermarket download rightscale_backup
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rightscale_backup cookbook

Cookbook Release Build Status

This cookbook provides a rightscale_backup resource that can create, restore, and clean up block device storage ("volume") backups on numerous public and private IaaS clouds.

A backup represents a collection of volume snapshots taken at the same time from one or more volumes attached to the server. A backup belongs to a series of backups, called the "lineage". Maintaining a lineage allows for point-in-time data recovery using timestamps (even if the snapshots are taken from different volumes). It also supports a more sophisticated algorithm for backup rotation/retention, as opposed to simple snapshot truncation.

The rightscale_backup resource uses RightScale's instance-facing API to manage backups in the cloud.

Github Repository:


  • The system being configured must be a RightScale managed VM to have the required access to the RightScale API.
  • Chef 11 or higher.
  • Requires a RightScale account that is registered with all the cloud vendors you expect to provision on (e.g. AWS, Rackspace, Openstack, CloudStack, GCE, and Azure).
  • Cookbook dependencies


This resource only handles manipulating volume backups. Managing volumes is handled by the rightscale_volume resource.

Example 1: Creates and attaches 2 volumes using the rightscale_volume resource, and then takes a backup of the volumes using the rightscale_backup resource.

# Creates and attaches two 1 GB volumes
2.times do |count|
  rightscale_volume "db_data_volume_#{count}" do
    size 1
    action [:create, :attach]

# Backs up the two volumes to a 'db_backup_lineage' lineage
rightscale_backup "db_data_volume_backup" do
  lineage 'db_backup_lineage'
  action :create

Example 2: Restores the backup (created in Example 1) to the server

# Restores the latest backup in the 'db_backup_lineage' taken on or before
# the UNIX timestamp '1391118125'
rightscale_backup "db_data_volume_backup" do
  lineage 'db_backup_lineage'
  timestamp 1391118125
  action :restore

Example 3: Deletes old backups

# Deletes old backups from the 'db_backup_lineage' lineage. After this action
# there will be only 2 backups in the cloud.
rightscale_backup "db_data_volume_backup" do
  lineage 'db_backup_lineage'
  keep_last 2
  monthlies 1
  yearlies 1
  dailies 1
  weeklies 1
  action :cleanup



The default recipe installs the right_api_client gem to make instance-facing RightScale API calls.



A resource to create, restore, and cleanup backups in the cloud.


Actions Description Default
:create Creates a snapshot for every volume attached to the server yes
:restore Restores a backup from the cloud
:cleanup Deletes old backups from the cloud


Name Description Default Required
nickname Name of the backup. During :create action, all snapshots in the backup will be created with this name. Yes
lineage Lineage in which the backup must belong Yes
description Description for the backup. During :restore action, the volumes created from the snapshots are set with this description. If description is not given, the description in the snapshots will be used for the newly created volumes. No
from_master Set this to 'true' to create a rs_backup:from_master=true tag on the snapshots which can be used in filtering false No
timestamp The timestamp on the backup. The latest perfect backup on or before this timestamp in the specified lineage will be picked for restore. This attribute can be set using the Time class or the seconds since UNIX epoch (Integer) No
size Size of the volume to be restored. All volumes created from the snapshot will be of this size. NOTE: This size must be equal to or larger than the size of the snapshots in the backup. WARNING: Some clouds do not support volume resizing and throws an exception when we pass this parameter. On clouds that supports resizing (currently only tested in EC2), the volumes will be created with this size instead of the original backup's size. No
timeout Throws an error if an action could not be completed within this timeout (in minutes) 15 No
options Optional parameters hash. For example, :volume_type on Rackspace Open Clouds can be specified to restore the volume as an 'SATA' or 'SSD' device. No
keep_last Number of backups to keep from deleting 60 Yes
dailies Number of daily backups to keep 1 No
monthlies Number of monthly backups to keep 12 No
weeklies Number of weekly backups to keep 4 No
yearlies Number of yearly backups to keep 2 No

:create Action

Creates a snapshot for every volume attached to the server. The newly created snapshot will be tagged with the following

  • rs_backup:lineage=<string> - Lineage name of the backup
  • rs_backup:backup_id=<UUID> - Unique identifier for a backup (all snapshots in a backup will share this ID)
  • rs_backup:committed=true - The backup is committed
  • rs_backup:count=X - Number of snapshots in the backup
  • rs_backup:device=<device> - Device to which the volume was attached
  • rs_backup:position=Y - Position of the snapshot in a backup
  • rs_backup:timestamp=<timestamp> - Time at which the backup was taken A backup is considered a perfect backup when it is completed (all the snapshots are completed), committed (all the snapshots are committed), and the number of snapshots it found is equal to the number in the "rs_backup:count=" tag on each of the snapshots.

:restore Action

Restores a backup from the cloud. This will

  • create a volume for each snapshot in the backup
  • attach all the created volumes to the server at the device specified in the snapshot (obtained from rs_backup:device=). NOTE: If the devices are already being used on the server, the restore will fail.

:cleanup Action

Deletes old backups from the cloud. For all the perfect backups, the constraints of keep_last, dailies, weeklies, monthlies, and yearlies attributes will be applied (See 'Parameters' section below). The algorithm for choosing the backups to keep is enforced by the RightScale API which is the union of those set of backups if each of those conditions are applied independently.

backups_to_keep = backups_to_keep(keep_last) U backups_to_keep(dailies) U
backups_to_keep(weeklies) U backups_to_keep(monthlies) U backups_to_keep(yearlies)

An imperfect backup is picked up for clean up only if there exists a perfect backup with a newer timestamp. No constraints will be applied on imperfect backups and all of them will be cleaned up.


Author:: RightScale, Inc. (

Dependent cookbooks

rightscale_volume ~> 1.2.0

Contingent cookbooks

There are no cookbooks that are contingent upon this one.

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