Feb 13, 2010

My "simple" (ok, not quite) backup system - implementation (backed-up side)

As I've already outlined before, my idea of backups comes down to these points:

  • No direct access to backup storage from backed-up machine, no knowledge about backup storage layout there.
  • No any-time access from backup machine to backed-up one. Access should be granted on the basis of request from backed-up host, for one connection only.
  • Read-only access to filesystem only, no shell or network access.
  • Secure transfer channel.
  • Incremental, yet independent backups, retaining all fs metadata.
  • No extra strain on network (wireless) or local disk space.
  • Non-interactive usage (from cron).
  • No root involved on any side at any time.

And the idea is to implement these with openssh, rsync and a pair of scripts.

Ok, the process is initiated by backed-up host, which will spawn sshd for single secure backup channel, so first thing to do is to invoke of ssh-keygen and get the pair of one-time keys from it.

As an extra precaution, there's no need to write private key to local filesystem, as it's only needed by ssh-client on a remote (backup) host.
Funny thing is that ssh-keygen doesn't actually allow that, although it's possible to make it use fifo socket instead of file.
FIFO socket implies blocking I/O however, so one more precaution should be taken for script not to hang indefinitely.

A few convenience functions here and there are imported from fgc module, but can be replaced by standard counterparts (POpen, unlink, etc) without problem - no magic there.

Here we go:

def unjam(sig, frm):
    raise RuntimeError, 'no data from ssh-keygen'
signal.signal(signal.SIGALRM, unjam)

keygen = exe.proc( 'ssh-keygen', '-q',
    '-t', 'rsa', '-b', '2048', '-N', '', '-f', key )

key_sub = open(key).read()
sh.rm(key, onerror=False)
if keygen.wait(): raise RuntimeError, 'ssh-keygen has failed'

Public key can then be used to generate one-time ACL file, aka "authorized_hosts" file:

keygen = open(key_pub, 'r').read().strip(spaces)
open(key_pub, 'w').write(
    'from="{0}" {1}\n'.format(remote_ip, keygen) )

So, we have an ACL file and matching private key. It's time to start sshd:

sshd = exe.proc( '/usr/sbin/sshd', '-6', '-de', '-p{0}'.format(port),
    '-oChallengeResponseAuthentication=no', # no password prompt
    '-oAllowAgentForwarding=no', # no need for this
    '-oAllowTcpForwarding=no', # no port-forwarding
    '-oPermitTunnel=no', # no tunneling
    '-oCompression=no', # minor speedup, since it's handled by rsync
    '-oForceCommand=/usr/bin/ppy {0} -c'\
        .format(os.path.realpath(__file__)), # enforce this script checks
        .format(os.path.realpath(key_pub)), silent=True )

A bit of an explaination here.

"silent" keyword here just eats verbose stdout/stderr, since it's not needed for these purposes.

According to original plan, I use "ForceCommand" to start the same initiator-script (but with "-c" parameter), so it will invoke rsync (and rsync only) with some optional checks and scheduling priority enforcements.

Plus, since initial script and sshd are started by ordinary user, we'd need to get dac_read_search capability for rsync to be able to read (and only read) every single file on local filesystem.
That's where ppy binary comes in, launching this script with additional capabilities, defined for the script file.
Script itself doesn't need to make the caps effective - just pass as inherited further to rsync binary, and that's where it, and I mean cap_dac_read_search, should be activated and used.
To that end, system should have aforementioned wrapper (ppy) with permitted-effective caps, to provide them in the first place, python binary with "cap_dac_read_search=i" and rsync with "cap_dac_read_search=ei" (since it doesn't have option to activate caps from it's code).
This may look like an awful lot of privileged bits, but it's absolutely not! Inheritable caps are just that - inheritable, they won't get set by this bit by itself.
In fact, one can think of whole fs as suid-inheritable, and here inheritance only works for a small fragment of root's power and that only for three files, w/o capability to propagnate anywhere else, if there'd be some exec in a bogus commandline.

Anyway, everything's set and ready for backup host to go ahead and grab local fs.

Note that backup of every file isn't really necessary, since sometimes most heavy ones are just caches, games or media content, readily available for downloading from the net, so I just glance at my fs with xdiskusage tool (which is awesome, btw, even for remote servers' df monitoring: "ssh remote du -k / | xdiskusage") to see if it's in need of cleanup and to add largest paths to backup-exclude list.

Actually, I thought of dynamically excluding pretty much everything that can be easily rebuilt by package manager (portage in my case), but decided that I have space for these, and backing it all up makes "rm -rf", updates or compiler errors (since I'm going to try icc) much less scary anyway.

Ok, here goes the backup request:

ssh = exe.proc( 'ssh', remote,
    '{0}:{1}'.format(os.uname()[1], port), stdin=exe.PIPE )

if ssh.wait(): raise RuntimeError, 'Remote call failed'

"remote" here is some unprivileged user on a backup host with backup-grab script set as a shell. Pubkey auth is used, so no interaction is required.

And that actually concludes locally-initiated operations - it's just wait to confirm that the task's completed.
Now backup host have the request, to-be-backed-up hostname and port on the commandline, with private key and paths-to-exclude list piped through.

One more thing done locally though is the invocation of this script when backup host will try to grab fs, but it's simple and straightforward as well:

cmd = os.getenv('SSH_ORIGINAL_COMMAND')
if not cmd: parser.error('No SSH_ORIGINAL_COMMAND in ENV')
if not re.match(
        r'^(ionice -c\d( -n\d)? )?rsync --server', cmd ):
    parser.error('Disallowed command: {0}'.format(cmd))
try: cmd, argz = cmd.split(' ', 1)
except ValueError: argz = ''
os.execlp(cmd, os.path.basename(cmd), *argz.split())

Rsync takes control from here and reads fs tree, checking files and their attributes against previous backups with it's handy rolling-checksums, creating hardlinks on match and transferring only mismatching pieces, if any, but more on that later, in the next post about implementation of the other side of this operation.

Full version of this script can be found here.