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Reuse an old laptop or netbook as a VPS backup solution


I have an old unused netbook – Asus eee 900HD. It’s very small and has 160GB HDD. I decided to install there debian and reuse it as a VPS backup solution. My netbook is behind NAT, connected to home router by fast ethernet cable, so the plan is to repeat these steps:

  1. Make a backup.
  2. Suspend for 24h.
  3. Wake up.

For creating backup, I decided to use rdiff-backup. To handle suspend/wake up I found nice command, called rtcwake.

This example suspends my netbook for 30 seconds:

This one is even better. It suspends device until specified timestamp:

First step was to configure passwordless ssh login from netbook to vps, like here and install rdiff-backup on both machines. Finally, I created bash script which is doing these steps in an infinite loop:

  • run dhclient (just in case)
  • sleep 15 seconds. If I manually woke netbook, I had enough time to cancel loop by pressng CTRL+C
  • backup files using rdiff-backup
  • remove deleted files older than 30 days
  • send email with summary
  • suspend until next day at 3 am

Dhclient and rtcwake requires root privileges. You can use sudo, if running on normal user.


This is python script which is called to send email:


Example email report:

Title: eee-backup log | SUCCESS | 72G free






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