Services down during backup?


I’ve noticed that important services (postfix, dovecot, seive) are stopped during backups, though the admin UI stays working. For a full backup it means the server is unavailable for a couple of hours. Is this normal?



I have never seen this … usually my backups take a few minutes … so quick that I haven’t time to notice if any services are stopped during the backup.


Yes, I’d not noticed it before, but I saw it happen by chance, and then when I triggered a manual backup, the same thing happened again - and 40G of email takes quite a long time to back up.



Indeed, the services are disabled before a backup is started. See here:

In my case, the backup takes a bit longer due to ~150gig of emails and this is how I noticed.

@JoshData, can you shed some light onto why those services need to be disabled during an update?

Best regards



I was also noticing getting kicked off unexpectedly when the service gets stopped. This could be annoying if several hundred users are getting logged out all at once every 30 minutes.

I was wondering if there were a simple way of including a check for the number of logged in users. If this were to return a non-zero value, then abort the backup for that cycle. Otherwise, there would be 0 users logged in and the backup could continue without interrupting users.

If so is there a bash way of determining this or is there a python command to perform a simple ‘if’ test of users ??



To prevent corruption. If a backup is in progress while files on disk are being modified, then the backup might see a file in a half-saved state. It might be safe to keep postfix and dovecot running, but it also might not be safe, so to be on the safe side we turn them off.


Is is possible to add an option that copies the files, backs up the copies and purges the copies (to save disk space)? I mean, Linux does have a file locking system (whatever “lslocks” thing is) so that applications are fighting over who writes to the same file. I mean, are these a lot of small files, or a few big files?


Those are both good questions that I don’t have answers to.


Ya know what is an even better idea? When the backup scripts are initiated, change the config files to point all logging and new writes to another temporary directory/location, restart all services, start backup process, wait for backup process, change configuration of services back to permanent directory, move all files (if any) from temporary directory to permanent directory, and restart services.

I have a question though. Ubuntu Bionic (18.04) is the goal for the next release. When and which branch could we use to throw in features that we want to work on? This seems like a feature we’d put a WONTFIX on for now until we can get the confidence to make the first ubuntu_bionic official release.