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Backup VM Data to Ceph with Swift S3API


In this guide we will demonstrate generating backups of important data from a production VM to Ceph backed object storage on your OpenMetal cloud using rclone.



For this demonstration we have an Ubuntu focal instance serving WordPress on an optimized LEMP stack managed by Ansible. In this example, all service and server configuration is handled by Ansible, so only user and CMS specific content need be backed up.

The demo environment was deployed using the WordPress UltraStack Ansible playbook.



Rclone is chosen as the preferred tool in this example due to its sync option providing similar functionality and ownership/permission preservation to the Linux native rsync tool. Additionally, in our testing, rclone consistently outperformed other tooling in speed of operations and transfers by a significant margin.


  • Create a bucket using the server hostname or otherwise unique ID:

    rclone mkdir backup-demo:$(hostname)
  • Export a full backup of the CMS database:

    Note: We perform this manually for illustrative purposes, ideally this process is performed on a scheduled cron using native tooling.

    mkdir ~/sql-dump
    cd ~/sql-dump

    # Dump DB via WP-CLI
    $ wp db export --path="../doc_root"
    Success: Exported to 'ubuntu-2022-12-13-7fbde57.sql'.

Initial S3cmd sync

Now perform an initial sync of the user directory which includes the SQL dump files and document root, excluding the WordPress cache folder, with the command below:

rclone sync /home/ubuntu/ backup-demo:$(hostname)/${USER}/ \

Incremental backups

At times, it is unnecessary or unwarranted to create duplicate copies of everything whenever backups run. To reduce disk and bandwidth usage when using sync you can pass the --backup-dir flag which will copy or move any files which would have been overwritten or deleted, in their original hierarchy, into the directory specified. The example below updates the existing remote backup with any local changes storing any incremental changes in a timestamped subdirectory:

rclone sync /home/ubuntu/ backup-demo:$(hostname)/${USER}/ \
--exclude="/home/ubuntu/doc_root/wp-content/cache" \
--backup-dir backup-demo:$(hostname)/$(date -u +%Y-%m-%dT%H:%MZ)/ \


While we have only touched on a very basic backup scenario, the tooling and concepts presented should provide a foundation for you to explore, plan and implement a backup strategy to fit your needs.