bill and his blog

Beginner's Field Guide to restic

Continuing along the trend that Profpatsch recently inspired in me: writing short notes to myself instead of fully fledged blog posts aimed at some unknowable audience. Today we're looking at how I burned myself by only partially RTFD.


I recently started using restic and NixOS thanks to the help of TVL's restic.nix module. I setup 1x/h backups to MinIO (S3-compatible storage) for just a handful of /var/lib directories (~9GiB total), but after a few days MinIO reported that my bucket size was O(100GiB)!

What's going on? -- me

$ restic stats
repository 763bfe37 opened successfully, password is correct
Stats in restore-size mode:
Snapshots processed:   175
   Total File Count:   31369384
         Total Size:   21.027 GiB

Wait: 20GiB... wat? -- me (moments later)

Maybe we're snapshotting our MinIO buckets, and that's contributing to our bucket size. Checking the logs proved that restic was backing-up 1.5GiB/h, which supported MinIO's reports.

Ah maybe restic stats isn't reporting what I think it's reporting... -- me (again)

Let's consult Le Docs:

$ restic stats -h

The "stats" command walks one or multiple snapshots in a repository
and accumulates statistics about the data stored therein. It reports
on the number of unique files and their sizes, according to one of
the counting modes as given by the --mode flag.

It operates on all snapshots matching the selection criteria or all
snapshots if nothing is specified. The special snapshot ID "latest"
is also supported. Some modes make more sense over
just a single snapshot, while others are useful across all snapshots,
depending on what you are trying to calculate.

[to be continued]

This is where I stopped reading (the first time). But then I returned a second time as I was running low on theories...


The modes are:

* restore-size: (default) Counts the size of the restored files.
* files-by-contents: Counts total size of files, where a file is
   considered unique if it has unique contents.
* raw-data: Counts the size of blobs in the repository, regardless of
  how many files reference them.
* blobs-per-file: A combination of files-by-contents and raw-data.

Bingo: --mode=raw-data not --mode=restore-size.


$ restic stats --mode=raw-data
repository 763bfe37 opened successfully, password is correct
Stats in raw-data mode:
Snapshots processed:   175
   Total Blob Count:   710988
         Total Size:   303.216 GiB

Ah... the world agrees again. -- me