Borg Backup – Deduplicating backup program

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BorgBackup (short: Borg) is a deduplicating backup program. Optionally, it supports compression and authenticated encryption.The main goal of Borg is to provide an efficient and secure way to backup data. The data deduplication technique used makes Borg suitable for daily backups since only changes are stored. The authenticated encryption technique makes it suitable for backups to not fully trusted targets.

Main features

Space efficient storage

Deduplication based on content-defined chunking is used to reduce the number of bytes stored: each file is split into a number of variable length chunks and only chunks that have never been seen before are added to the repository.

To deduplicate, all the chunks in the same repository are considered, no matter whether they come from different machines, from previous backups, from the same backup or even from the same single file.

Compared to other deduplication approaches, this method does NOT depend on:

file/directory names staying the same: So you can move your stuff around without killing the deduplication, even between machines sharing a repo.
complete files or time stamps staying the same: If a big file changes a little, only a few new chunks need to be stored -- this is great for VMs or raw disks.
The absolute position of a data chunk inside a file: Stuff may get shifted and will still be found by the deduplication algorithm.


performance critical code (chunking, compression, encryption) is implemented in C/Cython
local caching of files/chunks index data
quick detection of unmodified files

Data encryption

All data can be protected using 256-bit AES encryption, data integrity and authenticity is verified using HMAC-SHA256. Data is encrypted clientside.


All data can be compressed by lz4 (super fast, low compression), zlib (medium speed and compression) or lzma (low speed, high compression).

Off-site backups

Borg can store data on any remote host accessible over SSH. If Borg is installed on the remote host, big performance gains can be achieved compared to using a network filesystem (sshfs, nfs, ...).

Backups mountable as filesystems

Backup archives are mountable as userspace filesystems for easy interactive backup examination and restores (e.g. by using a regular file manager).

Easy installation on multiple platforms

We offer single-file binaries that do not require installing anything -- you can just run them on these platforms:

Mac OS X
OpenBSD and NetBSD (no xattrs/ACLs support or binaries yet)
Cygwin (not supported, no binaries yet)

Free and Open Source Software

security and functionality can be audited independently
licensed under the BSD (3-clause) license

Install Borg On ubuntu 16.04

Open the terminal and run the following command

sudo apt-get install borgbackup borgbackup-doc

Using Brog Backup

Before a backup can be made a repository has to be initialized:

$ borg init /path/to/repo

Backup the ~/src and ~/Documents directories into an archive called Monday

$ borg create /path/to/repo::Monday ~/src ~/Documents

The next day create a new archive called Tuesday

$ borg create -v --stats /path/to/repo::Tuesday ~/src ~/Documents

This backup will be a lot quicker and a lot smaller since only new never before seen data is stored. The --stats option causes Borg to output statistics about the newly created archive such as the amount of unique data (not shared with other archives)

List all archives in the repository

$ borg list /path/to/repo

Monday Mon, 2016-04-15 19:14:44
Tuesday Tue, 2016-04-16 19:15:11

List the contents of the Monday archive:

$ borg list /path/to/repo::Monday

drwxr-xr-x user group 0 Mon, 2016-02-15 18:22:30 home/user/Documents
-rw-r--r-- user group 7961 Mon, 2016-02-15 18:22:30 home/user/Documents/Important.doc

Restore the Monday archive:

$ borg extract /path/to/repo::Monday

Recover disk space by manually deleting the Monday archive:

$ borg delete /path/to/repo::Monday

If you want more details about the automation back check brog documentation.

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One thought on “Borg Backup – Deduplicating backup program

  1. You’d think that for a sponsored article someone could at least proof read and change all the instances of “brog” to “borg”!

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