svn-backup is a simple tool meant to make backing up multiple subversion repositories easy and efficient. Most of the tools that exist today are overly complex, rely on specific svn backends or filesystems, create too many unnecessary files, or otherwise don't fit my needs.

svn-backup generates portable subversion dumpfiles that can be loaded into nearly any repository. It relies on the little-known fact that incremental dumpfiles can simply be appended to an existing dumpfile. svn-backup creates a full dumpfile on first run, and then continually appends to that dumpfile. In this way, 100 subversion repositories will only ever be contained within 100 dumpfiles, no matter how many times the backup process is run. You'll never again have to waste time combining N files per repository in just the right order to restore your backup.

This gives you the advantage of full backups at the smaller cost of an incremental.

svn-backup will optionally compress your backups. Much like subversion dumpfiles, distinct gzip files can be concatenated to form one continuous compressed stream [1]. svn-backup utilizes this property to keep incremental backups fast on large repositories by avoiding a complete gunzip/gzip cycle.

svn-backup maintains state from previous backups to ensure dumpfile integrity. It will refuse to append to a dumpfile that doesn't match the previously generated file, but will instead generate a full backup. If the youngest repository revision hasn't changed, svn-backup won't do anything.

The resulting dumpfiles can easily be backed up via tools such as rsync. Because svn-backup only adds the differences between revisions to an existing file, rsync will be very bandwidth efficient.


Add this line to your application's Gemfile:

gem 'svn-backup'

And then execute:

$ bundle

Or install it yourself as:

$ gem install svn-backup


svn-backup assumes that you have number of subversion repositories located at a common root:


A sample configuration file (in YAML format) might look like this:

 :svn_root: /var/svn
 :svnadmin: /usr/bin/svnadmin
 :svnlook: /usr/bin/svnlook
 :svn_backup: /var/backup/svn
 :repository_state: /var/backup/repositories.yaml
 :gzip: true
 :gzip_path: /bin/gzip
 :quiet: false

In this case, subversion repositories will be inspected at /var/svn, and the resulting dumpfiles will be located at /var/backup/svn.

As new repositories are found, state information about each one will appear in the file specified by repository_state. Be sure to place this somewhere consistent. If you delete it, svn-backup will generate full backups for every repository.


 Usage: svn-backup [options]
    -h, --help                       Usage information
    -q, --quiet                      Output less status information
    -c, --config FILE                Config file
    -v, --version                    Version


svn-backup generates simple subversion dumpfiles that can be loaded with svnadmin.

Step 1: Create an empty repository

 svnadmin create /var/svn/repository_1

Step 2: Load the dumpfile

 svnadmin load /var/svn/repository_1 < repository_1.dumpfile

Step 3: There is no step 3!

A simple bash command can load all repositories at once:

 find . -type f -name "*.dumpfile" | while read i; do repository_name=`basename "$i" .dumpfile`; svnadmin create "$repository_name" && svnadmin load "$repository_name" < "$i"; done

Or, if gzipped:

 find . -type f -name "*.dumpfile.gz" | while read i; do repository_name=`basename "$i" .dumpfile.gz`; svnadmin create "$repository_name" && zcat "$i" | svnadmin load "$repository_name"; done


Please note that upgrading from 0.1.x to 0.2.x will cause a full backup of every repository due to differing state information in repositories.yaml.


svn-backup is copyright 2010 Adam Lamar and distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL). See the LICENSE file for further information.


  1. Fork it
  2. Create your feature branch (git checkout -b my-new-feature)
  3. Commit your changes (git commit -am 'Added some feature')
  4. Push to the branch (git push origin my-new-feature)
  5. Create new Pull Request