Backup Server Slow Down

Recently I noticed that my backup server was slowing down. Doing system checks told me that it wasn’t running out of memory, nor was the CPU being highly utilised. It was only when I went into the server room and noticed that the hard drive activity light was persistently on that I realised what was causing the slow down.

I ran iotop and analysed what process was continually writing to the disk. I noticed this process was updatedb.mlocate. This is the Ubuntu indexing process, which goes through all the files indexing them to make searching much quicker. As this backup server uses backuppc and has years worth of backups, it has many thousands of files to be indexed and meant that updatedb.mlocate (which is run daily) was taking longer than 24 hours to index.

To solve this problem I edited the file /etc/updatedb.conf and added the backuppc directory to the line that tells updatedb.mlocate not to index files within a certain path. This is simply done by adding “/var/lib/backuppc” to the end of the line that starts off with “PRUNEPATHS=”.

So mine now reads: PRUNEPATHS=”/tmp /var/spool /media /var/lib/backuppc”