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Mountable, compressed full disk backup in Linux

2016-07-20 14:50:16,  In: Linux, Hack

The biggest problem with compressed full-disk backups in Linux is "all or nothing" philosophy. If you make an image by streaming dd's output to GZip, making a ".img.gz" file, you will end with file which needs decompression before any processing. Want to extract one file - decompress everything! And you need storage for it.
As a help, we can use SquashFS - a compressed file system used in embedded device systems. To start, let's boot the computer off you favourite distro not to run from disk under backup and mount the drive which will be backed up (in this example it's mounted in /mnt/custom).
Then let's fill the empty space up:
root@sysresccd /mnt/custom % dd if=/dev/zero of=/mnt/custom/rubbish.tmp bs=16384
According to your drive you can use smaller or larger block sizes (bs). When it finally ends, we will get a drive filled to the maximum. Remove the file we created:
root@sysresccd /mnt/custom % rm /mnt/custom/rubbish.tmp
This way, we've completely blanked a free...

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