Backup Monkey

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A monkey that makes sure you have a backup of your EBS volumes in case something goes wrong.

It is designed specifically for Amazon Web Services (AWS), and uses Python and Boto.

This script is designed to be run on a schedule, probably by CRON.


usage: backup-monkey [-h] [--region REGION]
                     [--max-snapshots-per-volume SNAPSHOTS] [--snapshot-only]
                     [--remove-only] [--verbose] [--version]

Loops through all EBS volumes, and snapshots them, then loops through all
snapshots, and removes the oldest ones.

optional arguments:
  -h, --help            show this help message and exit
  --region REGION       the region to loop through and snapshot (default is
                        current region of EC2 instance this is running on).
                        E.g. us-east-1
  --max-snapshots-per-volume SNAPSHOTS
                        the maximum number of snapshots to keep per EBS
                        volume. The oldest snapshots will be deleted.
                        Default: 3
  --snapshot-only       Only snapshot EBS volumes, do not remove old snapshots
  --remove-only         Only remove old snapshots, do not create new snapshots
  --verbose, -v         enable verbose output (-vvv for more)
  --version             display version number and exit


Create snapshots of all EBS volumes in us-east-1:

backup-monkey --region us-east-1

Delete snapshots of EBS volumes in us-west-1 where a volume has more than 5 snapshots:

backup-monkey --region us-west-1 --max-snapshots-per-volume 5 --remove-only


You can install Backup Monkey using the usual PyPI channels. Example:

sudo pip install backup_monkey

You can find the package details here:

Alternatively, if you prefer to install from source:

git clone
cd backup-monkey
python install


Make no mistake. This script WILL delete snapshots. This script WILL create snapshots, which can cost you money. There really are no warranties or guarantees. For costs, refer to

Source Code

The Python source code for Backup Monkey is available on GitHub:


Copyright 2013 Answers for AWS LLC

Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (the "License"); you may not use this file except in compliance with the License. You may obtain a copy of the License at

Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software distributed under the License is distributed on an "AS IS" BASIS, WITHOUT WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, either express or implied. See the License for the specific language governing permissions and limitations under the License.

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