Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Removing Files Older Than So Many Days In Linux

On our own home systems, we tend not to run into the issue of files from this product or that product, building up and eating your disk space.  But, when you are dealing with servers and the software that people run on them, preserving space by deleting unnecessary logs and other files, is a necessary skill.

Just as an example, we use Puppet where I work to manage system configurations.  While the puppet logs tend to take up a bit of space on our puppet server after a while, its the puppet reports that end up eating the most space.  

The puppet reports are located in /var/lib/puppet/reports.  Under that directory is/are (potentially) a whole slew of directories, one for each machine that puppetizes off of that master.  In each of those directories are *.yaml files.  A yaml file is created each time puppet runs on a machine and connects to the puppet master.  

So what is the first step in purging the files?  Well, lets start by seeing how many files we are actually talking about.  To do this, you can use the find command:

   find /var/lib/puppet/reports *.yaml | wc -l

What that command does is search the reports directory for all yaml files.  It then reports the total cound of all files found.  Next, lets see how many files we are looking at getting rid of.  Let's say that we are going to keep the last 14 days of files.  For that we would simply modify the above command to be:

   find /var/lib/puppet/reports *.yaml -mtime +14 | wc -l

Again, it will report the total.  You will notice that the number is smaller than the previously reported number.  Now, if you are ready to remove those file, a simple modification will do that for you:

   find /var/lib/puppet/reports *.yaml -mtime +14 -exec rm {} \;

You have to just love the power of the command line in unix.  With just a few keystrokes, you can purge the unneeded files with a single command and a few options.  

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