Is it possible to change the default Magento backup folder (
var/backup/) to a different/external folder?
We want to keep the Magento folder as small as possible and save those backups in a different location.
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As Marius puts it - you have to edit model to specify new path (this is sad, would be great to be on config), but this puts you at risk during next Magento update. After Magento update your backups will start going to the same default location.
I'd create a filesystem symlink from magento_install/var/backups/ to your external (non-website) location.
ln -s /whatever_your_external_localtion/ ./backups/