Easy Database Backups with Zmanda Recovery Manager for MySQL

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Zmanda Recovery Manager makes it easy to dump your database and that homegrown backup solution you've been using and meaning to replace.

Recently, I had a chance to test the community edition of Zmanda Recovery Manager for MySQL. I was partly testing to make sure it worked with MariaDB, Monty Program's drop-in replacement for MySQL, but I also was testing to see whether it would work well for our own database backups.

Monty Program has arguably the most in-depth knowledge of the MySQL codebase on the planet. But apart from some large servers we use for performance and other testing, our actual database usage and needs are similar to many other small- to medium-size companies. For our Web sites, we need only a couple small database servers. The datasets for each database are not large, a couple hundred megabytes each. But, we still don't want to lose any of it, so backups are a must.

I've long used a homegrown set of shell scripts to manage backing up our databases. They're simple and work well enough to get the job done. They lack some features that I've never gotten around to implementing, such as automated retention periods and easy restores. The setup process also is more involved than I would prefer. They get the job done, but I've always wanted something a little better, and I've never had the time to do it myself.

This is where Zmanda Recovery Manager for MySQL enters the picture. ZRM Enterprise edition was reviewed by Alolita Sharma in the September 2008 issue of Linux Journal, but I'm never very interested in Enterprise editions. They always have proprietary bits, and I've never trusted GUI tools as much as their command-line counterparts. Luckily, where there is an “enterprise” version there almost always is a “community” version lurking somewhere in the shadows.

Like many other community editions, Zmanda Recovery Manager for MySQL, Community Edition (let's just call it ZRM) lacks the “flashy bits”. Things like the graphical “console” application, Windows compatibility, 24x7 support and other high-profile features of its Enterprise sibling are missing in the Community version. But the essentials are there, and it has one big feature I like: it is fully open source (GPL v2). The key metric, however, is does it do what I need it to do?

To find out, I set up a small test environment (I didn't want to test on live, production databases) and gave it a spin. See the Setting Up a Test Environment sidebar for details on what I did prior to installing and testing ZRM.

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A few questions...

Mike Diehl's picture

Daniel,

I enjoyed reading your article and hope that ZRM will solve a problem I have.

I sometimes have the desire to restore just a single table from a backup set, particularly, if I can restore it into a new table. Do you know if Zmanda can do that?

On the website, I see a few screenshots of a scheduling utility. I assume that I'm looking at the Enterprise version, right?

Is it safe to assume that with Zmanda, I'll still be using shell script, but the tools will just be better?

Finally, would you like to take a few sentences to make a case for me to try MariaDB? I currently have a MM replicated Mysql DB.

Thanks,
Mike Diehl.

Mike Diehl is a freelance Computer Nerd specializing in Linux administration, programing, and VoIP. Mike lives in Albuquerque, NM. with his wife and 3 sons. He can be reached at mdiehl@diehlnet.com

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