Easy Database Backups with Zmanda Recovery Manager for MySQL
At the end of my evaluation, I decided to use ZRM for our database backups. My use case is logical backups over the network, and for those, the Open Source community edition of ZRM works very well.
I like how easy scheduling new backups and creating new backup jobs is. With Zmanda, I can configure backups for a new database server effortlessly, something that could not be said about my homegrown solution. Restores also are easy, which will be appreciated if the unthinkable happens and I need to restore from a backup. And, thanks to ZRM's use of standard tools, even if I can't restore using ZRM, the backup contains a file that I can load into the database manually either as-is (if I'm not encrypting or compressing my backups) or after a little processing using the standard gunzip and GPG tools.
Zmanda Recovery Manager for MySQL is not perfect. During my testing, I was never able to get raw backups working properly over the network, for example. Another issue, though minor, is that the man pages have formatting issues that make them hard to read. Some of the error messages are not the most informative as well, and the documentation could be improved and expanded. But, the software is built using solid open-source tools, it doesn't try to re-invent the wheel at every turn, and it works for the backups I want to do.
In the end, the thing that tipped the scales for me was that ZRM offers several things that my homegrown scripts do not. These include automatically creating a checksum for verifying that a backup is still good, faster and very customizable setup for new database servers, and easy restores. I could add all of these to my scripts, given time. But it's time I don't have at the moment, and I never seem to have enough (if you know where to find some, let me know). So despite some rough edges, I've found Zmanda Recovery Manager for MySQL, Community Edition to be a good backup solution for all my MariaDB servers.
Daniel Bartholomew works for Monty Program (montyprogram.com) as a technical writer and system administrator. He lives with his wife and children in North Carolina and can often be found hanging out on #maria and #linuxjournal on Freenode IRC.
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One of the best things about the UNIX environment (aside from being stable and efficient) is the vast array of software tools available to help you do your job. Traditionally, a UNIX tool does only one thing, but does that one thing very well. For example, grep is very easy to use and can search vast amounts of data quickly. The find tool can find a particular file or files based on all kinds of criteria. It's pretty easy to string these tools together to build even more powerful tools, such as a tool that finds all of the .log files in the /home directory and searches each one for a particular entry. This erector-set mentality allows UNIX system administrators to seem to always have the right tool for the job.
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