Defined your MySQL backup & recovery plan recently?

February 17, 2010

Following up on Ronald Bradford's Checked your MySQL recovery process recently? post, I wish to add a prequel.

To see whether you have a clear definition of your backup requirements, ask yourself these questions:

  • Is there a backup/restore plan?
  • Is there a written backup/restore plan?
  • How fast do you need to recover a backup? What's the longest downtime you will allow from the point of failure to the point of restored, functional database?
  • How much data are you willing to lose in case of crash? A second's worth of data? An hour's worth? A day's worth? None?
  • Are you willing to allow that the database becomes read-only when taking the backup? Or completely down?
  • Are you willing to take the risk that the backup will not be 100% compatible with the data? (Backing up your slave holds this risk)
  • Is your manager willing to all that you are willing?
  • Is the backup plan known to the management team, or do they just know that "the database has backups"?

The above checklist is by no means complete.

I have a vivid memory of a very good sys admin who failed on the last two points. He had some very sour days when recovering a lost file from tape took much longer than was affordable to some contract.

I found that technical people rarely share the same views as marketing/management. Make sure to consult with the management team; they will have a clearer view on what the company can afford and what it cannot afford.

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