Getting the Most Out of Your Backups Part 2

Hello again. In our previous article on backups, we went over our backup system, R1Soft CDP, how to access the control panel, restore backups, and perform a Bare Metal Restore for disaster recovery. In addition to restores, you can perform some more tasks, such as policy management and reports via email.

For each server and disk safe, you are given a single backup policy. By default, the policy will back up any connected disk partitions in full, and keep them for five days. In the control panel, you can view this policy by clicking on Policy in the lower left pane, and then clicking on the actual policy name in the upper right pane. You will be able to see the vital information about the policy, such as the associated Server & Disk Safe. Also shown is the last edit time, and the Schedule for Replication, Merges, and Verification. Since backups are billed per GB, your first concern may be to ensure that your 500 GB of video data in a specific folder is not included. To add exclusions, you can easily click on the policy's 'Edit' icon on the far right column, and then click on the 'File Excludes' tab. You will then be shown the current partitions on the server. You can drill down and select folders/files, much like if you were performing a restore. Once you are done making your selections, you can hit Save.

Modifying the amount of backup points and the backup schedule is simple as well. While editing the policy, you can set the schedule for Replication (Backup), Merges (when old backups are removed), and Verification. Generally, we recommend that backups be done daily, and that merges are done as soon as the backup is complete. Verification can be done 12 hours after the backup starts. To increase/decrease the amount of Recovery Points, click on the Data Retention tab, and enter a number under 'Number of Recovery Points to Retain'. Note that the more points you retain, the larger your Disk Safe will generally be.

Another important feature of the policy is application support. At this time, CDP has additional support for MySQL Server, MSSQL Server, and Exchange Server. Detection of MSSQL/Exchange is automatic, and all you have to do is select the tab for them in the policy, and choose 'Backup All'. MySQL requires a MySQL user account with full access to all databases. The easiest way to set this up is to create a MySQL user separate from the root account, and give it access to all databases. Here is an example query you can run in MySQL as root on your server to create the account:

GRANT ALL PRIVILEGES TO 'r1backup'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'somepassword'; FLUSH PRIVILEGES;

This will create a user account named r1backup with password somepassword that has access to all databases. Then, while editing the policy, you can click on the MySQL tab, and choose the 'Add New MySQL Instance Button'. Select all defaults, and enter the login you setup when prompted. When you get to the final screen, you can click on the 'Test MySQL Connection' button to verify that the agent can access the MySQL instance. The nice thing about this is that it also works for MySQL Server forks, such as Percona and MariaDB. Once your policy begins working with the instance, you can restore from it under Recovery Points by clicking on the 'Browse Databases' icon. You can restore databases and even individual tables. Similar to file restores, you can also choose to overwrite the existing DB/table, or to restore to a different or new database.

Now with your policy configured to your specifications, you will want to know your backups are running properly. CDP has basic reporting and SMTP functionality that can send reports to your email. To set up a new report, click on Reporting in the control panel. On the upper left pane, click on 'Create New Report'. There are a lot of options here. Generally, you can use whatever you wish for the Name, E-Mail Subject, Frequency, and Recipients. For the report filter, I generally recommend to Filter by Task State, and then choose the states 'Error' and 'Cancelled'. This way, you can easily tell if a backup failed or was cancelled.

With this information, you should have full control over your backups, and as a result full control over your solution. If you ever need assistance with CDP's functions and configurations, don't hesitate to open a support ticket. Were here 24x7x365, just like your backups.