1. MySQL Backup Tools

ZRM for MySQL

If you have ever dealt with MySQL, chances are you heard of a utility called Zmanda Recovery Manager. ZRM is a perl-based utility used to automate the recovery of MySQL databases. Today, we’ll try to take a closer look at it.

What is ZRM and Why is It Useful?

As previously noted, Zmanda Recovery Manager is a utility that provides MySQL DBAs with an easy-to-use and flexible backup solution for MySQL servers. At the time of writing, ZRM supports any storage engine, but is limited to the older MySQL versions – it only supports MySQL 4.1.x and MySQL 5.x. The main features of the tool vary depending on the edition that is chosen (ZRM Community or ZRM Enterprise), but in general, they include:

  • A management console for MySQL backups;
  • Supporting both raw and logical backups;
  • Supporting full and incremental backups;
  • Windows support;
  • A web-based management console.

ZRM differs from other backup techniques by offering the following features (the feature list is not exhaustive, but by looking at it you should get a basic understanding of how the tool functions):

  • ZRM allows you to schedule full and incremental backups of your MySQL database;
  • ZRM allows you to choose the types of backups that will be performed;
  • ZRM allows you to perform a backup that will be the best fit for your MySQL storage engine;
  • ZRM allows you to define data retention policies and delete backups that you do not need;
  • ZRM also allows you to monitor your backups.

The community version of the tool also comes with 24/7 support.

How do I use ZRM?

The answer is pretty simple – you use a GUI provided by Zmanda. The GUI lets you choose what do you want to backup, where do you want your backups to be located, also when and how should the backups be performed. Simply put, ZRM can be summarized in four words – “what”, “where”, “when” and “how”. Here’s a quick summary:

  • First, specify the information about your MySQL server. You should provide ZRM with the server and connection type, the port number, the host, and the username and password used to log in to the MySQL server – that’s the “what” part.
  • Next, you can choose where do you want your backups to go – that’s the “where” part. Zmanda Recovery Manager allows you to provide it with a backup destination also allowing you to set a data retention policy (data can be stored up to specified amount of days, weeks, months or years).
  • Now, specify when to backup the database – you can set a schedule and your data will be backed up according to that schedule. For example, you can backup the database when you come to the “when” page by selecting what kind of backup do you want to take or you can also schedule backups to be performed, say, in full every single day at midnight. Schedules can be added, modified, or deleted.
  • You can also choose how do you want your backups to be performed. Among other things, ZRM allows you to choose the backup mode (raw, logical, or snapshot), you are allowed to specify the email address that the reports will be emailed to, you can specify the default character set, whether you want compression to be enabled or not, set the snapshot type, etc.

To get a more complete understanding of the product, consider watching the demo of Zmanda Recovery Manager 3.

Summary

The Zmanda Recovery Manager provides a robust and flexible backup solution for MySQL. Before choosing the tool as your primary MySQL backup solution though, be sure to understand its benefits and drawbacks and weigh all of your options.

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