MariaDB database backup and restore

Kolla Ansible can facilitate either full or incremental backups of data hosted in MariaDB. It achieves this using Mariabackup, a tool designed to allow for ‘hot backups’ - an approach which means that consistent backups can be taken without any downtime for your database or your cloud.


By default, backups will be performed on the first node in your Galera cluster or on the MariaDB node itself if you just have the one. Backup files are saved to a dedicated Docker volume - mariadb_backup - and it’s the contents of this that you should target for transferring backups elsewhere.

Enabling Backup Functionality

For backups to work, some reconfiguration of MariaDB is required - this is to enable appropriate permissions for the backup client, and also to create an additional database in order to store backup information.

Firstly, enable backups via globals.yml:

enable_mariabackup: "yes"

Then, kick off a reconfiguration of MariaDB:

kolla-ansible -i INVENTORY reconfigure -t mariadb

Once that has run successfully, you should then be able to take full and incremental backups as described below.

Backup Procedure

To perform a full backup, run the following command:

kolla-ansible -i INVENTORY mariadb_backup

Or to perform an incremental backup:

kolla-ansible -i INVENTORY mariadb_backup --incremental

Kolla doesn’t currently manage the scheduling of these backups, so you’ll need to configure an appropriate scheduler (i.e cron) to run these commands on your behalf should you require regular snapshots of your data. A suggested schedule would be:

  • Daily full, retained for two weeks

  • Hourly incremental, retained for one day

Backups are performed on your behalf on the designated database node using permissions defined during the configuration step; no password is required to invoke these commands.

Furthermore, backup actions can be triggered from a node with a minimal installation of Kolla Ansible, specifically one which doesn’t require a copy of passwords.yml. This is of note if you’re looking to implement automated backups scheduled via a cron job.

Restoring backups

Owing to the way in which Mariabackup performs hot backups, there are some steps that must be performed in order to prepare your data before it can be copied into place for use by MariaDB. This process is currently manual, but the Kolla Mariabackup image includes the tooling necessary to successfully prepare backups. Two examples are given below.


For a full backup, start a new container using the Mariabackup image with the following options on the first database node:

docker run --rm -it --volumes-from mariadb --name dbrestore \
   --volume mariadb_backup:/backup \ \
(dbrestore) $ cd /backup
(dbrestore) $ rm -rf /backup/restore
(dbrestore) $ mkdir -p /backup/restore/full
(dbrestore) $ gunzip mysqlbackup-04-10-2018.qp.xbc.xbs.gz
(dbrestore) $ mbstream -x -C /backup/restore/full/ < mysqlbackup-04-10-2018.qp.xbc.xbs
(dbrestore) $ mariabackup --prepare --target-dir /backup/restore/full

Stop the MariaDB instance on all nodes:

kolla-ansible -i multinode stop -t mariadb --yes-i-really-really-mean-it

Delete the old data files (or move them elsewhere), and copy the backup into place, again on the first node:

docker run --rm -it --volumes-from mariadb --name dbrestore \
   --volume mariadb_backup:/backup \ \
(dbrestore) $ rm -rf /var/lib/mysql/*
(dbrestore) $ rm -rf /var/lib/mysql/\.[^\.]*
(dbrestore) $ mariabackup --copy-back --target-dir /backup/restore/full

Then you can restart MariaDB with the restored data in place.

For single node deployments:

docker start mariadb
docker logs mariadb
81004 15:48:27 mysqld_safe WSREP: Running position recovery with --log_error='/var/lib/mysql//wsrep_recovery.BDTAm8' --pid-file='/var/lib/mysql//'
181004 15:48:30 mysqld_safe WSREP: Recovered position 9388319e-c7bd-11e8-b2ce-6e9ec70d9926:58

For multinode deployment restores, a MariaDB recovery role should be run, pointing to the first node of the cluster:

kolla-ansible -i multinode mariadb_recovery -e mariadb_recover_inventory_name=controller1

The above procedure is valid also for a disaster recovery scenario. In such case, first copy MariaDB backup file from the external source into mariadb_backup volume on the first node of the cluster. From there, use the same steps as mentioned in the procedure above.


This starts off similar to the full backup restore procedure above, but we must apply the logs from the incremental backups first of all before doing the final preparation required prior to restore. In the example below, I have a full backup - mysqlbackup-06-11-2018-1541505206.qp.xbc.xbs, and an incremental backup, incremental-11-mysqlbackup-06-11-2018-1541505223.qp.xbc.xbs.

docker run --rm -it --volumes-from mariadb --name dbrestore \
   --volume mariadb_backup:/backup --tmpfs /backup/restore \ \
(dbrestore) $ cd /backup
(dbrestore) $ rm -rf /backup/restore
(dbrestore) $ mkdir -p /backup/restore/full
(dbrestore) $ mkdir -p /backup/restore/inc
(dbrestore) $ gunzip mysqlbackup-06-11-2018-1541505206.qp.xbc.xbs.gz
(dbrestore) $ gunzip incremental-11-mysqlbackup-06-11-2018-1541505223.qp.xbc.xbs.gz
(dbrestore) $ mbstream -x -C /backup/restore/full/ < mysqlbackup-06-11-2018-1541505206.qp.xbc.xbs
(dbrestore) $ mbstream -x -C /backup/restore/inc < incremental-11-mysqlbackup-06-11-2018-1541505223.qp.xbc.xbs
(dbrestore) $ mariabackup --prepare --target-dir /backup/restore/full
(dbrestore) $ mariabackup --prepare --incremental-dir=/backup/restore/inc --target-dir /backup/restore/full

At this point the backup is prepared and ready to be copied back into place, as per the previous example.