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Multiple Remote Incremental Backups

Discussion in 'Data Protection' started by Andrew Davis, May 28, 2017.

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  1. Andrew Davis

    Andrew Davis Registered

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    Hello, can someone explain in detail how the new Incremental Backup system of cPanel works?

    As of cPanel & WHM v64 (May 2017), it's method of operation apparently changed.


    Link: 64 Release Notes - Version 64 Documentation - cPanel Documentation

    The New Backup System
    In cPanel & WHM version 64 and later, the new Backup system now functions with a new user interface (UI). This UI automatically converts your Legacy Backup Configuration to the new Backup Configuration system. The new Backup system also now supports multiple incremental backups.


    Link: May 2017 Development Update | cPanel Blog

    Multiple Remote Incremental Backups
    One of the most exciting things included in version 64 was the ability to retain more than one incremental backup, and be able to restore from those backups with ease. In 66 we’ve expanded that improvement to include a new remote destination called SSH + Rsync, allowing you to retain multiple incremental backups on a remote server. In version 58 we also added support for MDBox, which reduces the number of inodes required for email. Moving to MDBox can significantly reduce the amount of time that your incremental backups take. If you’re testing Incremental Backups in 64, or in 66, make sure to take a look at it!


    Could someone please explain in detail the difference between the two (previous and new Incremental Backup system of cPanel)?

    From what I think I understand, the previous Incremental Backup system may have been more of a "Replacement Backup", where newly changed/new files are continuously added to the original full backup archive.

    While a true Incremental Backup, first makes one full backup archive, then creates separate subsequent backup archives at each run, which only contains all new and newly changed files since the last backup run.

    In this way, there will be as many backup archives as the number of times the backup process was executed.


    Additionally, I would like to copy or transfer (move) my backups from my cPanel server to Amazon S3 at least once, or several times per week.

    Is this new Incremental Backup system compatible with Amazon S3 storage in some way?

    If not available via the WHM Backup Configuration, can someone explain how I can regularly transfer each new incremental backup archive from my server to Amazon S3?

    Thanks!
    Andrew
     
  2. 24x7serversecurity

    24x7serversecurity Active Member

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    Yes, previously, the Incremental Backup was done in this way only. Firstly, full backup was taken and then add newly changed files to the original Full Backup.

    Incremental Backup does not support Additional Destinations, so you won't be able to transfer the Incremental backups to any remote server. In order to get your backup to Remote server, you will need to set Full Compressed/Uncompressed backups.
     
  3. cPanelMichael

    cPanelMichael Forums Analyst
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    Hello,

    Prior to cPanel 64, systems could only have a single incremental backup for each account with no support for additional retention periods (e.g. multiple copies). In cPanel version 64, we added the ability to store more than one copy of an incremental backup on a server. Support for storing incremental backups on a remote destination such as Amazon S3 is not yet available, but is planned for cPanel version 66:

    Support for remote incremental backups

    Thank you.
     
  4. nunoperalta

    nunoperalta Member

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    Hi Michael,

    Could you please clarify how does Incremental manage multiple copies?

    Will every copy have ALL the files of the system being backed up, or will they only have the differences from the previous backup?

    What I don't understand is how is Multiple Incremental different from the Uncompressed Backup option.

    Suddenly, cPanel started dating the incremental backup, in different folders, which appeared to be messed up for me. Seemed like Uncompressed with retention. And since I didn't see an option to change that behavior, I actually thought this was a bug from cPanel.

    Thank you.
     
  5. Andrew Davis

    Andrew Davis Registered

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    Hello @cPanelMichael, thanks for your response.

    However, could you explain a bit more clearly how the new procedure works?
    Myself and others still do not have a clear understanding.


    For example, lets say (theoretically) there are just 10 files on the server to be backed-up initially:

    (1st Run - Week 1)
    Page1.php, Page2.php, Page3.php ... Page10.php

    On the first run (Incremental Backup v64), all 10 of these files will be added to an archive as backup.

    I set the incremental backup to run just once per week.
    Just one new file is added to the server each week.


    (2nd Run - Week 2)
    Page11.php


    (3rd Run - Week 3)
    Page12.php


    (4th Run - Week 4)
    Page13.php


    By the 4th Run of Incremental Backups, what will be the composition of the backup archive(s)?


    Prior to cPanel v64, I believe that ALL of the files would have been added to ONE archive.
    The archive would be continuously updated each time the backup is executed.

    Arcive1 = Page1.php, Page2.php, Page3.php ... Page10.php , Page11.php, Page12.php, Page13.php



    Now with cPanel v64, can you give me an example of what the composition of the backup archive(s) will look like?

    Will it be like this? Or some other way?
    Arcive1 = Page1.php, Page2.php, Page3.php ... Page10.php
    Arcive2 = Page11.php
    Arcive3 = Page12.php
    Arcive4 = Page13.php



    Also the way you said this, makes it seem a bit "Optional" to me.
    As though you could either keep one updating backup archive, or multiple ones.
    So I'm not quite sure what to expect.

    Thanks for your assistance.
    Andrew
     
    #5 Andrew Davis, May 29, 2017
    Last edited by a moderator: May 30, 2017
  6. cPanelMichael

    cPanelMichael Forums Analyst
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    Incremental backups make use of hard links for files that have not changed to avoid duplicating data that already exists. Here's a thread where this is discussed in more detail:

    How do the backups work exactly?

    Uncompressed backups are stored in archives, just without compression. A full backup generation of the entire account occurs during each backup generation. With incremental backups, the system saves only updated account information to the existing backup files (which are not stored in archives), rather than backing up the entire account each time.


    For instance, you can enable incremental backups, and then choose the following settings under "Scheduling and Retention" in "WHM >> Backup Configuration":

    Backup Daily - Checked
    Days Checked - All
    Retention - 1
    Backup Weekly - Unchecked
    Backup Monthly - Unchecked


    This would result in the backup system maintaining a single copy of the account username with any new files added to it's corresponding directory during each backup generation.

    Now, let's say you kept the settings the same, except you changed "Retention" to "2". This would keep two backup directories at all times (e.g. Monday's backup and Tuesday's backup). After Monday's backup, and before Tuesday's backup, let's say a user added 123.php to their account. Tuesday's backup would include this change, but Monday's backup would not. On Wednesday's backup run (since every day is enabled in this example), the user does not make any additional changes, but since retention is set to "2", the available backups become the ones generated on Tuesday and Wednesday and both include 123.php. The backup without 123.php no longer exists because it's beyond the retention period and thus is pruned.

    Thank you.
     
  7. Andrew Davis

    Andrew Davis Registered

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    Thanks for your responses @cPanelMichael.

    So from what I understand, the "Retention" option basically allows you to have different "time states/versions" of a full backup of your account.

    If I ran Incremental backups weekly only,
    and used a Retention setting of "5",
    I should basically always be maintaining a history of all my account's files/settings for the past 5 weeks.

    I could revert to "week 3's" version of the account if I wanted, for example, by restoring that backup.

    However, if my account and files remained completely unchanged for the entire 5 week period, then I will end up having 5 duplicate backup versions of my account (each having the same content)?


    I think it would be "smarter" of the system to not prune the oldest/older backups, and maybe skip the backup process if absolutely no new changes are detected.

    It doesn't benefit having two identical backup copies.

    However, I guess this is not a common scenario for most active accounts anyway.


    I think I have a fair enough understanding of the new Incremental Backup process now.
    Thanks for your help,
    -Andrew
     
  8. cPanelMichael

    cPanelMichael Forums Analyst
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    Hello Andrew,

    That's mostly correct, however note that the multiple copies of incremental backups are not duplicated on the file system. Instead, the backup system uses hard links to save disk space. The initial post on the following thread includes information about how that works:

    How do the backups work exactly?

    Thank you.
     
  9. Andrew Davis

    Andrew Davis Registered

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    Thanks again Michael,
    That's very good news then.
    I was indeed a bit worried about wasted disk-space before.

    I believe I am satisfied with these options.
    Kind regards!
     
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