Backing up MySQL with Holland

Taken directly from the vendors website, Holland is an Open Source backup framework originally developed at Rackspace and written in Python. Its goal is to help facilitate backing up databases with greater configurability, consistency, and ease. Holland is capable of backing up other types of data, too. Because of its plugin structure, Holland can be used to backup anything you want by whatever means you want.

Notable Features
– Pluggable Framework
– Supports Multiple Backup Sets
– Database and Table Filtering (Using GLOBs)
– Auto-Detection of Transactional DBs
– Safe use of –single-transaction with mysqldump
– In-Line and Pluggable Compression
– Backups Suitable for Point-In-Time Recovery / Replication
– MySQL + LVM Snapshot and Logical Backups
– PostgreSQL backups using pgdump


How to install Holland on Ubuntu / Debian

As the packages don’t exist in the distro’s repositories, pull them from the official repositories.

This works on the followings OS’s:
– Ubuntu 12.04
– Ubuntu 14.04
– Ubuntu 14.10
– Ubuntu 16.04
– Debian 7
– Debian 8

You can setup the repo by running the following on the commandline as root:

eval $(cat /etc/os-release)
[ $ID == "debian" ] && DIST="Debian_${VERSION_ID}.0"
curl -s${DIST}/Release.key | sudo apt-key add -
echo "deb${DIST}/ ./" > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/holland.list

Then install Holland:

apt-get update
apt-get install holland holland-mysqldump holland-common

How to install Holland on CentOS and RedHat

The holland packages exist in the EPEL repositories. Using the list below, install the EPEL repo for your distro:

# CentOS 5 / RedHat 5
rpm -ivh
# CentOS 6 / RedHat 6
rpm -ivh

# CentOS 7 / RedHat 7
rpm -ivh

Then install Holland by:

yum install holland holland-mysqldump holland-common

How to configure Holland

Now that Holland is installed, its now time to configure it.

First create the backup directory where you will be storing your database backups:

mkdir -p /var/lib/mysqlbackup

Then configure holland to store the backups in the directory created above:

vim /etc/holland/holland.conf
backup_directory = /var/lib/mysqlbackup
backupsets = default

Next we setup default backupset within Holland that will control the retention period, compression, credentials, etc:

cat << EOF > /etc/holland/backupsets/default.conf
## Default Backup-Set
## Backs up all MySQL databases in a one-file-per-database fashion using
## lightweight in-line compression and engine auto-detection. This backup-set
## is designed to provide reliable backups "out of the box", however it is
## generally advisable to create additional custom backup-sets to suit
## one's specific needs.
## For more inforamtion about backup-sets, please consult the online Holland
## documentation. Fully-commented example backup-sets are also provided, by
## default, in /etc/holland/backupsets/examples.
plugin = mysqldump
backups-to-keep = 7
auto-purge-failures = yes
purge-policy = after-backup
estimated-size-factor = 1.0
# This section defines the configuration options specific to the backup
# plugin. In other words, the name of this section should match the name
# of the plugin defined above.
file-per-database       = yes
#lock-method        = auto-detect
#databases          = "*"
#tables             = "*"
#stop-slave         = no
#bin-log-position   = no
# The following section is for compression. The default, unless the
# mysqldump provider has been modified, is to use inline fast gzip
# compression (which is identical to the commented section below).
method = gzip
options = "--rsyncable"
defaults-extra-file       = /root/.my.cnf

In order for Holland to backup the databases, setup the /root/.my.cnf by running:

cat << EOF > /root/.my.cnf

Now setup the nightly cronjob that will run Holland:

cat << EOF > /etc/cron.d/holland
30 3 * * * root /usr/sbin/holland -q bk

Finally, run the backup job to ensure Holland works. Please note this will lock your tables when it runs, so do not run this during peak times as it could cause downtime for your site or application!

/usr/sbin/holland -q bk

You can verify Holland ran successfully by checking the logs:

tail -f /var/log/holland/holland.log
2015-12-16 03:58:01,789 [INFO] Wrote backup manifest /var/lib/mysqlbackup/default/20151216_035801/backup_data/MANIFEST.txt
2015-12-16 03:58:01,793 [INFO] Executing: /usr/bin/mysqldump --defaults-file=/var/lib/mysqlbackup/default/20151216_035801/my.cnf --flush-privileges --max-allowed-packet=128M --lock-tables mysql
2015-12-16 03:58:01,888 [ERROR] /usr/bin/mysqldump[25783]: -- Warning: Skipping the data of table mysql.event. Specify the --events option explicitly.
2015-12-16 03:58:01,888 [INFO] Final on-disk backup size 181.77KB
2015-12-16 03:58:01,889 [INFO] 26.47% of estimated size 686.67KB
2015-12-16 03:58:01,889 [INFO] Backup completed in 0.24 seconds
2015-12-16 03:58:01,902 [INFO] Purged default/20151209_035801
2015-12-16 03:58:01,902 [INFO] 1 backups purged
2015-12-16 03:58:01,909 [INFO] Released lock /etc/holland/backupsets/default.conf
2015-12-16 03:58:01,909 [INFO] --- Ending backup run ---

Holland Tips and Tricks

Below are some of the more common tips and tricks for working with Holland. There are broken down as follows:
1. Alternate username for Holland
2. Change Default Retention
3. Hourly Backups
4. Backing up 2 or more database servers

1. Alternate username for Holland

For security purposes, a client may want to have a user, other then root, performing the Holland backups. To configure this, first create a new MySQL user for Holland:

flush privileges;

Now update /etc/holland/backupsets/default.conf to reflect the new credentials:

vi /etc/holland/backupsets/default.conf
# defaults-file       = /root/.my.cnf
user = holland_backup
password = secretpassword

2. Change Default Retention

This guide sets Holland to keep 7 backups of your databases. Please note that this does not mean 7 days as it makes the assumption that you are only running one Holland backup job each night.

With that said, if you wanted to configure a retention of 14 days, you would update “backups-to-keep” in /etc/holland/backupsets/default.conf as shown below:

vi /etc/holland/backupsets/default.conf
plugin = mysqldump
backups-to-keep = 14
auto-purge-failures = yes

3. Hourly Backups

You can configure Holland to be more aggressive with how often it runs. Assuming we have a MySQL Slave server with a small database, and we want
– Holland backups every 4 hours
– 7 day retention

You would first update the cronjob as follows:

vi /etc/cron.d/holland
30 */4 * * * root /usr/sbin/holland -q bk

Now update the “backups-to-keep” in /etc/holland/backupsets/default.conf to keep 42 backups (6 backups a day * 7 days) as shown below

vi /etc/holland/backupsets/default.conf
plugin = mysqldump
backups-to-keep = 42
auto-purge-failures = yes

4. Backing up 2 or more database servers

An environment may have two or more database servers. Perhaps they exist on another server, or perhaps they are using something like Rackspace Cloud Database, or Amazon RDS. Below is how you can configure Holland to backup multiple targets:

First, create a copy of the default.conf we configured in this guide to serve as a starting point:

cd /etc/holland/backupsets/
cp default.conf clouddatabase.conf

Now update the clouddatabase.conf to configure the remote database server IP and credentials. You must comment out the defaults-extra-file as shown below:

vim clouddatabase.conf

#defaults-extra-file = /root/.my.cnf

# define external database information

host     =
user     = holland
password = your_holland_mysql_password_here
port     = 3306

Now update your retention settings:

vi /etc/holland/backupsets/clouddatabase.conf
plugin = mysqldump
backups-to-keep = 7
auto-purge-failures = yes

Finally, update the holland.conf to include your second config file:

vim /etc/holland/holland.conf
backupsets = default, clouddatabase

Finally, run the backup job to ensure Holland works. Please note this will lock your tables which it runs, so do not run this during peak times as it could cause downtime for your site or application!

/usr/sbin/holland -q bk