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Point-in-time recovery

Version added: 1.3.0

Point-in-time recovery is restoring a database up to a specific timestamp. This includes restoring the data from a backup snapshot and replaying all events that occurred to this data up to a specified time from oplog slices.

Advantages Disadvantages
Helps you prevent data loss during a disaster such as a crashed database, accidental data deletion or drop of tables, and unwanted update of multiple fields instead of a single one. Restore takes longer since it requires you to restore the backup and then replay oplog events on top of it.

Enable point-in-time recovery

Set the pitr.enabled configuration option to true.

$ pbm config --set pitr.enabled=true
  enabled: true

The pbm-agent starts saving consecutive slices of the oplog periodically. A method similar to the way replica set nodes elect a new primary is used to select the pbm-agent that saves the oplog slices. (Find more information in pbm-agent.)

Restore to a point-in-time

Oplog slicing

To start saving oplog slices, the following preconditions must be met:

  • A full backup snapshot is required. Starting with version 2.3.0, it can be a logical, a physical or an incremental backup. Make sure that a backup exists. See the Make a backup guide to make a backup snapshot.
  • Point-in-time recovery routine is enabled.

Point-in-time recovery routine is enabled.

If you just enabled point-in-time recovery, it requires 10 minutes for the first slice to appear in the pbm list output.


For in MongoDB 5.0 and higher versions

If you reshard a collection, make a fresh backup and re-enable point-in-time recovery oplog slicing to prevent data inconsistency and restore failure.

Starting with version 2.4.0, oplog slicing runs in parallel with a backup snapshot operation. Thereby if a backup snapshot is large and takes hours to make, all oplog events are saved for it ensuring point-in-time recovery to any timestamp.

Oplog duration

Version added: 1.6.0

By default, a slice covers a 10-minute span of oplog events. It can be shorter if point-in-time recovery is disabled or interrupted by the start of a backup snapshot operation.

You can change the duration of an oplog span via the configuration file. Specify the new value (in minutes) for the pitr.oplogSpanMin option.

$ pbm config --set pitr.oplogSpanMin=5
  oplogSpanMin: 5

If you set the new duration when the pbm-agent is making an oplog slice, the slice’s span is updated right away.

If the new duration is shorter, this triggers the pbm-agent to make a new slice with the updated span immediately. If the new duration is larger, the pbm-agent makes the next slice with the updated span in its scheduled time.

Compressed oplog slices

Version added: 1.7.0

The oplog slices are saved with the s2 compression method by default. You can specify a different compression method via the configuration file. Specify the new value for the pitr.compression option.

$ pbm config --set pitr.compression=gzip
  compression: gzip

Supported compression methods are: gzip, snappy, lz4, s2, pgzip, zstd.

Additionally, you can override the compression level used by the compression method by setting the pitr.compressionLevel option. The default values differ for each compression level.

Note that the higher value you specify, the more time and computing resources it will take to compress the data.


You can use different compression methods for backup snapshots and point-in-time recovery slices. However, backup snapshot-related oplog is compressed with the same compression method as the backup itself.

View oplog slices

The oplog slices are stored in the pbmPitr subdirectory in the remote storage defined in the config. A slice name reflects the start and end time this slice covers.

The pbm list output includes the following information:

  • Backup snapshots. As of version 1.4.0, it also shows the completion time (renamed to the restore_to_time in version 2.0.0)
  • Valid time ranges for recovery
  • Point-in-time recovery status
$ pbm list

  2021-08-04T13:00:58Z [restore_to_time: 2021-08-04T13:01:23Z]
  2021-08-05T13:00:47Z [restore_to_time: 2021-08-05T13:01:11Z]
  2021-08-06T08:02:44Z [restore_to_time: 2021-08-06T08:03:09Z]
  2021-08-06T08:03:43Z [restore_to_time: 2021-08-06T08:04:08Z]
  2021-08-06T08:18:17Z [restore_to_time: 2021-08-06T08:18:41Z]

PITR <off>:
  2021-08-04T13:01:24 - 2021-08-05T13:00:11
  2021-08-06T08:03:10 - 2021-08-06T08:18:29
  2021-08-06T08:18:42 - 2021-08-06T08:33:09

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Last update: June 11, 2024
Created: June 11, 2024