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Schedule backups

In Percona Backup for MongoDB version 1.4.1 and earlier, we recommend using crond or similar services to schedule backup snapshots.


Before configuring crond, make sure that you have installed and configured Percona Backup for MongoDB to make backups in your database. Start a backup manually to verify this: pbm backup.

The recommended approach is to create a crontab file in the /etc/cron.d directory and specify the command in it. This simplifies server administration especially if multiple users have access to it.

pbm CLI requires a valid MongoDB URI connection string to authenticate in MongoDB. Instead of specifying the MongoDB URI connection string as a command line argument, which is a potential security risk, we recommend creating an environment file and specify the export PBM_MONGODB_URI=$PBM_MONGODB_URI statement within.

As an example, let’s configure to run backup snapshots on 23:30 every Sunday. The steps are the following:

  1. Create an environment file. Let’s name it pbm-cron. The path for this file on Debian and Ubuntu is /etc/default/pbm-cron. For Red Hat Enterprise Linux and CentOS, the path is /etc/sysconfig/pbm-cron.

  2. Specify the environment variable in pbm-cron:

    export PBM_MONGODB_URI="mongodb://pbmuser:secretpwd@localhost:27018?/replSetName=xxxx"
  3. Grant access to the pbm-cron file for the user that will execute the cron task.

  4. Create a crontab file. Let’s name it pbm-backup.

  5. Specify the command in the file:

    30 23 * * sun <user-to-execute-cron-task> . /etc/default/pbm-cron; /usr/bin/pbm backup

Note the dot . before the environment file. It sources (includes) the environment file for the rest of the shell commands.

  1. Verify that backups are running in /var/log/cron or /var/log/syslog logs:

    $ grep CRON /var/log/syslog

Backup storage cleanup

Previous backups are not automatically removed from the backup storage. You need to remove the oldest ones periodically to limit the amount of space used in the backup storage.

We recommend using the pbm delete backup --older-than <timestamp> command. You can configure a cron task to automate backup deletion by specifying the following command in the crontab file:

/usr/bin/pbm delete-backup -f --older-than $(date -d '-1 month' +\%Y-\%m-\%d)

This command deletes backups that are older than 30 days. You can change the period by specifying a desired interval for the date function.

Schedule backups with Point-in-Time Recovery running

It is convenient to automate making backups on a schedule using crond if you enabled Point-in-Time Recovery.

You can configure Point-in-Time Recovery and crond in any order. Note, however, that Point-in-Time Recovery will only start running after at least one full backup has been made.

  • Make a fresh backup manually. It will serve as the starting point for incremental backups

  • Enable point-in-time recovery

  • Configure crond to run backup snapshots on a schedule

When it is time for another backup snapshot, Percona Backup for MongoDB automatically disables Point-in-Time Recovery and re-enables it once the backup is complete.