Skip to content

Schedule backups

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.

    $ vim /etc/default/pbm-cron
    $ vim /etc/sysconfig/pbm-cron
  2. Specify the environment variable in pbm-cron:

    $ export PBM_MONGODB_URI="mongodb://pbmuser:secretpwd@localhost:27017?/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.

    $ touch 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.

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

    $ grep CRON /var/log/syslog

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 start running only 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.

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.

Version added: 2.1.0

Starting with version 2.1.0, you can use the pbm cleanup --older-than command to delete outdated backup snapshots and point-in-time recovery oplog slices. Learn more about how PBM deletes outdated data in the Clean up outdated data section.

You can configure a cron task to automate storage cleanup by specifying the following command in the crontab file:

$ /usr/bin/pbm cleanup -y --older-than 30d --wait

This command deletes backups and oplog slices that are older than 30 days. You can change the period by specifying a desired interval for the --older-than flag.

For PBM version 2.0.5 and earlier, use 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.

Get expert help

If you need assistance, visit the community forum for comprehensive and free database knowledge, or contact our Percona Database Experts for professional support and services.

Last update: May 23, 2024
Created: May 23, 2024