September 2, 2014

Introduction to Percona XtraBackup 2.1 (MySQL webinar & more)

Percona XtraBackupPercona XtraBackup 2.1 has been in GA now for a little over four months and has some impressive new features to improve backup performance, security, and storage requirements. When used with Percona Server, additional features are enabled that can provide even more dramatic performance improvements.

Percona XtraBackup is open source, free MySQL hot backup software that performs non-blocking backups for InnoDB and XtraDB databases. In addition to this post, a great place to get detailed information on Version 2.1 will be at my MySQL webinar Sept. 11 at 10 a.m. Pacific time. It’s titled “Percona XtraBackup 2.1: MySQL Backup Efficiency, Reliability, and Security” and I invite you to join me. And please feel free to ask questions in advance down in the comments section.

Here is a short list of just a few noteworthy features that you may want to consider using in your backup scheme:

Real incremental backups for Percona XtraDB
In a traditional incremental backup of an InnoDB database, only the data pages that have been changed since some previously defined point (LSN) will be copied into the backup set. In order to discover which pages to write out, each page must be read into memory in order to obtain its LSN. So sure, the backup set should be smaller than a full backup, but, the entire database being backed up still has to be read.

When backing up Percona Server 5.5 or 5.6 with XtraDB, Percona XtraDB can now be configured to maintain a ‘bitmap’ file that keeps track of what pages have been changed since a particular LSN. Percona XtraBackup will recognize the existence of this bitmap file and only read those pages that have been flagged as being changed which can drastically improve backup time and reduce the amount of page reads required.

Compact backups for Percona XtraDB
Some applications make extensive use of secondary indexes within InnoDB tables. We know that the InnoDB primary key contains all row data and that secondary indexes are only a subset of columns from the primary key. So in theory, we should be able to backup only the primary key data and rebuild the secondary indexes later when needed..

Percona XtraBackup can now ‘filter’ out these secondary index pages during the backup process to help reduce the overall size of the backup. When a restore is required, Percona XtraBackup will rebuild these secondary indexes from the primary key which also has the side effect of defragmenting these indexes giving another little performance boost.

REDO log based backups for Percona XtraDB
What if instead of running a backup program periodically you could just have the server generate a continuous stream of change info that you can collect off server and build up a series of ready to go backup sets? Sound familiar? Yup, the InnoDB REDO log already does that, sort of. So why not extend the functionality and create a really useful way of making backups?

Percona Server with XtraDB 5.6 now has an option to preserve or archive the REDO logs as a series of sequentially numbered files, allowing them to be simply moved away to some other location at your desire. You can then use Percona XtraBackup 2.1 to replay as many or as few of these REDO logs onto an existing backup set, effectively allowing you to perform a point in time recovery right down to the specific LSN that you want to restore up to.

Encrypted backups
Data encryption has been around for some time but now in this world of heightened security concerns, data encryption and protection has taken center stage and incurs a necessary and sometimes painful performance cost.

Percona XtraBackup now has built in multi-threaded encryption that uses the gcrypt library to compress your data using the standard symmetric AES encryption algorithm. In some cases you can even get your high-dollar processor more involved by making use of the AES-NI instruction set which helps to reduce the number of processor cycles required to perform the encryption. Our benchmarks have shown that with a little tuning of the number of threads and encryption block size you can achieve up 40% better backup speed without AES-NI over piping your backup through gpg with identical encryption algorithm and keys.

Percona XtraBackup 2.1: MySQL Backup Efficiency, Reliability, and SecurityConclusion
Percona XtraBackup 2.1 has a lot to talk about, if you want to hear more, once again please join me for my upcoming webinar on Wednesday, Sept. 11 at 10 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time for: “Percona XtraBackup 2.1: MySQL Backup Efficiency, Reliability, and Security.

About George O. Lorch III

George joined the Percona development team in April 2012. George has over 20 years of experience in software support, development, architecture and project management. Prior to joining Percona, George was focused on Windows based enterprise application server development and network protocol classification and optimization with heavy doses of database schema design, architecture and tuning.

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