Making an Incremental Backup

Backup all the InnoDB data and log files - located in /var/lib/mysql/ - once, then make two daily incremental backups in /data/backups/mysql/ (destination). Finally, prepare the backup files to be ready to restore or use.

Create one full backup

Making an incremental backup requires a full backup as a base:

xtrabackup --backup --target-dir=/data/backups/mysql/

It is important that you do not run the --prepare command yet.

Create two incremental backups

Suppose the full backup is on Monday, and you will create an incremental one on Tuesday:

xtrabackup --backup --target-dir=/data/backups/inc/tue/ \

and the same policy is applied on Wednesday:

xtrabackup --backup --target-dir=/data/backups/inc/wed/ \

Prepare the base backup

Prepare the base backup (Monday’s backup):

xtrabackup --prepare --apply-log-only --target-dir=/data/backups/mysql/

Roll forward the base data to the first increment

Roll Monday’s data forward to the state on Tuesday:

xtrabackup --prepare --apply-log-only --target-dir=/data/backups/mysql/ \

Roll forward again to the second increment

Roll forward again to the state on Wednesday:

xtrabackup --prepare --apply-log-only --target-dir=/data/backups/mysql/ \

Prepare the whole backup to be ready to use

Create the new logs by preparing it:

xtrabackup --prepare --target-dir=/data/backups/mysql/


  • You might want to set the --use-memory to speed up the process if you are on a dedicated server that has enough free memory. More details here.
  • A more detailed explanation is here.
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