Both xtrabackup and innobackupex tools supports incremental backups, which means that they can copy only the data that has changed since the last backup.
You can perform many incremental backups between each full backup, so you can set up a backup process such as a full backup once a week and an incremental backup every day, or full backups every day and incremental backups every hour.
Incremental backups work because each InnoDB page contains a log sequence number, or LSN. The LSN is the system version number for the entire database. Each page’s LSN shows how recently it was changed.
An incremental backup copies each page whose LSN is newer than the
previous incremental or full backup’s LSN. There are two algorithms in
use to find the set of such pages to be copied. The first one, available with
all the server types and versions, is to check the page LSN directly by
reading all the data pages. The second one, available with Percona Server, is
to enable the changed page tracking
feature on the server, which will note the pages as they are being changed.
This information will be then written out in a compact separate so-called
bitmap file. The xtrabackup binary will use that file to read only the data
pages it needs for the incremental backup, potentially saving many read
requests. The latter algorithm is enabled by default if the xtrabackup binary
finds the bitmap file. It is possible to specify
xtrabackup --incremental-force-scan to read all the pages even if the
bitmap data is available.
Incremental backups do not actually compare the data files to the previous
backup’s data files. In fact, you can use
xtrabackup --incremental-lsn to perform an incremental backup without
even having the previous backup, if you know its LSN. Incremental
backups simply read the pages and compare their LSN to the last
backup’s LSN. You still need a full backup to recover the incremental
changes, however; without a full backup to act as a base, the incremental
backups are useless.
Creating an Incremental Backup¶
To make an incremental backup, begin with a full backup as usual. The
xtrabackup binary writes a file called
the backup’s target directory. This file contains a line showing the
to_lsn, which is the database’s LSN at the end of the backup.
Create the full backup with a following command:
$ xtrabackup --backup --target-dir=/data/backups/base
If you look at the
xtrabackup_checkpoints file, you should see similar
content depending on your LSN nuber:
backup_type = full-backuped from_lsn = 0 to_lsn = 1626007 last_lsn = 1626007 compact = 0 recover_binlog_info = 1
Now that you have a full backup, you can make an incremental backup based on it. Use the following command:
$ xtrabackup --backup --target-dir=/data/backups/inc1 \ --incremental-basedir=/data/backups/base
/data/backups/inc1/ directory should now contain delta files, such
test/table1.ibd.delta. These represent the
changes since the
LSN 1626007. If you examine the
xtrabackup_checkpoints file in this directory, you should see similar
content to the following:
backup_type = incremental from_lsn = 1626007 to_lsn = 4124244 last_lsn = 4124244 compact = 0 recover_binlog_info = 1
from_lsn is the starting LSN of the backup and for incremental it has to be
the same as
to_lsn (if it is the last checkpoint) of the previous/base
It’s now possible to use this directory as the base for yet another incremental backup:
$ xtrabackup --backup --target-dir=/data/backups/inc2 \ --incremental-basedir=/data/backups/inc1
This folder also contains the
backup_type = incremental from_lsn = 4124244 to_lsn = 6938371 last_lsn = 7110572 compact = 0 recover_binlog_info = 1
In this case you can see that there is a difference between the
(last checkpoint LSN) and
last_lsn (last copied LSN), this means that
there was some traffic on the server during the backup process.
Preparing the Incremental Backups¶
xtrabackup --prepare step for incremental backups is not the same
as for full backups. In full backups, two types of operations are performed to
make the database consistent: committed transactions are replayed from the log
file against the data files, and uncommitted transactions are rolled back. You
must skip the rollback of uncommitted transactions when preparing an
incremental backup, because transactions that were uncommitted at the time of
your backup may be in progress, and it’s likely that they will be committed in
the next incremental backup. You should use the
xtrabackup --apply-log-only option to prevent the rollback phase.
If you do not use the
xtrabackup --apply-log-only option to
prevent the rollback phase, then your incremental backups will be useless.
After transactions have been rolled back, further incremental backups cannot
Beginning with the full backup you created, you can prepare it, and then apply the incremental differences to it. Recall that you have the following backups:
/data/backups/base /data/backups/inc1 /data/backups/inc2
To prepare the base backup, you need to run
xtrabackup --prepare as
usual, but prevent the rollback phase:
$ xtrabackup --prepare --apply-log-only --target-dir=/data/backups/base
The output should end with some text such as the following:
InnoDB: Shutdown completed; log sequence number 1626007 161011 12:41:04 completed OK!
The log sequence number should match the
to_lsn of the base backup, which
you saw previously.
This backup is actually safe to restore as-is now, even though the rollback phase has been skipped. If you restore it and start MySQL, InnoDB will detect that the rollback phase was not performed, and it will do that in the background, as it usually does for a crash recovery upon start. It will notify you that the database was not shut down normally.
To apply the first incremental backup to the full backup, run the following command:
$ xtrabackup --prepare --apply-log-only --target-dir=/data/backups/base \ --incremental-dir=/data/backups/inc1
This applies the delta files to the files in
rolls them forward in time to the time of the incremental backup. It then
applies the redo log as usual to the result. The final data is in
/data/backups/base, not in the incremental directory. You should see
the output similar to:
incremental backup from 1626007 is enabled. xtrabackup: cd to /data/backups/base xtrabackup: This target seems to be already prepared with --apply-log-only. xtrabackup: xtrabackup_logfile detected: size=2097152, start_lsn=(4124244) ... xtrabackup: page size for /tmp/backups/inc1/ibdata1.delta is 16384 bytes Applying /tmp/backups/inc1/ibdata1.delta to ./ibdata1... ... 161011 12:45:56 completed OK!
Again, the LSN should match what you saw from your earlier inspection of the
first incremental backup. If you restore the files from
/data/backups/base, you should see the state of the database as of the
first incremental backup.
Preparing the second incremental backup is a similar process: apply the deltas to the (modified) base backup, and you will roll its data forward in time to the point of the second incremental backup:
$ xtrabackup --prepare --target-dir=/data/backups/base \ --incremental-dir=/data/backups/inc2
xtrabackup --apply-log-only should be used when merging all
incrementals except the last one. That’s why the previous line doesn’t contain
xtrabackup --apply-log-only option. Even if the
xtrabackup --apply-log-only was used on the last step, backup would
still be consistent but in that case server would perform the rollback phase.