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Thread: Zimbra Open Source Backup without stopping the server

  1. #11
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    ok. After a while I realized that I could not send/receive emails. Error: mail already existes
    Is this because I didn't backup my ldap stuff?

    thanks a lot for your time and sorry about the late reply but I live in europe and I was sleeping.

  2. #12
    eli.mit is offline New Member
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    what would be the problem with making an LVM snapshot while zimbra is running and then copying the files using rsync off the snapshot? This should avoid any inconsistencies. Would there still be a problem with locked files? From what i have read, LVM should have a way to unlock all files on the snapshot - if so, can someone tell me how to do it?

  3. #13
    zmailcc is offline Member
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    Default LVM would take snapshot of files that are in transition

    Quote Originally Posted by eli.mit View Post
    what would be the problem with making an LVM snapshot while zimbra is running and then copying the files using rsync off the snapshot? This should avoid any inconsistencies. Would there still be a problem with locked files? From what i have read, LVM should have a way to unlock all files on the snapshot - if so, can someone tell me how to do it?
    The problem is that LVM takes a snapshot of the current state of the volume. It then maintains this snapshot as things change in the volume. The snapshot contains any of the out of sync problems mentioned earlier. Neither the LVM snapshot nor rsync force Zimbra to get files and databases in sync. If an email arrives or a user makes a change like deleting some mail, there is a real possibility that the mysql database and the message store are out of sync. Zimbra has changed one and not had a chance to update the other when you take the snapshot. You capture this with the snapshot and save it with rsync.

    I have found it to not be a problem to quickly shutdown Zimbra, take the snapshot, and restart Zimbra. It is only down for a short time (less than 2 minutes) when most users are asleep. Other MTAs simply retry, if they send email to us and find our server down. I have tried having the client open reading and responding to emails at the time the backup starts and found it almost unnoticeable.

    Charley

  4. #14
    eli.mit is offline New Member
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    Thanks for the reply.
    It is not too bad for us to take down the server for a few minutes (about 5-7 on our machine - not the fanciest) but our server is used worldwide and therefore I would like to find a solution that avoids this, doing it at night is not an option .
    I understand that, as you say, store and mysql may not be in sync but the result should be the same as simply pulling the plug on the machine and then restarting it. I imagine Zimbra can handle such an event and apart from a few mails not being present things should load normally. Since the idea is to make a daily backup this is not a problem for me.
    Am I wrong? Is there an actual chance that after such an event the server will not recover?
    Eli

  5. #15
    phoenix is offline Zimbra Consultant & Moderator
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    Quote Originally Posted by eli.mit View Post
    It is not too bad for us to take down the server for a few minutes (about 5-7 on our machine - not the fanciest) but our server is used worldwide and therefore I would like to find a solution that avoids this, doing it at night is not an option .
    The only alternative is to use NE if you want a reliable backup without stopping ZCS.

    Quote Originally Posted by eli.mit View Post
    I understand that, as you say, store and mysql may not be in sync but the result should be the same as simply pulling the plug on the machine and then restarting it. I imagine Zimbra can handle such an event and apart from a few mails not being present things should load normally.
    If you think that a power outage on a server is 'safe' and you can restart it without problems then you're mistaken, take a look trough the forums for the misfortunes of people to whom it's happened.

    Quote Originally Posted by eli.mit View Post
    Am I wrong? Is there an actual chance that after such an event the server will not recover?
    As has been mentioned before, you can't guarantee it's consistency - if you like playing Russian roulette then continue with that strategy, you may get lucky.
    Regards


    Bill


    Acompli: A new adventure for Co-Founder KevinH.

  6. #16
    zmailcc is offline Member
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    I cannot comment on how well Zimbra will restart from power failures. Being paranoid about such things -- even Linux restarting after a power failure -- I have good uninterruptible power supplies on the Zimbra servers that I run, with software to quickly shut them down. Personally I would not want to gamble that I could recover a system based on assumptions that a backup of a running Zimbra folder might work. As phoenix said, if it is critical to do a backup without shutting down Zimbra, then you probably need to buy NE Zimbra.

    Interesting that it takes 5 to 7 minutes to stop Zimbra, take the snapshot, and restart Zimbra. On one of my servers with an older Dell PowerEdge box it takes less than 3 minutes. Even on a more or less "toy" system using an Intel Atom processor it only takes 4 minutes. Most of the time is in the shutdown and restart. It only takes a second or so to do the snapshot.

    Charley

  7. #17
    shzeeshan.haider is offline Junior Member
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    Default Zimbra Open Source Backup without stopping the server

    Yes you can do hot (without stopping the server) backup and restore it, as I did and it works on Zimbra 8.0.6_GA_5922.FOSS and OS Version: RHEL6.4(64bit)
    I would recommend it is better to shutdown the zimbra services once in a week to take cold backup.

  8. #18
    phoenix is offline Zimbra Consultant & Moderator
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    Quote Originally Posted by shzeeshan.haider View Post
    Yes you can do hot (without stopping the server) backup and restore it, as I did and it works on Zimbra 8.0.6_GA_5922.FOSS and OS Version: RHEL6.4(64bit)
    What happens on the day that it won't restore correctly? You can not guarantee that every time you do a backup with a running server that the ZCS files will be in a consistent state when you try to restore it, one day it will fail.
    Regards


    Bill


    Acompli: A new adventure for Co-Founder KevinH.

  9. #19
    shzeeshan.haider is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by phoenix View Post
    What happens on the day that it won't restore correctly? You can not guarantee that every time you do a backup with a running server that the ZCS files will be in a consistent state when you try to restore it, one day it will fail.
    I 100% agreed with Bill, Thats why I said "I recommend, you should shutdown the zimbra services once in a week to take cold backup, rather than hot backup, which is not guarantee"

  10. #20
    KiegKhan is offline Active Member
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    Comment? If you are running a Hyper-V or VMware host and snapshot the VM, when the VM is restored it is running as if it was never shut down at that point in time. What is the implications in this scenario? The only thing I can think of is if a message was in transit through the MTA at this time it would be the same as if the network cable was pulled, would Zimbra be able to manage that sort of failure or would you end up with an inconsistent backup.
    Does Linux have any such solution like Windows VSS? Is that what NE is relying on, or something else?
    Obviously the best backup strategy is to stop Zimbra and perform the backup for a 100% consistent result. Anything less and you are risking the integrity of the backup. What is more important, ensuring the integrity of your server or interrupting some users for a very small fraction of time in the most quiet period of operations? If your policies clearly articulate this process then users should have a clear understanding that there is a short outage at a pre-set time. If your organisation cannot tolerate that, then they are using the wrong solution.
    By the way, using Community Edition like this would appear to contravene the 2014 EULA section 2.c and 3.j.

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