The Advantages of Automating Your MySQL Backups

by Jul 25, 2019

Performing valid backups of their databases is one of the most important tasks for MySQL DBAs. A typical DBA spends the day maintaining databases and is consistently pressed for time. The sheer number of responsibilities and the limited amount of hours in a day make any strategy that can lessen the load extremely welcome by the database team. One way to relieve some of the stress on the team while minimizing the potential for human error is to automate your MySQL backups. Successful automation can remove concerns about the viability of your database backups and leave your DBAs with one less thing to worry about.

Why You Need to Backup Your Databases

Traditionally, backups have not always been a priority of IT departments and backup plans are often an afterthought. Considering the critical nature of the business data contained in an organization’s databases, this point of view can at best be classified as misguided. Here are some of the reasons you need to ensure that you have working backups of your databases or face the consequences if you choose to take this vitally important process lightly.

Protection against problem system migrations – When a migration goes wrong, your best recourse is to recover to the original environment and start over. The recovery part implies that you have made a backup of the data prior to beginning the migration. An example that impacted many users was the Myspace disaster which cost users 12 years of lost uploads. Lack of foresight led to the loss of customer data that may not be able to be recreated. This is the type of notoriety your company can do without.

Recovering from human error – Despite the best efforts of the database team, accidents happen. What was supposed to be a simple query somehow deleted a whole bunch of records. A good backup will allow the team to recover from this kind of error in a timely manner that will limit its effects on the users of the database. No backup could be disastrous and might lead to some DBA looking for a new place to practice their craft.

Minimizing the impact of cyberattacks – The proliferation of cyberattacks shows no signs of slowing down, and new tactics are constantly being rolled out by determined hackers. Ransomware is more prevalent than ever and can cripple your business if mission-critical systems are impacted by an attack. The presence of recent and valid backups allow you to reconstruct the affected systems and prevent an extended outage.

Demonstrating regulatory compliance – There is a greater emphasis on compliance these days. Demonstrating that you are protecting sensitive data by backing it up may be required to pass a regulatory audit. You don’t want to be the person called upon to explain why there are only sporadic backups of some of your databases.

MySQL Backup Strategies

Once you are convinced that backing up your databases is something you should take seriously, you are faced with the prospect of devising a suitable backup strategy. You have two options and both may be required in certain instances.

Manual backups – You can use the native facilities within your database platform to start manual backups. This strategy should be employed immediately before embarking on an upgrade or migration to protect you in the event that issues arise. Running manual backups as your day-to-day process introduces the possibility of human error. Backups will likely be missed if you rely on the DBA team to manually perform this task regularly.

Scheduled backups – Scheduling your backups to alleviate the human factor seems to be a no-brainer. There are complexities in many environments that can make scheduling your backups challenging. You will need to interact with the underlying operating system and use its functionality to schedule your backups. Relying on cron jobs or Window Task Scheduler just adds another potential point of failure for your backup process. 

Streamlining the Scheduled Backup Process for MySQL Databases

Fortunately, there is a better way to automate your database backup procedures. In particular, if you are working with MySQL databases you can take advantage of the scheduled backup feature of SQLyog. This application offers many features designed to facilitate the management of your MySQL databases. Since we are primarily concerned with backups in this post, let’s concentrate on that aspect of this valuable administrative tool.

SQLyog includes a Scheduled Backup Wizard that allows you to schedule your MySQL backups without leaving the tool. It’s an easy way to ensure that your database is backed up and the data it contains is protected. The Wizard affords a DBA with many options allowing you to fine-tune the data you want to be backed up. You also have options as to how and when your scheduled backup will be run. It’s a great way to lighten the load on your DBAs and eliminate the potential catastrophe that can be the result of a forgotten backup.