Database Backups 101: What to Monitor for a Database Backup

Database Backups 101: What to Monitor for a Database Backup

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Sarojini Devi Nagappan
07 January 2021

You may have a perfect database backup plan in place and follow it by a timeline to create and manage your backups, but are you completely sure of its validity? When you restore a database backup, you assume that the backups are valid, point-in-time and zero data loss just to realise this is often not the case. 

A research statistic in a disaster recovery blog states 60% of all backups are incomplete, creating only partial backups, and up to 50% of data restores can fail. This only goes on to prove, organisations concentrate on creating backups without giving any thoughts to periodic backup monitoring. 

This blog will give you an idea on what are the common areas to monitor database backup for reliable database backup at any point of time. Also, get to know automated tools like Backup Ninja, it lets you monitor your open source database backups efficiently with its dynamic information rich monitoring dashboard.

What to Monitor in a Database Backup

There are many different areas to ensure you have a fresh, valid and secure set of database backups available to be restored when required. Following are pointers to look out for when monitoring database backups, manually or automatically:

  • Backup storage: Check on storage capacity periodically and the status of the server or the cloud service. Check how fast the storage is consumed by the database backup and the free available space for the upcoming scheduled backups. Suppose the backup storage space usage has spiked up at an abnormal rate. In that case, it could indicate a faulty backup process due to various factors, including external security threat.
  • Backup success rate:  Keep a tab on the success rate backup trend which depends on the backup frequency in your backup plan. Having a log on the success rate helps to understand backup process performance over time and gives insights if any preventive action is required.
  • Backup restore activity: Check on the backup restoration activity. Planned backup restoration activity and its success rate is a good indicator for backup data validity.
  • Failed Backups: Check on any failed backups and the reason for the failure. A failure in the backup process could be due to connection, the storage capacity or service interruption.
  • Backup duration: Monitor how long it takes to create individual backup copies. Ideally, the duration should be consistent for different backups unless there was a change in data volume or backup process.

It is possible to monitor the above database backup areas manually, but it is a tedious and time-consuming process and requires a dedicated resource on-site to manage these efficiently. In most organisations, data plays a heavy role in business and can’t afford to lose data or have extended downtime. If your mission-critical systems can't afford long periods of downtime or data loss, then you should invest in a backup tool or services like Backup Ninja, Veeam, Solarwinds to manage and monitor your database in an automated way. 

Database Backup Monitoring on Backup Ninja

Backup Ninja is a backup service uniquely designed to backup open-source databases like MySQL, MariaDB PostgreSQL, MongoDB, TimeScaleDB and Percona using a simple web-based interface without in a scriptless way. All you need to do is have a Backup Ninja agent installed on your server and follow the four on-screen guided steps to schedule your backups in minutes. With Backup Ninja dashboard you don’t have to worry about having a dedicated resource to monitor your database backups, its backup monitoring dashboard provides you with the necessary insights on your database backup.

Database Backup Monitoring on Backup Ninja

At a glance from the dashboard, you can view the server’s status the agent is installed in, backup status indicating the completed, failed and running backups upcoming scheduled backups backup size, backup duration and backups scheduled for deletion. You can customise the data according to a specific timeline , which is very useful for reporting.

You can also view and monitor details on  individually scheduled backups, which shows the different details of the individual backups  taken at the defined frequency.

Database Backup Monitoring on Backup Ninja

Conclusion

In conclusion, monitoring database backups is vital, but it's a tedious task if done manually. It’s best to have a backup tool as part of your backup and recovery planning. Not only it saves time and reduces errors but it also allows you to have secured backups for faster restoration. Whether you have a testing environment  or production database, you should have automated backup tools like Back Ninja to manage and monitor open source databases efficiently.

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