Backup and Restore in MongoDB

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Backup and Restore

  • backups generally should be done on secondaries
  • or on standalone servers at an off time


Method #1: Filesystem Snapshot

  • the simplest way to make backup
  • filesystem must support snapshotting
  • mongod must run with journaling enabled
  • stop mongod before restoring


# Create the snapshot volume
lvcreate -L128M -s -n dbbackup /dev/ops/databases

# Mount the snapshot volume
mkdir /mnt/ops/dbbackup
mount /dev/ops/dbbackup /mnt/ops/dbbackup

# Do the backup
tar -cf /dev/rmt0 /mnt/ops/dbbackup

# Remove the snapshot
umount /mnt/ops/dbbackup
lvremove /dev/ops/dbbackup


Method #2: Copying Data Files

  • use fsyncLock() before copying files
    • fsycnLock() prevents all databases against any further write
    • saves all dirty data to disk
    • queues all write operations
  • now files are consistent and copying of all files is possible
  • fsyncUnlock() releases the lock and brings back database to normal operations
  • if using authentication do not log out from the console between fsyncLock() and fsyncUnlock()
  • stop mongod before restoring
    • do not restore single database if crash or hard shutdown occurs


> db.fsyncLock()
> db.fsyncUnlock()


Method #3: Using mongodump and mongorestore

  • mongorestore is slower than previous methods and has other downsides
  • good way to backup individual databases or collections
  • it will create a dump directory (with subdirectories for each database) in current directory
  • data is stored in .bson files
  • mongodump can be used when mongod is not running
    • do not use --dbpath when mongod is running
  • when mongodump is running writes are allowed so already backuped data may change before mongodump will finish
    • do not use fsyncLock() when using mongodump
    • use --oplog if you are running mongod with --replSet
  • mongodump will choose secondary when connected to replica set
  • use mongodump and mongorestore in the same version
  • try to avoid this type of backup if you have unique indexes other than _id


mongodump --help
mongodump --port 27017
mongodump --dbpath /var/lib/mongodb
mongorestore --port 27017 --drop
mongodump --port 27017 --oplog
mongorestore --port 27017 --oplogReplay dump/
mongorestore -d dstDB -c dstCollection dump/srcDB/scrColl.bson


Backup of Replica Set

  • all previous methods are OK but 1st and 2nd are recommended (without any modifications)
  • when using mongodump use --oplog
  • when restoring wiht mongorestore:
    1. start a server as a standalone and
    2. restore the data with --oplogReplay and
    3. restore the oplog collection
    4. restart the server as a member of replica


> use local
> db.createCollection("oplog.rs", {"capped" : true, "size" : 1000000})
$ mongorestore -d local -c oplog.rs dump/oplog.bson


Backup of Sharded Cluster

  • usually it can not be done perfectly
  • instead of backing up everything at once, backup servers separately
  • turn off balancer before making backup
  • run mongodump through mongos to backup entire cluster
  • problems with restoring single shard