Posts Tagged ‘backup’

Carbonite Online Backup is a fraud

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

Do not listen to the hype or the advertising. Carbonite backup solution is a fraud. I never realized the extent of the failures of the software until I had a problem, which is when you expect and demand commercial software you pay for to work.

Ironically, looking now via Google search for Carbonite restore problems there are plenty of horror stories. And just to add to the experience, the definition of Carbonite in the dictionary is “Explosive”.

Here is the first red flag. You logon to the website, and if you click on “View Files”, or under the “Backup” tab with a nice cloud icon you click “Access Files”, there is no information available. You will receive the error “We are unable to access your files on this computer right now. Please contact Customer Support at http://www.carbonite.com/support for further assistance.”. What is really means is “Until your computer is online and your Carbonite software is working, you have no access to the details of your files that are apparently backed up.”

When you contact customer support, they have no idea what that message means, and after wasting your time (for me in a chat session), a ticket was opened with technical support. The problem is there is no way to track your ticket online, get updates, post information etc. I minimized the window, and now my chat session is closed (most likely by the rather ill informed customer representative). Guess what? There is no information about the ticket number in your account. So I may as not every had that conversation, any evidence of it is now lost.

I was told that until a technical support person could access my computer there was no way I could access my files. WTF? If there is no centralized list or log of my files on your backup solution, and no way to see this, how do I know you ever backed up my files. A fancy progress bar that flashes and says backing up files. Any 2 year old can write that faux display. Red flag number 2. It seems the only way to see my files is to install this software on yet another system to restore files. That is as Google Searching indicates, a likely lesson in extreme frustration

The ultimate cause of the problem was my system crashed, and when it restarted, Cabonite software was in this stuck state of “Registering”. I was told to just re-install the software, that’s not an answer in my books. That is red flag number 3.

I have definitely removed my credit card from their site to stop any automatic renewal of this crap software.

For the record, my home office backup solution includes important files on a Drobo. Backups of Documents to DropBox and then sync’d to another system. Backup of all files on several machines to a central external USB, and then regular backups of that which are taken offsite.

You cannot be too careful with important things like photos. Unfortunately this solution lacks a central catalog, and versioning of files (I.e. I overwrote an important presentation and did not realize for a few months, when I looked at all my backups of this, 3 or 4 copies, they were all the overwritten file, not the original. It took about a day to actually find a copied version, not a backed up version)

What compression do you use?

Friday, July 13th, 2012

The following is an evaluation of various compression utilities that I tested when reviewing the various options for MySQL backup strategies. The overall winner in performance was pigz, a parallel implementation of gzip. If you use gzip today as most organizations do, this one change will improve your backup compression times.

Details of the test:

  • The database is 5.4GB of data
  • mysqldump produces a backup file of 2.9GB
  • The server is an AWS t1.xlarge with a dedicated EBS volume for backups

The following testing was performed to compare the time and % compression savings of various available open source products. This was not an exhaustive test with multiple iterations and different types of data files.

Compression
Utility
Compression Time
(sec)
Decompression Time
(sec)
New Size
(% Saving)
lzo (-3) 21 34 1.5GB (48%)
pigz (-1) 43 33 995MB (64%)
pigz (-3) 56 34 967MB (67%)
gzip (-1) 81 43 995MB (64%)
fastlz 92 128 1.3GB (55%)
pigz [-6] 105 25 902MB (69%)
gzip (-3) 106 43 967MB (67%)
compress 145 36 1.1GB (62%)
pigz (-9) 202 23 893MB (70%)
gzip [-6] 232 78 902MB (69%)
zip 234 50 902MB (69%)
gzip (-9) 405 43 893MB (70%)
bzip2 540 175 757MB (74%)
rzip 11 minutes 360 756MB (74%)
lzo (-9) 20 minutes 82 1.2GB (58%)
7z 33 minutes 122 669MB (77%)
lzip 47 minutes 132 669MB (77%)
lzma 58 minutes 180 639MB (78%)
xz 59 minutes 160 643MB (78%)

Observations

  • The percentage savings and compression time of results will vary depending on the type of data that is stored in the MySQL database.
  • The pigz compression utility was the surprising winner in best compression time producing at least a size of gzip. This was a full 50% faster than gzip.
  • For this compression tests, only one large file was used. Some utilities work much better with many smaller files.

Find our more information of these tests and the results in Effective MySQL: Backup and Recovery

Checked your MySQL recovery process recently?

Monday, February 15th, 2010

I sound like a broken record with every client when I talk to about the resilience of their production environments. It’s very simple in theory, however in practice many organizations fail.

Ask yourself these checklist questions for your MySQL backup and recovery process?

  1. Do you have MySQL backups in place?
  2. Do you backup ALL your MySQL data?
  3. Do you have consistent MySQL backups?
  4. Do you have backups that include both static snapshot and point in time transactions?
  5. Do you review your backup logs EVERY SINGLE day or have tested backup monitoring in place?
  6. Do you perform a test recovery of your static backup?
  7. Do you perform a test recovery to point in time?
  8. Do you time your backup and recovery process and review over time?
  9. Do you have off-site copies of your backups?
  10. Do you backup your primary binary logs?

In the past month I’ve discovered clients that have an online only business (i.e. Their MySQL data is their only tangible asset), they perform daily backups but they don’t have binary logging enabled. I’ve also discovered an example of backup logs not being checked, and an underlying mysqldump error was resulting in an incomplete backup, yet the backup script apparently completed successfully.

Disaster is inevitable.

If you don’t score 8 or better in the above checklist in your business, you are at higher risk. If you are a owner/founder/executive this should keep you awake at night if your not sure of your business viability. If your organization needs help, please contact me for assistance.

  • Can you recover from a small or large disaster?
  • Do you have confidence in your DR plan?
  • Do you know how long your DR plan will take.
  • What does your online business look like or operate during your DR time?