Automatic snapshots with OpenStack

This article is only relevant to instances with OpenStack

In addition to regular backups from within the VPS we now also provide the possibility to create a automatic snapshot every week with a retention maximum of 4 snapshots.

Snapshots

A snapshot is a point in time taken of the VPS state. You use this to set a point in time from which you can fast restore the VPS or create a new VPS that is identical to the current VPS. A snapshot is not a backup, but a snapshot of your system is especially useful when you want to quickly return to the old situation, such as when you upgrade your system or your instance no longer functions.

Snapshots can be made automatically every week from the boot disk. Snapshots are made on the next day after the automatic snapshots are switched on. The snapshots are then taken on the same day every week until it is turned off or the VPS is removed. Only the last 4 snapshots are saved. Older snapshots are automatically cleared.

You can take the snapshot without closing a VPS, but you must ensure that everything is stored on the disk.

When is a Snapshot suitable?

With a Snapshot you can restore the entire state of the VPS in one go. This complements, but is certainly not a substitute for, your backups.

When is a Snapshot not suitable?

A snapshot is not a replacement for backups. Good backups are stored at an external location, are made at fixed intervals to be determined by yourself and meet the minimum retention that you have set. In addition, it is possible to restore individual files. 

It's not useful to retrieve individual files. In theory this can be done by starting a new VPS from the snapshot, but this is not what Snapshots are intended for. If it is important in your backup strategy, for example to be able to retrieve a control panel backup, individual database dump or individual file, it is best to choose the rsync-based CloudVPS backup account.

You must also ensure that the data is written at the time of the snapshot. A busy database server or other applications running in memory are not suitable for Snapshots without turning off the VM. If the snapshot is made during a writing action, this writing action will not be included in the snapshot. By turning off the VM you ensure that no changes are written to the disk, so that the snapshot is always consistent.

If you have linked additional volumes, they will not be included in the snapshot of the VM.

Snapshot highlights

  • Set up: Very easy.
  • Customization: no flexibility to determine frequent etc
  • Maintain: you always have 4 backup snapshots available
  • Restore: very easy for the entire VPS but more difficult to retrieve individual files and accounts.
  • Location: In the same data center, on a different storage pool of the Ceph cluster.
  • Backup time: the program takes a snapshot at a random moment during the day.

 

Configure Snapshots with Openstack

Enabling automatic snaphots can be done easily by adjusting the instance metadata configuration

  • Logon to the Horizon Interface at http://openstack.cloudvps.com
  • From the left pane please select "Compute" and then "Instances"
  • Search for the concerning instance you want to create automatic snapshots
  • From the right pulldown menu selection at the instance please select "UPDATE METADATA"
  • Expand "Provider platform options" and then "Backups"
  • Add the option "Schedule" by selecting  "+"
  • Select at  parameters "weekly"
  • Select "Save"

To recover automatic snapshots please follow the procedure below

  • Logon to the Horizon Interface at http://openstack.cloudvps.com
  • From the left pane please select "Compute" and then "Instances"
  • Search for the concerning instance you want to recover using an automatic snapshot.
  • From the right pulldown menu selection at the instance please select "REBUILD IMAGE"
  • Select "Select Image" and choose the concerning snapshot backup to recover.
  • Attention!! Rebuilding your instance using a snapshot will cause dataloss of all current data.
  • Select"REBUILD INSTANCE"

 

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