Abstract

For many, the choice of cloud backups versus another backup medium has always been a difficult decision. Backing up to tape is reliable, and tapes can easily be transported off-site, but rely on a lot of manual intervention.  Disk is fast and cheap these days, but the backups stay local to the server and at risk until moved elsewhere.

Informix 14.10 has cloud backup support built in.  Using the Primary Storage Manager (PSM), cloud storage is presented as if it were just another local device.  This means backups can instantly be encrypted and stored off site with no additional scripts or other complications.

Cloud backups are a secure way to store data off site. In this article we will demonstrate how to perform cloud backups with Informix 14.10 and effectively back up Informix archives to Amazon S3.  A working AWS account is required to do this.

Content

To perform cloud backups with Informix 14.10, if not already present, create a suitable IAM user for the backups in AWS.  Take note of the access key and secret.  Next create an S3 bucket, give this a suitable name (such as ‘idsbackups’ used below) and select a suitable region (data privacy laws in your country may stipulate where and where not personal data may be located); you’ll also need to take note of the region as this will be required later on.

Next we need to set up the PSM cloud device (only onbar can utilise PSM, so ontape, unfortunately, cannot currently take advantage of this feature):

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Where:

-g default PSM pool (from onconfig PSM_DBS_POOL) – (you can also create a bucket for logical log backups)

-p Priority (make sure this is the highest for this test)

-t type – Cloud in this case

–url URL of bucket, this is usually s3.amazonaws.com prefixed with your bucket name

–provider (S3 in this case)

–user your AWS IAM access key

–password IAM access secret

–container Bucket name

–region Bucket region (it’s important to provide this to utilise V4 256-bit encryption)

–max_part_size Size in KB backup will be broken down into in S3

Check the PSM cloud device has been set up with:

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To run a full Level 0 backup to the cloud:

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Confirm the backup was successful (and/or check bar_act.log):

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The cloud backup files should now be visible on S3.  There should be a directory with the instance name created in the bucket containing the onbar backup files.

To restore the instance from S3:

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Caveats

While backing up directly to the cloud is a very convenient way to immediately store your archives off site, we would also strongly recommend a local backup and/or setting up replication to a secondary server.  Depending on the size of your instance and speed of your Internet connection, the transfer time of the backup to the cloud storage may need to be taken into account.  If backing up logical logs to the cloud, it should be taken into consideration that access to the cloud must be available for each and every log backup.  It should also be noted in your DR plans that access to the cloud will be required if and when you need to restore.  Only onbar can use PSM; ontape cannot directly utilise cloud storage at this time.

Conclusion

Backing up to a cloud service provides a convenient way to store your Informix archives off site.  The built-in cloud integration in PSM makes backups and restore to and from the cloud seamless.  While this works well, any backup and restore solutions should be part of a wider business continuity plan and should be discussed with your DR and security teams.  As always, a backup plan should never be considered of use until it has been restored.  At the time of writing only AWS S3 and SWIFT cloud storage are supported.

Disclaimer

Suggestions above are provided “as is” without warranty of any kind, either express or implied, including without limitation any implied warranties of condition, uninterrupted use, merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, or non-infringement.

Contact us

If you have any questions regarding cloud backups with Informix 14.10 or would like to find out more, simply contact us.

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