Creating object-level backups

Use object-level backups to back up individual schemas or tables.

Use object-level backups to back up individual schemas or tables. Object-level backups are especially useful for multi-tenanted database sites. For example, an international airport could use a multi-tenanted database to represent different airlines in its schemas. Then, tables could maintain various types of information for the airline, including ARRIVALS, DEPARTURES, and PASSENGER information. With such an organization, creating object-level backups of the specific schemas would let you restore by airline tenant, or any other important data segment.

To create one or more object-level backups, create a configuration file specifying the backup location, the object-level backup name, and a list of objects to include (one or more schemas and tables). You can use the includeObjects and excludeObjects parameters together with wildcards to specify the objects of interest. For more information about specifying the objects to include, see Including and excluding objects.

For more information about configuration files for full or object-level backups, see Sample vbr configuration files and vbr configuration file reference.

While not required, Vertica recommends that you first create a full backup before creating any object-level backups.

Performing the backup

Before you can create a backup, you must prepare your backup directory with the vbr -init task. You must also create a configuration file specifying which objects to back up.

Run vbr from a terminal using the database administrator account from a node in your database cluster. You cannot run vbr as root.

You can create an object-level backup as in the following example.

$ vbr --task backup --config-file objectbak.ini
Found Database port:  5433
[==================================================] 100%
All child processes terminated successfully.
Committing changes on all backup sites...
backup done!

Naming conventions

Give each object-level backup configuration file a distinct and descriptive name. For instance, at an airport terminal, schema-based backup configuration files use a naming convention with an airline prefix, followed by further description, such as:





When database and object-level backups exist, you can recover the backup of your choice.

Understanding object-level backup contents

Object-level backups comprise only the elements necessary to restore the schema or table, including the selected, dependent, and principal objects. An object-level backup includes the following contents:

  • Storage: Data files belonging to any specified objects

  • Metadata: Including the cluster topology, timestamp, epoch, AHM, and so on

  • Catalog snippet: Persistent catalog objects serialized into the principal and dependent objects

Some of the elements that AIR2 comprises, for instance, are its parent schema, tables, named sequences, primary key and foreign key constraints, and so on. To create such a backup, vbr saves the objects directly associated with the table. It also saves any dependencies, such as foreign key (FK) tables, and creates an object map from which to restore the backup.

Making changes after an object-level backup

Be aware how changes made after an object-level backup affect subsequent backups. Suppose you create an object-level backup and later drop schemas and tables from the database. In this case, the objects you dropped are also dropped from subsequent backups. If you do not save an archive of the object backup, such objects could be lost permanently.

Changing a table name after creating a table backup does not persist after restoring the backup. Suppose that, after creating a backup, you drop a user who owns any selected or dependent objects in that backup. In this case, restoring the backup re-creates the object and assigns ownership to the user performing the restore. If the owner of a restored object still exists, that user retains ownership of the restored object.

To restore a dropped table from a backup:

  1. Rename the newly created table from t1 to t2.

  2. Restore the backup containing t1.

  3. Restore t1. Tables t1 and t2 now coexist.

For information on how Vertica handles object overwrites, refer to the objectRestoreMode parameter in [misc].

K-safety can increase after an object backup. Restoration of a backup fails if both of the following conditions occur:

  • An increase in K-safety occurs.

  • Any table in the backup has insufficient projections.

Changing principal and dependent objects

If you create a backup and then drop a principal object, restoring the backup restores that principal object. If the owner of the restored object has also been dropped, Vertica assigns the restored object to the current dbadmin.

You can specify how Vertica handles object overwrites in the vbr configuration file. For more information, refer to the objectRestoreMode parameter in [misc].

IDENTITY sequences are dependent objects because they cannot exist without their tables. An object-level backup includes such objects, along with the tables on which they depend.

Named sequences are not dependent objects because they exist autonomously. A named sequence remains after you drop the table in which the sequence is used. In this case, the named sequence is a principal object. Thus, you must back up the named sequence with the table. Then you can regenerate it, if it does not already exist when you restore the table. If the sequence does exist, vbr uses it, unmodified. Sequence values could repeat, if you restore the full database and then restore a table backup to a newer epoch.

Considering constraint references

When database objects are related through constraints, you must back them up together. For example, a schema with tables whose constraints reference only tables in the same schema can be backed up. However, a schema containing a table with an FK/PK constraint on a table in another schema cannot. To back up the second table, you must include the other schema in the list of selected objects.

Configuration files for object-level backups

vbr automatically associates configurations with different backup names but uses the same backup location.

Always create a cluster-wide configuration file and one or more object-level configuration files pointing to the same backup location. Storage between backups is shared, preventing multiple copies of the same data. For object-level backups, using the same backup location causes vbr to encounter fewer OID conflict prevention techniques. Avoiding OID conflict prevention results in fewer problems when restoring the backup.

When using cluster and object configuration files with the same backup location, vbr includes additional provisions to ensure that the object-level backups can be used following a full cluster restore. One approach to restoring a full cluster is to use a full database backup to bootstrap the cluster. After the cluster is operational again, you can restore the most recent object-level backups for schemas and tables.

Attempting to restore a full database using an object-level configuration file fails, resulting in this error:

VMart=> /tmp/vbr --config-file=Table2.ini -t restore
Invalid metadata file. Cannot restore.
restore failed!

See Restoring all objects from an object-level backup for more information.

Backup epochs

Each backup includes the epoch to which its contents can be restored. When vbr restores data, Vertica updates to the current epoch.

vbr attempts to create an object-level backup five times before an error occurs and the backup fails.