Lately, I’ve been getting more familiar with different backup procedures and it made me want to update everyone on our current recommended Scrutinizer backup procedure.

With networks continuously growing in size, it’s common for a NetFlow collector’s database to grow in excess of 100 gigabytes, and in some cases I’ve seen databases grow to be over a terabyte! When databases grow this large we find that using MySQL Administrator for backups becomes slow and CPU intensive. MySQL Administrator is good for a general purpose backup tool with no application knowledge of what’s being backed up, but for Scrutinizer the additional overhead can degrade performance.  So we’ve found a better solution for these large backups known as Robocopy. You can get Robocopy by downloading the Windows 2003 Resource Kit.

Backing up the data!

Scrutinizer’s history and configuration data are stored in \Scrutinizer\mysql\data and we don’t recommend backing up this data directly, but instead copying the data to a backup location and running the backup on that directory.

Once you’ve installed the Resource Kit you can use the following command to create a full backup for your Scrutinizer data directory:

C:\robocopy “source_directory” “destination_directory” /MIR

The /MIR attribute activates mirror mode which adds and removes any files in the destination directory to match the source directory.

Scheduling Backups

The best time to do a backup is when your network is under small load and Scrutinizer is least busy on your system. With that in mind, Scrutinizer does routine maintenance tasks at midnight, so it’s recommended that the backups are scheduled for 3am.

To schedule the Robocopy backups, open up Windows Task Scheduler and create a new task with a Trigger to start at 3am (daily, weekly, monthly, it’s up to you). Next, you need to create an Action to “Start a program” and locate the Robocopy executable (“C:\Program Files\Windows Resource Kits\Tools\robocopy.exe”). You will also need to add source, destination and /MIR to the “Add arguments:” field (e.g. “C:\Program Files\Scrutinizer\mysql\data” C:\Backup /MIR).

Now, you have a backup of your Scrutinizer data that can be moved or copied off of your Scrutinizer server without the risk of data corruption.

Paul Dube

Paul Dube is the Director of Technical Services at Plixer. He has a passion for enabling individuals and organizations to use highly complex systems to solve business and personal objectives. This passion for problem solving has Paul working with some of the largest enterprises to solve their security and networking challenges and also educating his young daughters on how to enrich their lives with technology. When he's not working, you will find him enjoying time with his family, cooking something delicious on the Big Green Egg, and enjoying the best brews that the locals have to offer.

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