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Edges, Backups and Shelf Promotion

backup shelves

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#1 davidair



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Posted 25 March 2020 - 03:21 PM

What are the best practices around backing up edge replicas?

We have a setup where a master commit server is replicated to two edges and everyone works on the edge servers. In terms of backing up the metadata, we believe we can use coordinated checkpoints to back up both the master commit and edge servers.

The big question is backing up archived files. Normally, backing up only the main commit server's archived files should be enough, but it doesn't cover edge shelves.

We were thinking of forcing all shelves to go be promoted by setting the dm.shelve.promote server configurable to a value of 1 (docs). However, the article goes on saying "Generally, it is a bad idea to enable automatic promotion because it causes a lot of unnecessary file transfers for shelved files that are not meant to be shared."

If this is a bad idea, how should we back up the edges? Is there a way of figuring out which archived files on the edge server come from local shelves, as opposed to the regular depot files? It feels like it would be a very bad idea to end up with three full copies of archived files being backed up (just from the storage cost perspective).

#2 Matt Janulewicz

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Posted 26 March 2020 - 01:58 AM

At the last place I worked, we had edges all over the world with the commit server living in San Francisco. We enabled/required global shelves for just this reason and it wasn't that big of a deal. We didn't have _too_ much latency between most of our locations and San Francisco, but people were used to whatever speed they were getting on submits anyway, so the slower offices didn't notice/complain about 'slow shelving'. It is what it is and it worked out fine.

You should look into offline databases (second, non-production version of your databases, living on each server) and back those up, as well as the checkpoints/journals. The SDP is a good thing to look into.

One other note that hopefully you already know is that aside from some db files, edge servers have other unique things that need backing up (namely any //spec/... or //unload/... depots.)

Once you switch over to global shelves, also remember to promote the shelves that are local to the edge servers. It's fun/easy to check this by using P4V to list shelved changes, then make sure they have the little globe icon on there. :)
-Matt Janulewicz
Currently unemployed, looking for work in Boise, ID!

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