ParisLabs is a French Web 2.0 startup, that came out of the TELECOM ParisTech Entrepreneurs incubator. ParisLabs develops and markets a SaaS platform for building networking sites, built off a Java
/ MySQL stack. It is being used, among others, by the French-speaking professional networking site Helia, kinda Facebook meets Monster. Helia stood out of the pack last year and is now reaching 300K monthly unique visitors as of March 2010 --we wish them a continued success!
Paris Labs currently hosts the Helia service on a dedicated server at
Dedibox, a leading French hoster. With a rapidly growing database, Helia needs to make frequent backups, to be able to recover from a disaster. So far, Helia had been using
mysqldump to export the data into flat files. The exported files are then zipped, and sent over to a remote server. Apart from being a completely manual process, this process has a major downside: exporting a large database with
mysqldump can take a long time, during which the
database is stopped, putting the entire site off-line. Also, recovering a database after a disaster from dumped SQL files is a long process, which would create even more downtime for the service.
As a member of the Sun
Startup Essentials program, ParisLabs connected with the Sun-Oracle ISV
Engineering team to come up with a solution that would create an
acceptable security level for their data backup strategy, with
minimum service downtime and minimum hardware/software additions. We ruled out, to start with, the option of setting up a slave MySQL server to act as a hot
backup, which meant a more complicated
architecture, more administration and a bigger infrastructure
cost that the start-up could not afford. Instead we explore the possibility to leverage the novel ZFS filesystem included in Solaris 10.
From the above, we concluded it was possible to design a poor man's data backup infrastructure using
ZFS as the backbone. With ParisLabs, we explored the following scenarios, all based on the ZFS snapshot capability:
They range from the most simple and least costly solution (#1) to the most secure and flexible solution (#5) that is combining several advantages: the backup is on a
These scenarios and their implementations have been documented into a whitepaper that we will soon be publishing on the Oracle Technical Network. In the meantime, feel free to leave a note here if you are also
interested in using ZFS to implement a backup strategy for your own application. Note that these strategies
can be applied to any kind of files, not only MySQL datafiles. As
long as your problem comes down to securing and backuping files, ZFS can
help you. And again, ZFS comes out-of-the-box with Solaris 10, OpenSolaris and the Sun OpenStorage appliances.