Backup Essentials

In Exasol, backups are always done while the database is running. The backup created contains the consistent state of the database from the time when the backup was started. The scope of any backup is the whole database. It cannot be limited to only certain objects or schemas. Backups are stored on Archive Volumes.

Archive Volumes

Exasol allows you to store your database backups on the following two types of archive volumes.

Local Archive Volume

You can create the local archive volume for cluster internal data backup at the time of installation or later from EXAoperation. Here are some of the benefits of the local archive volume:

To know more about it, see Create Local Archive Volume.

Remote Archive Volume

You can store your backups on a remote location too. To do so, you need to create remote archive volumes from EXAoperation. Exasol supports FTP, SMB, Amazon S3, WebHDFS, Azure Blob Storage, and Google Cloud Storage as remote archive. Here are some of the benefits of the remote archive volume:

  • The remote archive volume is beneficial when it comes to fail-safety. If your complete cluster crashes because of any reason, the remote backup is still safe and you can use it to restore your cluster from the remote backup. The remote archive volume's performance is slower than the local volume.
  • It supports Blocking Restore.

To know more about it, see Create Remote Archive Volume with Amazon S3 .

Backup Types

Exasol provides you with the following two types of backups: 

  • Full backup: A full backup, also known as level 0 backup contains all database blocks.
  • Incremental backup: A backup of data that has been added or modified since the last full or incremental backup. Level 1 to level 9 backups are incremental backups.

Backup processes run in the background and usually have a minimal impact on database performance. The duration of a backup depends on various factors, such as the size of the database and whether the backup is being written to a local or remote volume.

Backups can only be done for an entire database (and not for specific schemas or tables). The backup includes only completed transactions that were committed at the time the backup started.

Backup Process

The backups process has the following three phases:

  1. Perform local integrity check.
  2. Write backup files.
  3. Validate backup files.

During the write process, the backup data is compressed. If more disk space is required, the backup process automatically deletes expired backups (this is not applicable to remote archive volumes).


Make sure to not do any of the following when a backup is in progress:

  • Stop a database.
  • Add or remove nodes on an archive volume.
  • Add or remove nodes on the data volume of the database being backed up.


It is possible to monitor backup processes using logservice messages. This can be done in EXAoperation (Services > Monitoring), or by using XML-RPC functions. The logservices shows alerts for the following:

  • Backup start
  • Backup finished
  • Backup failed