Automatic Backup on ElasticHosts

With the August 2016 update, we released the automatic backup feature on ElasticHosts. The new feature creates full copies or snapshots of Drives and Folders in regular intervals without shutting down the server or causing downtime in any other way.

Video tutorial

Our development manager, Will Berard introduces the feature, reveals its inner workings and gives useful tips in the following video:

Written tutorial

Since the Automatic Backup can be configured on both Drives (Cloud VMs) or Folders (Cloud Containers) the same way, we will use the term "storage unit" to refer to both Drives and Folders.

Getting started

To set up automatic backups for your storage unit, go to the Configuration page by clicking on the cogwheel icon inside the panel representing your storage unit on the control panel.
Configuration page icon

On the Configuration page, you will see the Automatic Backup section.

Automatic backup section

The backup sections has two conditions to set:

  1. Backup interval: How much time you would like to take between creating backups? Enter a value [1-99] and choose a unit [day or week] to set this up.
  2. Number of stored copies: How many backup copies do you want to keep in your account? Storing multiple backup copies is important, but don't forget that you get billed for the storage space used by backup copies. As a new copy is created, the oldest copy will automatically be deleted.

If you are satisfied with your settings, click on Save backup settings to activate them. As the tooltip suggests, copies of storage units will be created automatically on the same storage tier (HDD/SSD). After you set up the automatic backup, the first backup will be created in 5 minutes. You will see the time of the last backup in the Automatic Backup section:


Automatic backup icon

Once you save your backup settings, you will see a new icon in the bottom left corner of your storage unit indicating that it's being automatically backed up.

Automatic backup icon on a storage unit panel

Backup nomenclature

The backup copies will be named automatically in the following fashion:
<name of the origin> (backup <timestamp in YYYY-MM-DD HH:MM:SS format>)

Backup copy nomenclature example

Changing the backup time

If you would like to change the time when your backups are created, just go to your live storage unit's automatic backup settings at the preferred time and click on the "backup now" button. This will create a new copy and a new reference time for the backup intervals.

Restoring a server from backup

There are two ways to restore a Cloud Server with a backup copy.

  1. Go to the configuration page of the backup copy you want to use. Find the Automatic Backup section and press Restore to restore the server from this particular copy.

Restore Cloud Server from backup copy

  1. Another method for restoring servers from a backup copy is to create a brand new Cloud Server on the control panel and set it to boot from an existing storage unit. Then choose the preferred backup copy from the wizard.

Restore Cloud Server by creating a new server

After using either of these restoring methods, the storage unit will stop acting as a backup copy and will become a "normal" storage unit instead. This means it will not be deleted when newer copies get created. It's a good idea to change its name so you don't mistake it for a backup copy.

How much does it cost?

It's free.

However, the backup copies need storage space which you need to cover in your billing plan or account balance. If you don't have the plan/balance to pay for the additional storage for at least a week, the user will receive a warning via email.

We hope you like the new feature and benefit from this tutorial. If you have any question, feel free to leave a comment below.

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