oVirt Integration & Custom Development

How to backup and restore oVirt engine

How to backup and restore oVirt engine

In our recent post ‘How to configure VM backups in oVirt, we saw how we configured a VM backup system for a cloud service provider. We further went ahead and expanded the backup system with oVirt engine backups.

oVirt engine manages the centralized configuration of the cloud system. This engine manages provisioning of VMs, connection protocols, user sessions, VM images, VM environment configuration, etc. It also provides a graphical interface to view, create and manage VMs. The engine configuration is saved in oVirt engine database and configuration files.

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oVirt engine can be hosted on a Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Fedora, Debian or CentOS server. Data loss in an oVirt server can happen due to hard disk crash, external hacks or human errors.

A complete server backup helps in the restoration of cloud settings, in case of data loss. It comes handy in reverting to a previous ‘working’ state, whenever any oVirt configuration change breaks the system.

We designed and implemented a backup system for the oVirt engine. The implementation included creation of oVirt engine backups, configuring the backup server, storing the backups, automating the backup process and restoring from the backups. Here is how we did it.

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Creating oVirt engine backups

Backup was taken in the oVirt server from command line, as shown here in our demo server. We backed up the engine database and configuration files into a single file that could be easily stored.



oVirt engine backup


The backup file was in a compressed format and could be restored easily in the future. It contained all the information to configure oVirt in case a restore was required.

The engine-backup utility had 3 options – complete backup, ‘configuration files only’ backup and ‘engine database only’ backup. Depending on the disk space available and frequency of oVirt configuration changes, scope could be defined. We opted for a full daily backup, as storage space was not a concern for this customer.

Storing the backups

The backup file had to be saved in a location that would be accessible during restore. By default, the backups were stored in the folder ” /var/lib/ovirt-engine/backups ” in oVirt engine server. But if the oVirt engine server’s hard disk failed, the backups would also be lost. So we decided to move the backup files to the storage servers within the cloud setup.

We also configured an external NFS server at a different location to safely store the backup files. This helped us to restore the oVirt setup even in case of natural calamities. The external backup server was further secured with firewalls, to prevent unauthorized access and to safeguard our data.

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