Automating MySQL Backups: a Guide

Automating MySQL Backups: a Guide

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Lukas Vileikis
30 March 2021

If you’re managing a MySQL database, you have probably thought about how you should go about automating your MySQL backup processes. This blog will provide you with some insight on how to do that.

What is Backup Automation?

As far as the backup world is concerned, backup automation refers to the automation of processes related to backups in a certain storage engine. Backup automation is closely related to database automation - simply speaking, database automation refers to the leverage of processes and tools to make administrative tasks for developers or database administrators more simple and efficient - as your data grows, database automation might prove to be invaluable.

Why Automate Backup Processes?

Automating backups is kind of another side to the same coin - by automating your database backup processes, you can rest assured that should something happen to your data, you are well equipped to handle any situation. When you are backing up your data, automated backups could be the solution that lets you sleep soundly at night. Automating your backups can help you recover your data more quickly in case a disaster strikes (and it will strike) - keep in mind that automating backups is frequently accomplished using certain tools meaning that this process also saves you time. Now we will look into how you should take backups manually, then how you should automate your backup processes using tools - specifically, Backup Ninja.

Taking MySQL Backups Manually

Backing up your data manually is the old-school way, but it’s not to say that’s impossible - it can still be done (and is done) by many. The process goes a little something like this for backing up your data in MySQL:

  1. Decide which databases or tables you want to back up.
  2. Run mysqldump or any other tool to help you complete the backup process (if you’re taking a logical backup) - here’s how to use it in its simplest form:
    mysqldump -u [username] -p [password] [options] [database_name] [table_name] > backup.sql
  3. Store your backups somewhere safe.

Here username is your username, password is your password, options are any specific options that you want to use together with the utility, database_name is your database name and table_name is your table name.

As a logical backup tool, mysqldump works really well (take a look into our older blog post to take a more in-depth look into it). There is also MySQL Enterprise Backup or Percona XtraBackup that can help you with the backup and recovery process of your MySQL databases - both tools support hot, partial and incremental backups. The general commonalities between these kinds of tools is that they can be relatively easy to use, but the problem with these kinds of approaches is that it can be both time and resource intensive. To eliminate this problem, you should look into automating your backups.

Automating MySQL Backup Processes with Backup Ninja

Backup Ninja is a solution that helps you manage all of your database backups through a single GUI - it has a powerful and an easy-to-use interface that allows you to configure and run database backups in no-time. Backup Ninja also has the ability to automate your backup processes taking the hassle off of your hands - its advanced backup features include, but are not limited to backup scheduling, database or table inclusion or exclusion, you can take all kinds of backups (full, incremental or partial) etc. - you can also monitor and view updates of your database backups in real time (that includes the success ratio, how many backups are completed, how many are running and how many failed too):

Backup stats

As already noted, if you want to, you can also schedule your backups by also selecting the backup type, backup method and excluding databases or tables. Backup Ninja also allows you to select the server to perform the backup on and you can also select from multiple backup methods:

How to Backup MySQL using Backup Ninja

To backup MySQL using Backup Ninja, install and configure your MySQL server, then set your backup target:

Setting a backup target


Create your database user:

Creating a database user

Finally, install the agent:

Installing the AgentDiscovered Servers

Scheduling MySQL Backups

To schedule your MySQL backup, complete the information about the schedule, configure the backup storage, set the backup name, compression and encryption settings and set the backup frequency:

Scheduling Backups - 2

Viewing and Monitoring MySQL Backups

Backups can be viewed when the View link is clicked on the created schedule:

Viewing SchedulesViewing backups

Bear in mind that Backup Ninja also supports a mix of technologies meaning that it doesn’t matter what kind of a database technology you use - you can backup all flavors of MySQL including MySQL, MariaDB or Percona Server just as effectively using the same tool. Isn’t that convenient? Backup Ninja can also help you back up your data to multiple locations like on-premises or to the cloud provider of your choosing (you can even choose multiple providers - take a look at Backup Ninja’s cloud storage partners): Backup Ninja can certainly help you automate your MySQL database backups, doesn’t matter what MySQL flavor you elect to use.


As already previously mentioned, automating database backups refers to the act of automating a part or all of the processes related to your database engine - look at it as a part of database automation that simplifies the work of both developers and database administrators alike. This blog has discussed what database automation is in general, then how to automate your MySQL database backups. All this means that automating your database backup processes should be an integral part of your backup strategy. If you want to have a tool in your toolbox that can help you automate database backup tasks at ease, you have a choice - try Backup Ninja today.