As a relational database management system, MySQL is a popular database. It has several different advantages that may be related to its success – including both the open-source nature of the technology, as well as the fact that it is under the GNU General Public License, meaning that practically everyone can both use and modify MySQL however they would like, within limits. MySQL can be used as it is – a free version of the software, but there is somewhat of an entry threshold when it comes to application of MySQL in general – namely, the knowledge of programming and various MySQL operations.
Additionally, it may not be the best fit for larger companies, and there are several reasons for that. Enterprises often have far more databases and use cases for their data, so the knowledge requirement in programming and MySQL is even higher. Also, some of the more complex operations might be difficult to implement with the free version of MySQL, or even impossible to implement on a large scale.
This is where various MySQL Enterprise backup solutions come in, both in-house and third-party versions. These solutions are often offering both a range of case-specific features that enterprises may require in their day-to-day operations. Additionally, the overall performance of enterprise-level MySQL backup solutions is usually much higher.
MySQL Enterprise Backup
While it is true that there are many third-party premium options specifically for enterprises, the first one we are looking at is MySQL Enterprise Backup – since it is offered by MySQL itself. MySQL Enterprise Backup is an enterprise-grade backup solution for MySQL databases that offers an abundance of different features and is compatible with pretty much all of the popular platforms nowadays.
As a premium software, MySQL Enterprise Backup is included in both MySQL Enterprise Edition and MySQL Cluster CGE – two different products for commercial customers that cost $5,000 and $10,000 per year, respectively. MySQL Enterprise Backup individually promises high performance, backups without database interruptions, fast recovery times and several different backup target options.
There are also several different backup types – incremental, partial and full – as well as advanced optimistic backup, advanced compression, backup validation capabilities, AES-256 encryption, recovery without interrupting databases and partial recovery.
MySQL Enterprise Backup seems like a great deal – and from the very creators of MySQL themselves. However, since there is a lot of competition on the market, we are going to look at two more comparable solutions – one paid, and one free, and see how they differ from each other - and from MEB.
Percona XtraBackup is our free MySQL backup solution example. It offers more or less the same set of features as MySQL Enterprise Backup, while adding some of the newer features to the mix, as well. It is free, open-source, and supports more than just strictly MySQL databases.
Percona XtraBackup also has its own variation of “hot” backups, offering the ability to perform the backup process without completely interrupting the database in question. There are also multiple backup types (incremental, full, etc.), encryption capabilities, multiple restoration capabilities, compression, encryption and so on.
As for the features that are exclusive to a specific solution in comparison:
- Percona XtraBackup supports not only MySQL, but also MariaDB and Percona Server databases
- Only Percona XtraBackup can perform parallel compressed backups
- Backup locks is an exclusive ability of Percona XtraBackup
There is also the fact that Percona XtraBackup is both free and open-source, if we are comparing the two directly. However, that is not to say that Percona XtraBackup is necessarily advantageous over MySQL Enterprise Backup.
For example, backup progress reports, offline backups, backups to tape as a data storage type, as well as log file backups and the ability to rename tables before the restoration process – all of these are provided by MEB and not available for Percona XtraBackup.
Our second example is a premium third-party backup solution called Bacula Enterprise. It is a flexible multifunctional backup solution that offers a lot of different options and features using its own modular system. This allows Bacula Enterprise’s backup and recovery platform to have MySQL support via the Percona module.
Bacula has an especially wide range of features and technology compatibility. It offers a user-friendly interface that allows for the creation of complex scripts without the prerequisite of knowledge in programming and backup techniques, as well as PITR (Point-In-Time Recovery) feature, as well as practically of the previously mentioned MySQL backup features: “hot” backups, backup compression, high performance for both backup and restore operations, all backup levels, advanced deduplication, especially high security architecture, as well as cyber-attack detection tools, and much more.
It should also be noted that Bacula Enterprise is a certified member of the MySQL Enterprise Ready Partner program, meaning that Bacula Enterprise’s MySQL capabilities and features have been tested and confirmed to be compliant to all of the MySQL quality standards for interoperability and other guidelines.
There is also another significant feature that only one of the three examples in this article have – it’s the fact that Bacula Enterprise is not a MySQL-exclusive solution. It is a vast and flexible solution that can work with many different OS types, different VM types, containers, different backup storage locations, and can offer use cases for data centers, universities, MSPs, military, government and research agencies, fintech, and more.
This fact alone is why solutions like Bacula Enterprise are more interesting for larger enterprises – because having a single unified solution for an entire IT department is far more manageable than having to work with separate solutions for each and every database or storage type.
MySQL is a rather complex database management system that might not be the easiest to understand for a casual user. However, it is an extremely useful solution for demanding and multiple specific use cases, ranging from personal databases to large enterprises. And of course, when it comes to enterprises, specifically – third-party solutions that offer multiple different supported backup types should be far more attractive than a case-specific solution inside of a massive corporation that works with several different database or VM types.