F5/NGINX Backup and Recovery Done Right

A step-by-step walkthrough of efficient methods for quick F5/NGINX backups followed by restoration based on a real-world automation use case.

Are you worried about losing data due to an unforeseen event such as a power outage, natural disaster, or cyberattack? Do your applications keep failing due to incorrect configurations and settings? The device backup and restoration process can help you overcome these kinds of issues. 

What is Device Backup? 

Device backup refers to the processes (automatic and manual) that frequently take copies of the data – such as device configuration, settings, and content – and store them in another device, which is later used for data recovery or restoration. 

Why is Device Backup necessary?

Backup is required to recover the system from any failure. System failure can be anything from a hardware or software failure to data corruption or accidental deletion of data or misconfiguration done by humans. A wide array of storage tools such as USB sticks, external hard disks, or a cloud storage container may be used to store the backed-up data.

AUTOMATED BACKUP is the process that automatically backs up information from devices without any human intervention. It essentially runs in the background, based on the organization’s preferences such as frequency and backup location, without disturbing the actual business workflow. Since the entire process is automated, the backups are consistent and more accurate than manual backups.

Key reasons for using automated backups:

Optimize Processes: Automated backups run in the background without interfering with the production or deployment processes, thus ensuring your data is always backed up and up to date. Since different businesses have different needs, it’s easier to configure the backups to accommodate the ever-changing requirements.

Disaster Recovery: Automatic backups are the ultimate solution to recovering data after a disaster has occurred. If data loss occurs due to fire or flood, or electric outage, then having data backup is the only way to recover your data almost instantly.

Save time & effort by automating your device backups with the right solution.

Reduce RPOs and RTOs: These are two key data points for achieving the best data recovery results:

  • RPO (Recovery Point Objective): This is the measure of how frequently backups should be taken in an organization. In other words, it is the total amount of data that a business can afford to lose. 
  • RTO (Recovery Time Objective): This is the time within which the affected device needs to be fully functional after a disaster has occurred.  It answers the question – “How much application downtime can a business tolerate?” So, if the RTO is 30 minutes, then recovery should be complete within that time.

A company would ideally expect shorter RTOs and RPOs, and that is one of the biggest benefits of taking automatic backups.

Eliminate human intervention and errors: Human error is one of the main causes of data loss. Automatic backups, on the other hand, give peace of mind along with taking consistent and accurate backups.

Enhance testing and recoverability: Most automatic backup solutions come with the option of data validation. This ensures that the data restoration will be done accurately, again eliminating the need for human intervention. 

Quickly access and recover files as needed: Since automatic backups are taken at regular intervals, they are versioned (for a set amount of time before they are purged). So data versioning is available by default which lets you recover files easily and from anywhere. 

Easily scale up files and data:  Even as your company data increases or decreases in size, the backup service takes care of scaling up (or down) the storage space as required. (Of course, scaling up comes with an additional cost, but your data is safe and readily available.)

Securely store data: 

“10% of computers are infected by malware each month”

Automatic backup storage spaces are encrypted with modern encryption technologies. This limits the data from getting exposed to malware attacks, ransomware, or data theft. 

In a nutshell,

Are you worried about losing data due to an unforeseen event such as a power outage or a cyberattack, or a system crash? Have you ever experienced data loss due to erroneous configurations and settings?

Automated backup is the process that automatically backs up information from devices without any human intervention. AppviewX ADC+ automation solution allows easy provisioning and maintenance of application delivery services in multi-cloud environments. Device backup refers to the processes that frequently take copies of the data and store them in another device, which is later used for data recovery or restoration.

In any network infrastructure, device backup is critical

Here are some real-world scenarios: 

1. During a device upgrade

Upgrading and updating software to newer and better versions has become the norm these days. Along similar lines, there is a need to frequently upgrade load balancers as well due to one or both of the following reasons: 

  • The old version is in its end-of-life stage 
  • A new functionality is available in the next version
  • A security patch or update is now available

Engineers must always be wary of the fact that there is a high chance that the upgrade might fail or there might be data loss during the upgrade. Therefore, as a fallback strategy, there is a need to do a backup of the device configuration – so that if any failure occurs, the system can be recovered from the backed-up data.

2. While changing the Load Balancer configuration

Another common requirement of the load balancer is to change its configuration as the requirement changes. Some examples include:

  • Increase the number of servers when there is more traffic to applications
  • Create new applications

If the load balancer is configured with the wrong settings, there is a high chance that the application might completely fail to function.  A configuration backup will come in handy in such a situation to enable the application to get up and running. So, it is imperative to take a backup of the device configuration before making any changes to the configuration.

3. During an accidental device factory reset

Humans are prone to making errors, and under unfavorable circumstances, a factory reset might get triggered accidentally. A device backup will ensure application recovery and proper functioning in a matter of minutes. 

4. During a system crash

A system crash has the tendency to cause data corruption or data loss. In such a situation, it might take a few days to recreate the device configuration.  Having device backup will enable the load balancer to recover quickly.

How does AppViewX ADC+ enable automated load balancer backup & restore?

AppviewX ADC+, an ADC/LBaaS automation solution, allows easy provisioning and maintenance of application delivery services in multi-cloud and hybrid environments.  It accelerates application delivery modernization efforts by offering the most advanced ‘ADC lifecycle management platform’ that empowers organizations to remotely monitor, manage, automate, and self-service 95% of all F5 and NGINX changes, including LTM, GTM, and WAF with DDI, SSL, and ITSM from Day 0, 1 thru N. ADC+ has the capability to automatically backup, restore, and compare configurations at the device level and object-level. 

Automated Backup/Restore Flow diagram
Automated Backup/Restore Flow diagram

Here’s how ADC+ automates and facilitates device backup & restore functionalities: 

1. Instant backup: Take instant backups, which come in handy when device configuration needs a periodic update.

2. Periodic backup: Schedule backups periodically (in regular intervals). This will help when the devices have to be recovered in unfavorable circumstances. 

3. History of backup: Store and maintain a history of the backup. By default, ADC+ can store up to 16 backups per device. This can be scaled up to 60 backups per device. 

 

4. Restore backup: Restore device backup for future data recovery. You can either restore the entire device configuration or restore a particular chunk of application configuration such as VIP or Wide IP.

Restore Backup

5. Object restore: As mentioned above, objects (VIP or Wide IP) can be restored as well. Suppose an object configuration is corrupted, ADC+ can recover it by restoring its configuration from the old backup. 

 

6. Config compare: Compare the configuration of two objects from different backups. This helps in checking the difference in configuration between the two backups.

Config compare

7. Bookmark: ADC+ will purge the old backup once it reaches the maximum backup count. Consider a backup that is backed up before any major configuration changes are made and is then going to be purged as it reaches the maximum backup count, but it is needed for future reference. In such a scenario, a backup that is bookmarked will not be purged and can be recovered easily.

You need just one solution for all your backup & restore automation needs!!

AppViewX ADC+ is designed to speed up the application delivery process and increase application availability as your business demands.

It’s very important for business owners to back up their device information so that their data is always available. This ADC+ backup feature also offers security, as there is no need to worry about losing data should anything bad happen.

ADC+  comes with a variety of built-in features to allow users to track, manage and consolidate their device information and access it when required. It allows periodic backups to be done manually or automatically with a scheduling system, which ensures that the entire configuration archives of all devices are added and managed in a central repository with AppViewX ADC+.

With the ability to back up the database, you can also restore the archive of the backup and then restore to the device. You can restore the complete backup of the server, or you can restore only the virtual server backup, the Wide IP, the monitor backup, the policy backup, etc.

Tags

  • ADC lifecycle management platform
  • F5
  • F5 Backup and Recovery
  • F5/NGINX Backup and Recovery
  • Load Balancer
  • load balancer as a service
  • NGINX

About the Author

Prasath Lingam Hariharan

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