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Backing up a Liferay Installation

Once you have an installation of Liferay Portal running, you’ll want to have proper backup procedures in place in case of a catastrophic hardware failure of some kind. Liferay isn’t very different from any other application that may be running on your application server. Nevertheless, there are some specific components you should include in your backup plan.

Backing Up Source Code

If you have extended Liferay or have written any plugins, they should be stored in a source code repository such as Git, Subversion, or CVS, unless you’re Linus Torvalds, and then tarballs are okay too (that’s a joke). Your source code repository should be backed up on a regular basis to preserve your ongoing work. This probably goes without saying in your organization, as nobody wants to lose source code that’s taken months to produce, but we thought we should mention it anyway.

If you’re extending Liferay with an Ext plugin, you’ll want to make sure you also store the version of the Liferay source on which your extension environment is based. This allows your developers convenient access to all the tools they need to build your extension and deploy it to a server.

Let’s look at the items that need to be backed up in your Liferay installation.

Backing up Liferay’s File System

Liferay’s configuration file, portal-ext.properties, gets stored in the Liferay Home folder, which is generally one folder up from where your application server is installed (see chapter 14 for specific details for your application server). At a minimum, this file should be backed up, but it is generally best to back up your whole application server.

If you’ve followed the non-plugin procedure (see chapter 19) to modify your Ehcache configuration, you’ll have cache configuration files in the deploy location of Liferay. You’ll need to back up this location. If you’re using the plugin procedure (i.e., the recommended procedure), your cache configuration settings are stored in your source code repository, which is backed up separately.

Liferay stores configuration files, search indexes, and cache information in a folder called data in Liferay Home. If you’re using the File System store or the Advanced File System store, the media repository is stored here (by default) too. You should always back up the contents of your Liferay Home folder.

If you’ve modified the location where the Document Library stores files, you should also back up this location.

That about covers the file system locations Liferay uses. Next, let’s discuss how to back up Liferay’s database.

Backing up Liferay’s Database

Liferay’s database is the central repository for all of the Portal’s information and is the most important component that needs to be backed up. You can do this by backing up the database live (if your database allows this) or by exporting the database and then backing up the exported file. For example, MySQL ships with a mysqldump utility which allows you to export the entire database and data into a large SQL file. This file can then be backed up. In case of a database failure, this file can be used to recreate the state of the database at the time the dump was created.

If you’re using Liferay’s Documents and Media Library with the Jackrabbit JSR-170 repository to store documents in a database, the Jackrabbit database should be backed up also. If you’ve placed your search index into a database (not recommended; see chapter 19 for information on using Cluster Link or Solr), that database should be backed up as well.

Search indexes can be backed up as well, if you wish to avoid reindexing your entire portal after you do your restore. This is easiest to do if you have a separate Solr environment upon which your index is stored. If you’re in a clustered configuration and you’re replicating indexes, you’ll need to back up each index replica.

Restoring your application server, your Liferay Home folder, the locations of any file system-based media repositories, and your database from a backup system should give you a functioning portal. Restoring search indexes should avoid the need to reindex when you bring your site back up after a catastrophic failure. Good, consistent backup procedures are key to successfully recovering from a hardware failure.

But what about maintenance while your server is running? Liferay lets you view a lot of what is going on through its logging system.

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