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You can back up everything in the non-global zone, or, because a zone's configuration changes less frequently, you can perform backups of the application data only.
If application data is kept in a particular part of the file system, you might decide to perform regular backups of this data only. The zone's root file system might not have to be backed up as often because it changes less frequently.
You will have to determine where the application places its files. Locations where files can be stored include the following:
Users' home directories
/etc for configuration data files
Assuming the application administrator knows where the data is stored, it might be possible to create a system in which a per-zone writable directory is made available to each zone. Each zone can then store its own backups, and the global administrator can make this location one of the places on the system to back up.
If the database application data is not under its own directory, the following rules apply:
Ensure that the databases are in a consistent state first.
Databases must be quiesced because they have internal buffers to flush to disk. Make sure that the databases in non-global zones have come down before starting the backup from the global zone.
Within each zone, use file system features to make a snapshot of the data, then back up the snapshots directly from the global zone.
This process will minimize elapsed time for the backup window and remove the need for backup clients/modules in all of the zones.
Each non-global zone can take a snapshot of its private file systems when it is convenient for that zone and the application has been briefly quiesced. Later, the global zone can back up each of the snapshots and put them on tape after the application is back in service.
This method has the following advantages:
Fewer tape devices are needed.
There is no need for coordination between the non-global zones.
There is no need to assign devices directly to zones, which improves security.
Generally, this method keeps system management in the global zone, which is preferred.