Sharding: Backup


Sharded and Non-Sharded Backup Tasks

From a user's perspective, backing up a sharded database is done by defining and running a single backup task, just like it is done with a non-sharded database.

Behind the scenes, though, each shard backs up its own slice of the database independently from other shards.

Distributing the backup responsibility between the shards allows RavenDB to speed up the backup process and keep backup files in manageable proportions no matter what the overall database size is.

Non-Sharded DB Backup Tasks

  • A complete replica of the database is kept by each cluster node.
  • Any node can therefore be made responsible for backups by the cluster.
  • The responsible node runs the backup task periodically to create a backup of the entire database.

Sharded DB Backup Tasks

  • Each shard hosts a unique part of the database, so no single node can create a backup of the entire database.
  • After a user defines a backup task, RavenDB automatically creates one backup task per shard, based on the user-defined task.
    This operation is automatic and requires no additional actions from the user.
  • Each shard appoints one of its nodes responsible for the execution of the shard's backup task.
  • Each shard backup task can keep the shard's database locally (on the shard machine), and/or remotely (on one or more cloud destinations).
  • A backup task can store backups on multiple destinations, e.g. locally, on an S3 bucket, and on an Azure blob.
  • To restore the entire database, the restore process is provided with the locations of the backup folders used by all shards.
  • When restoring the database, the user doesn't have to restore all shard backups. It is possible, for example, to restore only one of the shards. Using this flexibility, a sharded database can easily be split into several databases.

Backup Storage: Local and Remote

Backup files can be stored locally and remotely.
Find a code example here.

  • Local Backup
    A shard's backup task may keep backup data locally, using the node's local storage.

    Restoring backup files that were stored locally requires the user to provide the restore process with the location of the backup folder on each shard's node.

  • Remote location
    Backups can also be kept remotely. All shards will transfer the backup files to a common location, using one of the currently supported platforms:

    • Azure Blob Storage
    • Amazon S3 Storage
    • Google Cloud Platform

    Restoring backup files that were stored remotely requires the user to provide the restore process with each shard's backup folder location.

Backup Files Extension and Structure

backup files use the same internal structure as the .ravendbdump files that Studio and Smuggler create when exporting data.
It is therefore possible to not only restore but also import backup files using studio and smuggler.
Read more about this feature here.

Backed-up data includes both database-level and cluster-level content.

Backup Type

A shard backup task can create a Logical backup only.

A Snapshot backup cannot be created for a sharded database.

Logical backups created for a sharded database can be restored into both sharded and non-sharded databases.

Backup Scope

A shard backup task can create a Full backup with the entire content of the shard, or an Incremental Backup with just the difference between the current database data and the last backed-up data.

Naming Convention

  • Backup files created for a sharded database generally follow the same naming convention as non-sharded database backups.

  • Each shard keeps its backup files in a folder whose name consists of:

    • Date and Time (when the folder was created)
    • Database Name
    • $ symbol
    • Shard Number

    The backup folders for a 3-shard database named "Books", for example, can be named:
    2023-02-05-16-17.Books$0 for shard 0
    2023-02-05-16-17.Books$1 for shard 1
    2023-02-05-16-17.Books$2 for shard 2

Server-Wide Backup

Server-wide backup backs up all the databases hosted by the cluster, by creating a backup task for each database and executing all tasks at a scheduled time.

  • A server-wide backup will create backups for both non-sharded and sharded databases.
  • To create a backup for an entire sharded database, the operation will define and execute a backup task for each shard, behaving as if it was defined manually.


The backup task that we define here is similar to the task we would define for a non-sharded database. As part of a sharded database, however, this task will be re-defined automatically by the orchestrator for each shard.

var config = new PeriodicBackupConfiguration
    LocalSettings = new LocalSettings
        FolderPath = @"E:/RavenBackups"

    //Azure Backup settings
    AzureSettings = new AzureSettings
        StorageContainer = "storageContainer",
        RemoteFolderName = "remoteFolder",
        AccountName = "JohnAccount",
        AccountKey = "key"

    //Amazon S3 bucket settings
    S3Settings = new S3Settings
        AwsAccessKey = "your access key here",
        AwsSecretKey = "your secret key here",
        AwsRegionName = "OPTIONAL",
        BucketName = "john-bucket"

    // Google Cloud bucket settings
    GoogleCloudSettings = new GoogleCloudSettings
        BucketName = "your bucket name here",
        RemoteFolderName = "remoteFolder",
        GoogleCredentialsJson = "your credentials here"

var operation = new UpdatePeriodicBackupOperation(config);
var result = await docStore.Maintenance.SendAsync(operation);

Casting Backup Results

In a sharded database, results are returned by Backup in a ShardedBackupResult type.
This type is specific to a sharded database, and casting it using a non-sharded type will fail.

Backup Options Summary

Option Available on a Sharded Database Comment
Store backup files created by shards in local shard machine storage Yes Shards can store the backups they create locally.
Store backup files of sharded databases remotely Yes Shards can store the backups they create on remote S3, Azure, or Google Cloud destinations.
Create Full backups for sharded databases Yes
Create Incremental backups for sharded databases Yes
Create Logical backups for sharded databases Yes
Create Snapshot backups for sharded databases No Snapshot backups CANNOT be created for (nor restored to) sharded databases.
Create periodic backup tasks for sharded databases Yes
Run a manual one-time backup operation on a sharded database Yes
Include sharded databases in a server-wide backup operation Yes A server-wide backup operation will create backups for all databases, including the sharded ones.