Configuring Backtracking


As of Release 2.19, we added the ability to set the backtrack window for Aurora clusters. This allows you to "rewind" the database cluster to the time you specify with much more ease than manually restoring from a snapshot (requires login; learn more here). Learn more about the benefits of backtracking in this article from AWS.

The default value for the "BacktrackWindowParameter" is 0, which means backtracking is disabled. Since the backtrack value must be set on the initial deploy of the database, existing users must redeploy their database to enable it (don't worry, you won't lose any of your data). Follow the instructions below to change the parameter value and enable backtracking.

Please note: backtracking is not available for AWS GovCloud.


Updating an Existing Database to Add Backtracking

To update your existing database to add the backtracking feature, you'll need to create a new database with the setting, switch over the application to the new database, and delete the old database.

Take a Manual Backup

Start by taking a manual backup. For guidance on taking manual backups that can be restored, see our AWS RDS Backup Guide.

Create a New Database and Move the Application

  1. Let users know that the application is going down for maintenance.
  2. Create a new database CloudFormation template using the Aurora CFT included at the end of the AWS Deployment Guide (cloudtamer-aurora.json) (requires login; learn more here).
  3. Change the Namespace field in the CFT, ensuring it is different from the namespace field in the current database CloudFormation template that is already set up in the account.
  4. Paste in your latest snapshot ARN in the DBSnapshotID field.
    • The snapshot ARN can be found by accessing the AWS Console, navigating to Services (top menu) > RDS > Snapshots (left menu). Click on the Snapshot name for the one you plan to restore. The ARN is at the top of the details listed.
  5. Change the BacktrackWindowParameter field to a number >0 to enable it. The parameter value is in seconds, so entering 3600 would be 3600 seconds, or 1 hour. The maximum value is 259,200 (72 hours).
  6. Launch the creation of the stack.
  7. Once the database is available, update the cloudtamer-app CloudFormation stack with the new database URL (ensure you use the cluster writer endpoint, not the reader endpoint) and click Update.
  8. Once the app CloudFormation stack finishes, the application will be available from your web browser.
  9. Once you verified the application is working, you can delete the old DB CloudFormation stack. The process will take one final DB snapshot.

The backtrack feature does have some limitations, which are detailed in this article from AWS.



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