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Archive for July, 2011

Moving CouchDb database files between servers

July 8, 2011 8 comments

There are several methods available for copying data between CouchDb servers. The most obvious is replication, which CouchDb does extremely well and it’s built in. If that option is viable it is probably the way to go. A while back I posted about a method I have used to use bulk document handling in Couch to copy data. That process works well too, and I continue to use that from time to time for some data.

Recently I had a situation in which I needed to set up several development and testing servers with the same initial state for the data. These were not on the same networks, and replication wasn’t convenient. I was moving a good bit of data across several databases, so the bulk document approach wasn’t attractive either. So I resorted to just copying the data files between servers. CouchDb’s design makes this easy to do.

The steps I take are probably overly cautious, but here’s what I do:

  1. Stop the couchdb service on the source host
  2. tar.gz the data files. On my Ubuntu servers this is typically in /var/lib/couchdb (sometimes in a subdirectory based on the Couch version). If you aren’t sure where these files are, you can find the path in your CouchDb config files, or often by doing a ps -A w to see the full command that started CouchDb. Make sure you get the subdirectories that start with . when you archive the files.
  3. Restart the couchdb service on the source host.
  4. scp the tar.gz file to the destination host and unpack them in a temporary location there.
  5. chown the files to the user and group that owns the files already in the database directory on the destination. This is likely couchdb:couchdb. This is important, as messing up the file permissions is the only way I’ve managed to mess up this process so far.
  6. Stop CouchDb on the destination host.
  7. cp the files into the destination directory. Again on my hosts this has been /var/lib/couchdb.
  8. Double check the file permissions in their new home.
  9. Restart CouchDb on the destination host.

You may or may not have to stop the CouchDb services, but it seems like a good idea to me to decrease the chances of inconsistent files.

I have done this a number of times now with no problems, other than when I manage to mess up the file permissions.

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Categories: couchDB