On this page Carat arrow pointing down
CockroachDB v1.0 is no longer supported as of November 10, 2018. For more details, refer to the Release Support Policy.
The BACKUP feature is only available to enterprise license users. For non-enterprise backups, see cockroach dump.

CockroachDB's BACKUP statement creates full or incremental backups of your cluster's schemas and data that are consistent as of a given timestamp. These backups can be stored on the platforms you're already using, including AWS S3, Google Cloud Storage, NFS, or HTTP storage.

Because CockroachDB is designed with high fault tolerance, these backups are designed primarily for disaster recovery (i.e., if your cluster loses a majority of its nodes) through RESTORE. Isolated issues (such as small-scale node outages) do not require any intervention.

Functional Details

Backup Targets

You can backup entire tables (which automatically includes their indexes) or views. Backing up a database simply backs up all of its tables and views.

BACKUP only offers table-level granularity; it does not support backing up subsets of a table.

Object Dependencies

Dependent objects should be backed up at the same time as the objects they depend on; otherwise, you cannot restore the dependent objects.

Object Depends On
Table with foreign key constraints The table it REFERENCES (however, this dependency can be removed during the restore)
Views The tables used in the view's SELECT statement
Interleaved tables The parent table in the interleaved hierarchy

Users and Privileges

Every backup you create includes system.users, which stores your users and their passwords. To restore your users, you must use this procedure.

Restored tables inherit privilege grants from the target database; they do not preserve privilege grants from the backed up table because the restoring cluster may have different users.

Table-level privileges must be granted to users after the restore is complete.

Backup Types

CockroachDB offers two types of backups: full and incremental.

Full Backups

Full backups contain an unreplicated copy of your data and can always be used to restore your cluster. These files are roughly the size of your data and require greater resources to produce than incremental backups.

Incremental Backups

Incremental backups are smaller and faster to produce than full backups because they contain only the data that has changed since a base set of backups you specify (which must include one full backup, and can include many incremental backups).

You can only create incremental backups within the garbage collection period of the base backup's most recent timestamp. This is because incremental backups are created by finding which data has been created or modified since the most recent timestamp in the base backup––that timestamp data, though, is deleted by the garbage collection process.

You can configure garbage collection periods on a per-table basis using the ttlseconds replication zone setting.


The BACKUP process minimizes its impact to the cluster's performance by distributing work to all nodes. Each node backs up only a specific subset of the data it stores (those for which it serves writes; more details about this architectural concept forthcoming), with no two nodes backing up the same data.

For best performance, we also recommend always starting backups with a specific timestamp at least 10 seconds in the past. For example:

> BACKUP...AS OF SYSTEM TIME '2017-06-09 16:13:55.571516+00:00';

This improves performance by decreasing the likelihood that the BACKUP will be retried because it contends with other statements/transactions.

Automating Backups

We recommend automating daily backups of your cluster.

To automate backups, you must have a client send the BACKUP statement to the cluster.

Once the backup is complete, your client will receive a BACKUP response.


BACKUP TABLE table_pattern , DATABASE name , TO string_or_placeholder AS OF SYSTEM TIME timestamp INCREMENTAL FROM full_backup_location , incremental_backup_location

Required Privileges

Only the root user can run BACKUP.


Parameter Description
table_pattern The table or view you want to back up.
name The name of the database you want to back up (i.e., create backups of all tables and views in the database).
destination The URL where you want to store the backup.

For information about this URL structure, see Backup File URLs.
AS OF SYSTEM TIME timestamp Back up data as it existed as of timestamp. However, the timestamp must be more recent than your cluster's last garbage collection (which defaults to occur every 24 hours, but is configurable per table).
INCREMENTAL FROM full_backup_location Create an incremental backup using the full backup stored at the URL full_backup_location as its base.

For information about this URL structure, see Backup File URLs.
incremental_backup_location Create an incremental backup that includes all backups listed at the provided URLs.

Lists of incremental backups must be sorted from oldest to newest. The newest incremental backup's timestamp must be within the table's garbage collection period.

For information about this URL structure, see Backup File URLs.

For more information about garbage collection, see Configure Replication Zones.

Backup File URLs

The path to each backup must be unique. The URL for your backup's destination/locations must use the following format:

Location scheme host parameters
Google Cloud 1 gs Bucket name N/A
HTTP http Remote host N/A
NFS/Local 2 nodelocal File system location N/A


  • 1 GCS connections use Google's default authentication strategy.

  • 2 Because CockroachDB is a distributed system, you cannot meaningfully store backups "locally" on nodes. The entire backup file must be stored in a single location, so attempts to store backups locally must point to an NFS drive to be useful.

  • The location parameters often contain special characters that need to be URI-encoded. Use Javascript's encodeURIComponent function or Go language's url.QueryEscape function to URI-encode the parameters. Other languages provide similar functions to URI-encode special characters.


Per our guidance in the Performance section, we recommend starting backups from a time at least 10 seconds in the past using AS OF SYSTEM TIME.

Backup a Single Table or View

> BACKUP bank.customers TO 'azure://acme-co-backup/table-customer-2017-03-27-full?AZURE_ACCOUNT_KEY=hash&AZURE_ACCOUNT_NAME=acme-co'
AS OF SYSTEM TIME '2017-06-09 16:13:55.571516+00:00';

Backup Multiple Tables

> BACKUP bank.customers, bank.accounts TO 'azure://acme-co-backup/tables-accounts-customers-2017-03-27-full?AZURE_ACCOUNT_KEY=hash&AZURE_ACCOUNT_NAME=acme-co'
AS OF SYSTEM TIME '2017-06-09 16:13:55.571516+00:00');

Backup an Entire Database

> BACKUP DATABASE bank TO 'azure://acme-co-backup/database-bank-2017-03-27-full?AZURE_ACCOUNT_KEY=hash&AZURE_ACCOUNT_NAME=acme-co'
AS OF SYSTEM TIME '2017-06-09 16:13:55.571516+00:00';

Create Incremental Backups

Incremental backups must be based off of full backups you've already created.

> BACKUP DATABASE bank to 'azure://acme-co-backup/database-bank-2017-03-29-incremental?AZURE_ACCOUNT_KEY=hash&AZURE_ACCOUNT_NAME=acme-co' 
AS OF SYSTEM TIME '2017-06-09 16:13:55.571516+00:00' 
INCREMENTAL FROM 'azure://acme-co-backup/database-bank-2017-03-27-full?AZURE_ACCOUNT_KEY=hash&AZURE_ACCOUNT_NAME=acme-co'
, 'azure://acme-co-backup/database-bank-2017-03-28-incremental?AZURE_ACCOUNT_KEY=hash&AZURE_ACCOUNT_NAME=acme-co'; 

See Also

Yes No
On this page

Yes No