Site administrators have the ability to schedule automated course backups. One of the key aspects to keep in mind when it comes to using the automated course backup feature in Moodle is to use it sparingly. In most cases it is not necessary to have course backups preformed every day of the week; usually 2 or 3 times is plenty. When performing automated backups, it is best to schedule them at slow times such as late at night or early in the morning. One thing we have found is that Sunday nights are usually a busy time for some organizations so we recommend avoiding backups on a Sunday if possible. When selecting how may backups to keep, something to consider is how much storage space you have available, as course backups can be quite large, so in some cases storing only 1 or 2 backups is beneficial.
Note: if a course is deleted any backup files contain on the site for that course will also be deleted.
The objective of this article is to provide the information needed to set up automated course backups. Using this article, you will be able to schedule these backups for opportune moments.
Sections/Summary of the Steps
Before getting into the details of setting up automated course backups, please note the following sections/steps.
- Section 1: Course backups vs. system (site) backups
- Section 2: Settings for automated course backups
This article will also expand upon the following.
Section 1: Course backups vs. system (site) backups
- Automated course backups are more expensive in terms of time and CPU usage. The recovery time to have your site running again is longer.
- Course backups are useful for obtaining "fresh" copies of courses to be re-used or distributed individually, however they should never be used as a primary backup system
- Note: if a course is deleted any backup files contain on the site for that course will also be deleted
Section 2: Settings for automated course backups
- Go to the Administration block > Site administration > Courses > Backups > Automated backup setup
- Select 'Enabled' from the drop down menu for 'Active'.
- Select the days of the week to run the backup.
- Set the execution time for the backup process. For most servers, early morning will be the best time. Keep in mind the time zone your server is using.
- Set the "Save to..." path. If you can, choose a backup path on another machine or on a different drive than the one Moodle is on. You don’t want to lose your backups at the same time you lose your Moodle site if the drive fails. If you leave the field blank, then backup zip files will be saved in the backup folder of each course files folder. Note: if the path is not recognized a red X is shown after saving, otherwise a green check.
- Click the "Save changes" button.
Once you've set up your backup schedule, Moodle will automatically create archives of all the courses on the server at the time you specified. Once the backup is complete, Moodle will send you an email describing the status of the backup.
Note: Automated course backups by default skip courses which are unavailable to students and have not been changed in the last month.
Archiving Courses Strategies
As there are a few approaches to archiving courses no longer being used there is no right answer; however, we find that many would want to consider the following.
- Making a backup of the course either through a manual course backup, automated course backup, or full copy of the site (sometimes difficult to restore / manage)
- Store the copy of the courses / site in a secure place outside of the Lambda Solutions hosting platform such as on a network drive behind lock and key
- Avoid storing the copy on an office computer because if the computer is lost or stolen not only is the data gone but the situation turns into a privacy issue
- Storing 2 or more copies as sometimes a copy could become corrupted
- After making and storing a copy of the courses / site remove the old courses that are no longer needed from the production site
- Running the backup tool over all the courses can be processor-intensive, so you shouldn't run it when there are a lot of students trying to access the server. You should always alert users with an announcement on the first page that if they log on during the backup hours they may notice a decrease in performance.
- By default, the backups will be named according to the course ID, which is not always easily recognisable. Check the box 'Use course name in backup filename' in Administration block > Site Administration > Courses > Backups > Automated backup setup to have them saved with the course shortname instead.
- A last execution log of scheduled course backups can be found in Administration block > Site administration > Reports > Backups. It displays a list of all course backups made, the time taken to create them, their status (see below), and the next scheduled automated backup execution time.
Clicking on a particular course name will cause a detailed execution log to be displayed, including date, hour and minute when each step of the backup was performed.
Please note: Information in this article is from moodle.org