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Restore a Backup

New in version 2.0: Scylla Manager

This document provides information on how to restore data from backups that were taken using the Scylla Manager.

There are two restore scenarios:

  1. Backup to the same topology cluster. For example, restore data to the same source cluster.

  2. Backup to a different topology cluster. For example, restore data to a smaller or bigger cluster, a cluster with a different rack or DC topology, or different token distribution.


  1. Prepare for restore

  2. Upload data to Scylla

Prepare for restore

No matter which backup scenario you are using, the procedures in this workflow apply.


  1. Identify relevant backup files

  2. Restore the schema

Identify relevant backup files


  1. List all available backups and choose the one you would like to restore. Run: sctool backup list, this command lists all backups for the cluster.

    sctool backup list -c my-cluster
     - sm_20191210145143UTC
     - sm_20191210145027UTC
     - sm_20191210144833UTC
     - system_auth (2 tables)
     - system_distributed (1 table)
     - system_traces (5 tables)
     - auth_service (3 tables)

    Find the backup you want, and copy the desired snapshot tag. Snapshot tags encode the date they were taken in UTC time zone. For example, sm_20191210145143UTC was taken on 12/10/2019 at 14:51 and 43 seconds UTC. The datasource for the listing is the cluster backup locations. Listing may take some time, depending on how big the cluster is and how many backups there are.

  2. Once you have a snapshot tag, use sctool backup files in order to get paths of all the files uploaded during the backup. See Backup Files Example to see how to find out which files belongs to which nodes in the cluster.

Listing files when your cluster is completely lost

  • Create a cluster

  • Register the cluster in Scylla Manager

  • Make sure that old cluster locations are available from new cluster nodes

  • List the backups available and locate your backup, for example: sctool backup list -c my-new-cluster --all-clusters -L dc1:s3:location1 -L dc2:s3:location2

  • List the files in the identified backup using sctool backup files - See List the backup files for an example.

Restore the schema

As Scylla 2019.1 and 3.2 do not backup schema information, you need to recreate it manually.

  • If you do not have the schema file available, you can extract the schema from backup

  • If and once you have the file, follow Steps 1 to 5 to restore the schema, delete the commit log, and to delete the files in the keyspace and table you want to restore to.

Upload data to Scylla

You can either upload the data:

To the same cluster

List the backup files

List the backup files needed on each node and save the list to a file.

sctool backup files -c my-cluster --snapshot-tag sm_20191210145027UTC \
--with-version > backup_files.out

Each line describes a backed-up file and where it should be downloaded. For example:

s3://backups/backup/sst/cluster/1d781354-9f9f-47cc-ad45-f8f890569656/dc/dc1/node/ece658c2-e587-49a5-9fea-7b0992e19607/keyspace/auth_service/table/roles/5bc52802de2535edaeab188eecebb090/mc-2-big-CompressionInfo.db      auth_service/roles-5bc52802de2535edaeab188eecebb090

This file has to be copied to:

  • Cluster - 1d781354-9f9f-47cc-ad45-f8f890569656

  • Data Center - dc1

  • Node - ece658c2-e587-49a5-9fea-7b0992e19607

  • Directory - /var/lib/scylla/data/auth_service/roles-5bc52802de2535edaeab188eecebb090/upload

Download the backup files

This step must be executed on each node in the cluster.

  1. Copy backup_files.out file as /tmp/backup_files.out on the node.

  2. Run nodetool status to get to know the node ID

  3. Download data into table directories. As the file is kept in S3 so we can use S3 CLI to download it (this step may be different with other storage providers).

    cd /var/lib/scylla/data
    grep ece658c2-e587-49a5-9fea-7b0992e19607 /tmp/backup_files.out | xargs -n2 aws s3 cp
  4. Return to the Restore Procedure and follow Steps 9 and 10


After performing the above on all nodes, repair the cluster with Scylla Manager Repair. This makes sure that the data is consistent on all nodes and between each node.

To a new cluster

In order to restore the backup to a cluster that has different topology, you have to use an external tool called sstableloader. This procedure is much slower than restoring to the same topology cluster.


  1. List all the backup files and save the list to a file.

    sctool backup files -c my-cluster --snapshot-tag sm_20191210145027UTC > backup_files.out
  2. Copy backup_files.out file as /tmp/backup_files.out on the host where sstableloader is installed.

  3. Download all files created during backup to a temporary location.

    mkdir snapshot
    cd snapshot
    # Create directory structure.
    /tmp/backup_files.out | awk '{print $2}' | xargs mkdir -p
    # Download snapshot files.
    cat /tmp/backup_files.out | xargs -n2 aws s3 cp
  4. Execute the following command, providing a list of node IP addresses and path to sstable files.

    sstableloader -d <list of IP addresses> <path to snapshot directory>