Restore from backup

This procedure will describe how to restore from backup taken using Scylla Manager to a fresh empty cluster of any size.

First identify to which snapshot you want to restore. To get list of available snapshot execute following command on Scylla Manager Pod.

sctool backup list -c <CLUSTER_ID> --all-clusters -L <BACKUP_LOCATION>


  • CLUSTER_ID - is a name of a cluster or ID under which ScyllaCluster was registered. You can find it in ScyllaCluster Status.

  • BACKUP_LOCATION - is a location where backup is stored. For example, for bucket called backups stored in AWS S3, location is s3:backups.

sctool backup list -c simple-cluster --all-clusters -L s3:backups
  - sm_20201227144037UTC (409MiB)
  - sm_20201228145917UTC (434MiB)
  - users (9 tables)
  - system_auth (2 tables)
  - system_distributed (3 tables)
  - system_schema (13 tables)
  - system_traces (5 tables)

To get the list of files use:

sctool backup files -c <CLUSTER_ID> -L <BACKUP_LOCATION> -T <SNAPSHOT_TAG>


  • SNAPSHOT_TAG - name of snapshot you want to restore.

Before we start restoring the data, we have to restore the schema. The first output line is a path to schemas archive, for example:

s3://backups/backup/schema/cluster/ed63b474-2c05-4f4f-b084-94541dd86e7a/task_287791d9-c257-4850-aef5-7537d6e69d90_tag_sm_20201228145917UTC_schema.tar.gz      ./

To download this archive you can use AWS CLI tool aws s3 cp.

This archive contains a single CQL file for each keyspace in the backup.

tar -ztvf task_287791d9-c257-4850-aef5-7537d6e69d90_tag_sm_20201228145917UTC_schema.tar.gz
-rw------- 0/0           12671 2020-12-28 13:17 users.cql
-rw------- 0/0            2216 2020-12-28 13:17 system_auth.cql
-rw------- 0/0             921 2020-12-28 13:17 system_distributed.cql
-rw------- 0/0           12567 2020-12-28 13:17 system_schema.cql
-rw------- 0/0            4113 2020-12-28 13:17 system_traces.cql

Extract this archive and copy each schema file to one of the cluster Pods by:

kubectl -n scylla cp users.cql simple-cluster-us-east-1-us-east-1a-0:/tmp/users.cql -c scylla

To import schema simply execute:

kubectl -n scylla exec simple-cluster-us-east-1-us-east-1a-0 -c scylla -- cqlsh -f /tmp/users.cql

Once the schema is recreated we can proceed to downloading data files.

First let’s save a list of snapshot files to file called backup_files.out:

kubectl -n scylla-manager exec deployment.apps/scylla-manager-controller -- sctool backup files -c simple-cluster -L s3:backups -T sm_20201228145917UTC > backup_files.out

We will be using sstableloader to restore data. sstableloader needs a specific directory structure to work namely: <keyspace>/<table>/<contents> To create this directory structure and download all the files execute these commands:

mkdir snapshot
cd snapshot
# Create temporary directory structure.
cat ../backup_files.out | awk '{print $2}' | xargs mkdir -p
# Download snapshot files.
cat ../backup_files.out | xargs -n2 aws s3 cp

To load data into cluster pass cluster address to sstableloader together with path to data files and credentials:

sstableloader -d 'simple-cluster-us-east-1-us-east-1a-0.scylla.svc,simple-cluster-us-east-1-us-east-1a-1.scylla.svc,simple-cluster-us-east-1-us-east-1a-2.scylla.svc' ./users/data_0 --username scylla --password <password>

Depending on how big is your data set, this operation may take some time. Once it finishes, data from the snapshot is restored and you may clean up the host.