HBase Snapshots allow you to take a snapshot of a table without too much impact on Region Servers. Snapshot, Clone and restore operations don't involve data copying. Also, Exporting the snapshot to another cluster doesn't have impact on the Region Servers.
Prior to version 0.94.6, the only way to backup or to clone a table is to use CopyTable/ExportTable, or to copy all the hfiles in HDFS after disabling the table. The disadvantages of these methods are that you can degrade region server performance (Copy/Export Table) or you need to disable the table, that means no reads or writes; and this is usually unacceptable.
To turn on the snapshot support just set the
hbase.snapshot.enabled property to true.
(Snapshots are enabled by default in 0.95+ and off by default in 0.94.6+)
<property> <name>hbase.snapshot.enabled</name> <value>true</value> </property>
You can take a snapshot of a table regardless of whether it is enabled or disabled. The snapshot operation doesn't involve any data copying.
$ ./bin/hbase shell hbase> snapshot 'myTable', 'myTableSnapshot-122112'
List all snapshots taken (by printing the names and relative information).
$ ./bin/hbase shell hbase> list_snapshots
You can remove a snapshot, and the files retained for that snapshot will be removed if no longer needed.
$ ./bin/hbase shell hbase> delete_snapshot 'myTableSnapshot-122112'
From a snapshot you can create a new table (clone operation) with the same data that you had when the snapshot was taken. The clone operation, doesn't involve data copies, and a change to the cloned table doesn't impact the snapshot or the original table.
$ ./bin/hbase shell hbase> clone_snapshot 'myTableSnapshot-122112', 'myNewTestTable'
The restore operation requires the table to be disabled, and the table will be restored to the state at the time when the snapshot was taken, changing both data and schema if required.
$ ./bin/hbase shell hbase> disable 'myTable' hbase> restore_snapshot 'myTableSnapshot-122112'
Since Replication works at log level and snapshots at file-system level, after a restore, the replicas will be in a different state from the master. If you want to use restore, you need to stop replication and redo the bootstrap.
In case of partial data-loss due to misbehaving client, instead of a full restore that requires the table to be disabled, you can clone the table from the snapshot and use a Map-Reduce job to copy the data that you need, from the clone to the main one.
The ExportSnapshot tool copies all the data related to a snapshot (hfiles, logs, snapshot metadata) to another cluster. The tool executes a Map-Reduce job, similar to distcp, to copy files between the two clusters, and since it works at file-system level the hbase cluster does not have to be online.
To copy a snapshot called MySnapshot to an HBase cluster srv2 (hdfs:///srv2:8082/hbase) using 16 mappers:
$ bin/hbase class org.apache.hadoop.hbase.snapshot.tool.ExportSnapshot -snapshot MySnapshot -copy-to hdfs:///srv2:8082/hbase -mappers 16