Data recovery

GPFS Snapshots provide an online backup that allows easy recovery from common problems such as accidental deletion of a file or the need to compare older versions of the same file. Snapshots of the entire GPFS file systems (/project, /users) are taken every day for the last seven days, while older snapshots are deleted automatically. Snapshots of a file system are read-only; changes can only be made to the active non-snapshots files and directories. 

How to restore a file from GPFS snapshots

GPFS snapshot creates a .snapshots subdirectory within every folder in the GPFS file system: that hidden folder holds several subdirectories with a daily backup for each one of the last seven days, starting from the current one. The name of these subdirectories follow the format snap-YYYYMMDD.

The .snapshots directories are not visible to the ls command or readdir() function as they do not return .snapshots. This is meant to prevent recursive file system utilities - such as find or tar - from entering into the snapshot tree for each directory they process.

For example, the command ls -a /project/<group_id> does not list the hidden read-only folder .snapshots, but both ls /project/<group_id>/.snapshots and cd /project/<group_id>/.snapshots do.

# ls /project/<group_id>/.snapshots
snap-20150610  snap-20150611  snap-20150612  snap-20150613  snap-20150614  snap-20150615  snap-20150616

Recovering a file or a directory from GPFS snapshots is straightforward. For instance, Type cd /project/<group_id>/.snapshots and choose the most convenient snapshot among the available dates, then copy the old file to the original directory. 


The file myfile in the directory /project/<group_id>/<myfolder> has been deleted or modified by mistake and you want to retrieve the version of the day before.

$ cd /project/<group_id>/<myfolder>/.snapshots
$ ls
snap-20150610  snap-20150611  snap-20150612  snap-20150613  snap-20150614  snap-20150615  snap-20150616
$ cd snap-20150615
$ ls
$ cp myfile /project/<group_id>/<myfolder>