Table of contents


Clone a MySQL instance from one slave to another (Carrenza only)


This process is only applicable to Carrenza environments.

This tutorial documents the process behind adding a new slave to a MySQL environment where an existing slave may or may not already exist. The process involves cloning data from an existing replication slave on to a new slave, thus keeping the replication configuration intact.

After the initial synchronisation from the existing to the new slave, both the new and existing slaves will replicate directly from the master.


In this how-to, we’re using…

  • slave$ to denote commands to be run on the existing slave
  • slave:mysql> to denote commands to be run in the original slave’s MySQL CLI
  • backup$ to denote commands to be run on the new slave
  • backup:mysql> to denote commands to be run in the new slave’s MySQL CLI


  1. Lock the original slave, preventing writes to it
  2. Copy the data from original slave to your folder on the new slave
  3. Unlock the original slave and tidy up
  4. Move the data on the new slave
  5. Start the new slave

1. Lock the original slave to prevent writes

First, find out the MySQL root password. This is in hieradata in the govuk-secrets repo (look for the mysql_root key).

Open an SSH connection to slave (this connection will remain open for the duration of the operation so it makes sense to do it in screen or tmux):

slave$: mysql -u root -p

We need to stop MySQL slaving on the original slave - the master host need not be touched as we are replicating data from existing to new slave.

Once done, we need to then flush the tables and apply a read lock to ensure no new data is written during the period we are copying data from the existing to the new slave.

Issue the following commands to MySQL:

slave:mysql> SLAVE STOP;

At this point, the connection _must_ remain open and in MySQL, so switch to a new console and login to the slave again via SSH.

2. Copy the data from the original slave to your directory on the new slave

On your second terminal run the following command:

ssh -A mysql-slave-1.backend.integration \
    sudo -E rsync --delete \
                  --exclude '' \
                  --exclude 'mysql-bin*' \
                  --exclude 'mysql-slave*' \
                  -Wavz /var/lib/mysql/ <username>@mysql-backup-1:mysql

You should set <username> to your short name as set in puppet (e.g. ‘bobwalker’).


Forwarding your ssh-agent (-A) means that anyone with sufficient access on the remote server can authenticate as you. Do not use it on un-trusted servers.


This forwards your ssh-agent to slave (-A) then, passing that agent to sudo’s environment (-E), rsyncs the mysql files to backup.

-a is archive mode, which is - in essence - a shortcut to using ’-r -l -p -t -g -o -D’, which are common switches used during backups.

: -v is versbose -P shows progress during the transfer -h makes the output from rsync human-readable –stats tells rsync to report on the connection speed and such. Progress is already reported using -P.

Sometimes, for some unknown reason, rsync will fail to copy across all of the data. This manifests itself as MySQL complaining when you run SHOW SLAVE STATUS\G in a MySQL prompt that it could not find certain tables.

Both rsync and tarball/scp methods take some time - possibly a number of hours.

3. Unlock the original slave and tidy up

When it is finished, switch back to your first terminal. You should still be at the MySQL prompt. Unlock it:

slave:mysql> UNLOCK TABLES;
slave:mysql> SLAVE START;

The original slave should then begin to catch up with master. You can monitor this with:

slave:mysql> SHOW SLAVE STATUS\G

You should see that seconds_behind_master drops to 0.

4. Move the data on the new slave

Login to the new slave server via SSH and stop MySQL:

backup$: govuk_puppet --disable
backup$: sudo service mysql stop

Delete the original MySQL data:

backup$: sudo rm -rf /var/lib/mysql

Move the MySQL directory from your Home Directory to /var/lib:

backup$: sudo mv ~/mysql /var/lib/
backup$: sudo chown -R mysql:mysql /var/lib/mysql

5. Start the new slave

Start MySQL and Puppet:

backup$: sudo service mysql start
backup$: govuk_puppet --enable

Login to MySQL:

backup$: mysql -uroot -p
Password: <the root password from the original slave>
backup:mysql> SHOW SLAVE STATUS\G

You should see:

Slave_IO_Running: yes
Slave_SQL_Running: yes
Seconds_Behind_Master: <should be decreasing to 0>

6. Conclusion

You should now have two replication slaves, both with data, replicating the master. The process above can be used for any new replication slaves you wish to add in future.

As you are copying the /var/lib/mysql dir from an existing replication slave, there are no configuration amendments required. The slave will simply use the configuration copied from the existing slave to replicate from the master.

This page was last reviewed on 17 May 2019. It needs to be reviewed again on 17 November 2019 by the page owner #govuk-2ndline .
This page was set to be reviewed before 17 November 2019 by the page owner #govuk-2ndline. This might mean the content is out of date.