Disaster Recovery from LiteFS Cloud

The biggest advantage of using LiteFS Cloud is that you have backups to restore from in case of an unfortunate situation where you lose all the nodes in your cluster. In this doc, we’ll show you how to restore your cluster from LiteFS Cloud if you’ve lost all the nodes.

You should only follow the steps in this document if you’ve lost all nodes of your LiteFS cluster. Otherwise, you can restore from a LiteFS Cloud backup.

Start your app up with only the primary node

It’s simpler to recover a single node, rather than several nodes, so to start out with, it’s best to remove all replica nodes and run just a primary node. If your app hasn’t already restarted before you got here, just restart it with only the primary node and move on to the next step!

If your app has already restarted with multiple nodes running, you should temporarily remove all of the replicas.

If you’re running your app on the Fly Platform, you can see the machines running your app with:

fly status

You’ll see something like this:

app     784e900c2de378  1       ams     started primary         2023-07-10T13:05:40Z
app     e784e471b39208  1       ord     started replica         2023-07-10T13:01:16Z

Then destroy each machine that’s marked replica:

fly machines destroy e784e471b39208

You can re-run fly status after you’re done, to confirm you only have the primary running.

Find the correct cluster id

When your app restarted, LiteFS generated a new cluster id, which is different than the cluster id stored in LiteFS Cloud. This is a safety measure: we don’t want to accidentally overwrite data in a cluster if you inadvertently set the wrong LiteFS Cloud token for the app. You’ll see some error messages in the LiteFS logs, similar to this:

level=INFO msg="backup stream failed, retrying: fetch position map: backup client error (422): cluster id mismatch, expecting \"LFSC25AD000F32ED02A9\""

If you’re running on the Fly Platform, you can see the logs with:

fly logs

Note the cluster id specified at the end of the log message: LFSC25AD000F32ED02A9 in our example. Copy this value to use later.

Update the cluster id

Now that you have the correct cluster id, you can connect to your primary node and update the cluster id file. If your app is deployed on the Fly Platform, you can connect with:

fly ssh console

Then update the clusterid file:

echo LFSC25AD000F32ED02A9 > /var/lib/litefs/clusterid

After this, you should restart LiteFS. If you’re using the Fly Platform, close your ssh session, and then restart your app:

fly app restart

Check your logs again, and confirm you don’t see the cluster id error message anymore! You should also take a look at your app and confirm you see the data you expect before you continue.

Resolve consul key error

If you’re running on the Fly Platform (or you’re using Consul for lease management elsewhere), you may see the following errors in your logs:

2023-07-10T13:30:25Z app[784e900c2de378] ams [info]level=INFO msg="cannot connect, \"consul\" lease already initialized with different ID: LFSCA5E3680C1C2FCFFE"

You have two options to resolve this:

  • change the Consul key value that LiteFS uses. This is easy, but leaves extra Consul keys set.


  • remove the “wrong” key from Consul. This is more difficult but cleaner.

Easy option: change the Consul key

You can simply update the lease.consul.key value in the litefs.yml file. The old one will still exist in Consul, but LiteFS won’t care. For example, you can just add -v2 to the end of the Consul key value:

  type: consul
    url: "${FLY_CONSUL_URL}"
    key: "litefs/${FLY_APP_NAME}-v2" # added '-v2'

If you’re using the Fly Platform, redeploy your app:

fly deploy

Cleaner option: remove the wrong key from Consul

First, you’ll need to add consul in your image. Connect to your primary node via ssh, and install it there. Here’s how to install it:

# For debian/ubuntu-based images
apt-get install consul

# For alpine-based images
apk add consul



This url is in the format https://:{TOKEN}@{HOST}/{PREFIX}. You’ll need each of these values separately. You’ll also need the value of lease.consul.key from your litefs.yml file.

Then use the Consul CLI to delete the key with:

export TOKEN=(copy the token you found from your consul url)
export HOST=(copy the host you found from your consul url)
export PREFIX=(copy the prefix you found from your consul url)
export LITEFS_CONSUL_KEY=(copy the key from your litefs.yml file)

# and then delete the key!
consul kv delete -http-addr=https://$HOST -token=$TOKEN $PREFIX/$LITEFS_CONSUL_KEY/clusterid

After this is done, restart LiteFS. If your app is deployed on the Fly Platform, you can do this by restarting your app:

fly app restart

Add your replicas back

Once your primary node is connected to LiteFS Cloud again and your data has been recovered, you should go ahead and scale back up.

If you’re using the Fly Platform, that probably looks something like this (replacing ord with the region you’d like to run your new replica in):

fly machines clone --select --region ord