EventStoreDB requires regular maintenance with two operational concerns:

You might also be interested learning about EventStoreDB diagnostics and indexes, which might require some Ops attention.

Scavenging events

When you delete events or streams in EventStoreDB, they aren't removed immediately. To permanently delete these events you need to run a 'scavenge' on your database.

A scavenge operation reclaims disk space by rewriting your database chunks, minus the events to delete, and then deleting the old chunks. The scavenged events are also removed from the index.

Running a scavenge causes the active chunk to be completed so that it can be scavenged.


Scavenging is destructive. Once a scavenge has run, you cannot recover any deleted events except from a backup.

Starting a scavenge

EventStoreDB doesn't run Scavenges automatically. We recommend that you set up a scheduled task, for example using cron or Windows Scheduler, to trigger a scavenge as often as you need.

You start a scavenge by issuing an empty POST request to the HTTP API with the credentials of an admin or ops user:

curl -i -d {} -X POST http://localhost:2113/admin/scavenge -u "admin:changeit"

You can also start scavenges from the Admin page of the Admin UI.

Start a scavenge in the Admin UI

Each node in a cluster has its own independent database. As such, when you run a scavenge, you need to issue a scavenge request to each node. The scavenges can be run concurrently, but can also be run in series to spread the load.

Stopping a scavenge

Stop a running scavenge operation by issuing a DELETE request to the HTTP API with the credentials of an admin or ops user and the ID of the scavenge you want to stop:

curl -i -X DELETE http://localhost:2113/admin/scavenge/{scavengeId} -u "admin:changeit"

You can also stop scavenges from the Admin page of the Admin UI.


Scavenge is not cluster-wide Each node in a cluster has its own independent database. As such, when you run a scavenge, you need to issue a scavenge request to each node.


Stop the scavenge before taking a file-copy style backup

Scavenge progress

As all other things in EventStoreDB, the scavenge process emit events that contain the history of scavenging. Each scavenge operation will generate a new stream and the stream will contain events related to that operation.

Refer to the $scavenges stream documentation to learn how you can use it to observe the scavenging operation progress and status.

How often to scavenge

This depends on the following:

  • How often you delete streams.
  • How you set $maxAge, $maxCount or $tb metadata on your streams.
  • Have you enabled writing stat events to the database.

You should scavenge more often if you expect a lot of deleted events. For example, if you enable writing stats events to the database, you will get them expiring after 24 hours. Since there are potentially thousands of those events generated per day, you have to scavenge at least once a week.

Scavenging online

It's safe to run a scavenge while EventStoreDB is running and processing events, as it's designed to be an online operation.


Performance impact: Scavenging increases the number of reads/writes made to disk, and it is not recommended when your system is under heavy load.

Scavenging options

Below you can find some options that change the way how scavenging works on the server node.

Disable chunk merging

Scavenged chunks may be small enough to be merged into a single physical chunk file of approximately 256 MB. This behaviour can be disabled with this option.

Command line--disable-scavenge-merging

Default: false, small scavenged chunks are merged together.

Scavenge history

Each scavenge operation gets an id and creates a stream. You might want to look at these streams to see the scavenge history, see how much time each operation took and how much disk space was reclaimed. However, you might not want to keep this history forever. Use the following option to limit how long the scavenge history stays in the database:

Command line--scavenge-history-max-age

Default: 30 (days)

Backup and restore

Backing up an EventStoreDB database is straightforward but relies on carrying out the steps below in the correct order.

Types of backups

There are two main ways to perform backups:

Disk snapshotting

If your infrastructure is virtualized, disk snapshots is an option and the easiest to perform backup and restore operations.

Regular file copy

  • Simple full backup: when the DB size is small and the frequency of appends is low.
  • Differential backup: when the DB size is large or the system has a high append frequency.

Considerations for backup and restore procedures

Backing up one node is recommended. However, ensure that the node chosen as a target for the backup is:

  • up to date
  • connected to the cluster.

For additional safety, you can also back up at least a quorum of nodes.

Do not back up a node at the same time as running a scavenge operation.

Read-only replica nodes may be used as backup source.

When either running a backup or restoring, do not mix backup files of different nodes.

The restore must happen on a stopped node.

The restore process can happen on any node of a cluster.

You can restore any number of nodes in a cluster from the same backup source. It means, for example, in the event non-recoverable three nodes cluster, that the same backup source can be used to restore a completely new three nodes cluster.

When you restore a node that was the backup source, perform a full backup after recovery.

Database files information

By default, there are two directories containing data that needs to be included in the backup:

  • db\ where the data is located
  • index\ where the indexes are kept.

The exact name and location are dependent on your configuration.

  • db\ contains:
    • the chunks files named chk-X.Y where X is the chunk number and Y the version.
    • the checkpoints files *.chk (chaser.chk, epoch.chk, proposal.chk, truncate.chk, writer.chk)
  • index\ contains:
    • the index map: indexmap
    • the indexes: UUID named files , e.g 5a1a8395-94ee-40c1-bf93-aa757b5887f8

Disks snapshot

If the db\ and index\ directories are on the same volume, a snapshot of that volume is enough.

However, if they are on different volumes, take first a snapshot of the volume containing the index\ directory and then a snapshot of the volume containing the db\ directory.

Simple full backup & restore


  1. Copy any index checkpoint files (<index directory>\**\*.chk) to your backup location.
  2. Copy the other index files to your backup location (the rest of <index directory>, excluding the checkpoints).
  3. Copy the database checkpoint files (*.chk) to your backup location.
  4. Copy the chunk files (chunk-X.Y) to your backup location.

For example, with a database in data and index in data/index:

rsync -aIR data/./index/**/*.chk backup
rsync -aI --exclude '*.chk' data/index backup
rsync -aI data/*.chk backup
rsync -a data/*.0* backup


  1. Ensure the EventStoreDB process is stopped. Restoring a database on running instance is not possible and, in most cases, will lead to data corruption.
  2. Copy all files to the desired location.
  3. Create a copy of chaser.chk and call it truncate.chk. This effectively overwrites the restored truncate.chk.

Differential backup & restore

The following procedure is designed to minimize the backup storage space, and can be used to do a full and differential backup.


First backup the index

  1. If there are no files in the index directory (apart from directories), go to step 7.
  2. Copy the index/indexmap file to the backup. If the source file does not exist, repeat until it does.
  3. Make a list indexFiles of all the index/<GUID> and index/<GUID>.bloomfilter files in the source.
  4. Copy the files listed in indexFiles to the backup, skipping file names already in the backup.
  5. Compare the contents of the indexmap file in the source and the backup. If they are different (i.e. the indexmap file has changed since step 2, or no longer exists), go back to step 2.
  6. Remove index/<GUID> and index/<GUID>.bloomfilter files from the backup that are not listed in indexFiles.
  7. Copy the index/stream-existence/streamExistenceFilter.chk file (if present) to the backup.
  8. Copy the index/stream-existence/streamExistenceFilter.dat file (if present) to the backup.
  9. Copy the index/scavenging/scavenging.db file (if present) to the backup. It should be the only file in the directory.

Then backup the log

  1. Rename the last chunk in the backup to have a .old suffix. e.g. rename chunk-000123.000000 to chunk-000123.000000.old
  2. Copy chaser.chk to the backup.
  3. Copy epoch.chk to the backup.
  4. Copy writer.chk to the backup.
  5. Copy proposal.chk to the backup.
  6. Make a list chunkFiles of all chunk files (chunk-X.Y) in the source.
  7. Copy the files listed in chunkFiles to the backup, skipping file names already in the backup. All files should copy successfully - none should have been deleted since scavenge is not running.
  8. Remove any chunks from the backup that are not in the chunksFiles list. This will include the .old file from step 1.


  1. Ensure the Event Store DB process is stopped. Restoring a database on running instance is not possible and, in most cases, will lead to data corruption.
  2. Copy all files to the desired location.
  3. Create a copy of chaser.chk and call it truncate.chk.

Other options

There are other options available for ensuring data recovery, that are not strictly related to backups.

Additional node (aka Hot Backup)

Increase the cluster size from 3 to 5 to keep further copies of data. This increase in the cluster size will slow the cluster's writing performance as two follower nodes will need to confirm each write.

Alternatively, you can use a read-only replica node, which is not a part of the cluster. In this case, the write performance will be minimally impacted.

Alternative storage

Set up a durable subscription that writes all events to another storage mechanism such as a key/value or column store. These methods would require a manual set up for restoring a cluster node or group.

Backup cluster

Use a second EventStoreDB cluster as a backup. Such a strategy is known as a primary/secondary back up scheme.

The primary cluster asynchronously pushes data to the second cluster using a durable subscription. The second cluster is available in case of a disaster on the primary cluster.

If you are using this strategy, we recommend you only support manual fail over from primary to secondary as automated strategies risk causing a split brainopen in new window problem.