Understanding Alfresco document life cycle for backup strategy

December 17, 2009

Before implementing your Alfresco backup strategy it is highly recommended that you first fully understand the Alfresco document life cycle (i.e what happen once a file is deleted).

The following diagram summarize the complete life cycle of a document and what kind of operations occure during the deletion process:

Diagram legend:


So at the end of the life cycle, the document binary is still not deleted from the file system but rather moved to the designated ‘deletedContentStore’ (usually ‘./alf_data/contentstore.deleted’). On the storage file system, the doc can then be removed via script or cron job once an appropriate backup has been performed.

For more information about the Modules involved in the document life cycle, you can refer to the following ressources:

Alfresco Trashcan Cleaner Module:
The purpose of this module is to automate the cleanup of the trashcan. That means that the user trashcan is not automatically cleaned up, so a document can stay there forever.
The “retention period” can be configured through the protectedDays parameter (trashcan-cleaner-context.xml).

For more details:
trashcancleaner readme
trashcancleaner code

Content Store Cleaner Module:
Once a document has been removed from trashcan (when trashcan has been manually or automatically cleaned up), it becomes orphan. The purpose of the Content Store Cleaner Module is to move the orphan document to the designated deletedContentStore, usually contentstore.deleted.

The orphan document retention period is configurable through the protectDays parameter.

For more details:
Content Store Cleaner Module


Basically, the conclusion is that you can configure the Alfresco system so that a file binary is deleted only if it has been backuped properly. Otherwhise, you can also choose to never delete files (and move it on low cost file storage solution). So you have several solutions available…

I will detail the backup strategy in another dedicated post (because it is relatively complex), but hope this one will help you !