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i read until the backup process and gave up reading through, for cold backups of online databases, you should use percona's extrabackup, its open source and free and works perfectly. http://www.percona.com/doc/percona-xtrabackup/ if you are using mysql a simple googling "hot backup mysql" will lead to that, i guess author didn't even bother to search.

besides, you need to use replication and connect a couple of slaves if you care about being online and backup from one of the slaves - which is a common practice for all databases not for mysql. if you are trying to dump from the master without slaves good luck with any database.

XtraBackup has its limitations wrt to locking when you've got a mix between InnoDB and MyISAM tables.

The problem with taking a backup from a MySQL slave is that the data is not guaranteed to be identical to the master, thanks to the subtle problems and peculiarities of the MySQL master-slave replication (some of them are described in the OP). For precisely this reason I install an automated job that periodically checksums the tables and sends the results to the DBA role.

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