2nd Hub solely as a “backup”

The Memorial Day sale has prompted me to purchase a 2nd C-7. My current C-7 set up has been working pretty much flawlessly for almost 2 years now and I am very happy with it. For my use case, one hub has been able to run everything I want/need without any significant slowdowns, failures or data problems (knock on wood!).

However, since this is a device that (as long as it works), is utilized and considered more as an “appliance” in the house, I am anticipating that I will be utilizing a C-7 in its current capacity well into the future barring any major changes in my needs. Keeping this in mind, and being a belt and suspenders kind of guy, I purchased a 2nd C-7 not so much to expand my system, but more as a backup hub in the event that my original hub goes south (would be incredibly detrimental to the WAF now that she has finally admitted to liking the convenience of automation and hands-free control).

I’ve searched the community but haven’t found a thread with a clear or definitive suggestion (either philosophy or actual practical steps) regarding best practices on how to best set up a 2nd hub for use as basically an identical backup so that should the primary hub fails, the duplicate backup hub can easily replace it with a minimum of hassles and little to no down time for the WAF.

I have found and read several threads on using a 2nd, 3rd or 4th hub to expand the mesh system, but this is not what I am interested in (nor need) at this time.

Among other questions:

  1. Should the new hub be registered (just to make sure it works while under warranty) then just stored in a box?
  2. Should the backup hub be connected to the network and the primary hub’s database be periodically uploaded to the backup hub?
  3. How is the original hub duplicated onto the backup hub?
  4. Should the backup hub (after the primary hub’s database is uploaded to it) be removed from the network to prevent potential corruption or hardware failure, or
  5. Should the backup be left on the network and periodically updated to keep in sync with the “operational” primary hub?
  6. Finally, what are the step-by-step procedures to set up this backup hub?

I would truly appreciate some suggestions regarding your thoughts regarding the above as well as any other thoughts/suggestions/discussion on stuff I haven’t even considered in my naivete.

As always, thanks so much to the community for any help. I’ve only been using HE for just under two years now, but have delved into home-auto stuff going back almost 40 years now starting with X-10, Stargate, stuff of my own design and many (too many) others since. But, none have compared to Hubitat and the HE community. TIA for any help.

Well, this is a complicated subject. But, if you have any z-wave devices, I would recommend purchasing a hub protect subscription, so you can migrate your z-wave devices to the new hub without have to reset and re-include them.

Your zigbee devices will have to be reset and re-paired, but when they do so, it will be with their "old" device-id and name (as long as you do not delete those from the new hub).

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There are a few. :smiley:

https://community.hubitat.com/search?q=%22hot%20spare%22

Or rather, a few answers to a similar question--because running a true "hot spare" is not possible, as Zigbee and Z-Wave devices can only be paired to one "hub" (coordinator/controller) at a time. So, as @aaiyar mentions, this is a bit complicated.

Hubitat only offers the ability right now to transfer Z-Wave radio information to a new hub via Hub Protect. (I believe this is something they were hoping to do for Zigbee too as part of this service but ran into some hardware or firmware limitation, I assume--maybe some day.) Luckily, Zigbee devices aren't too difficult but will require re-pairing. Unlike Z-Wave (without Hub Protect), they'll at least slide right back into place. Starting in firmware 2.3.1, you also have the new "Swap Apps Device" feature that lets you swap most devices with most others, so if you don't have Hub Protect and don't mind re-pairing all your Z-Wave devices, that should work for most (child devices being the exception). That's one thing new since any/most of the above was written.

LAN devices generally won't care too much, though if any point to your hub directly, you may need to change that IP address in their on-device configuration (most probably don't work this way, though). Some cloud integrations may also need re-configured as your hub's GUID will change and that is used as part of most cloud-accessible URLs (Alexa, Google Home, etc. integrations, for example).

Otherwise, how you want to save your backups and when and how you want to take them is pretty much up to you. Just be aware of what they will and won't do. Same with if or how you want to test your new hub for basic functionality before you need it (I probably would?) or bring it online from time to time.

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Thanks for your detailed reply @bertabcd1234 . I did find those threads in the search but had some difficulty piecing together all the bits and pieces so was just looking for a “best practices” guide. Most of the threads discussed mainly what could not be done if I read them correctly (especially with regards to Z-wave devices).

Fortunately, I have very few Z-wave devices (just a couple of Z-wave plus devices) and unless Z-wave LR becomes more prominent, don’t anticipate needing a lot more Z-wave devices.

Anyway, thank you for your help and explanations. It was the most succinct and clear summary I read so far without getting into the weeds. Close to 40 years in the home automation hobby (for me, I’m no pro at this) has taught me how easy it is to get sucked down the rabbit hole, lol! Thanks again.

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Just a quick side note. Not directly related to the thread (but I am after all the OG). Got a message and announcement via RM and Echo Speaks that a package was delivered to the front porch. I was not expecting anything today so I assumed it was something the wife ordered. Turns out (woohoo!) it was my 2nd C-7! I was not expecting it as I had just ordered it yesterday. Wow, delivered in just under 24 hours. Thank you Hubitat!

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Revisiting this topic as I have finally found the time to actually play with the new secondary hub and once again call on this great community to help out a relative novice.

So, if the new hub is only being held in reserve as a hardware backup, so I just register it (to make sure it works) using my existing account, then unplug it and keep it in storage until it is needed when/if my primary hub fails for whatever reason? If the primary hub fails, then can I just download its backup file onto the new hub (with the understanding that I would need to re-pair my Z-wave and Zigbee devices)?

Essentially, I want to be able to basically “duplicate” my primary hub if the primary fails, with the understanding that I cannot have both hubs active at the same time since Z-wave and Zigbee devices can only be enrolled on one hub at a time).

Thanks in advance for any clear step by step instructions on the best way to accomplish the above!

This is what I did (and pair a couple of unused devices to make sure the radios are functioning

Same here

Yes

Simply make sure you download a backup of your running hub each time you make some changes like adding new devices/rules and you should be all set !

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Thank you much @rocketwiz. Once again the community comes thru right away! Appreciate it!

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