This article was first written in June 2005 for the BeezNest technical website (http://glasnost.beeznest.org/articles/269).
For BDB and HDB backends only, online backups (ie without stopping slapd to backup) are possible with slapcat.
For example, to backup the directory “dc=example,dc=com” to /tmp/ldap-backup.ldif:
slapcat -f /etc/ldap/slapd.conf -b "dc=example,dc=com" -l /tmp/ldap-backup.ldif
For other backends, the best solution is to replicate to another LDAP server and backup this one.
See also: How do I backup my directory?