From how the Moodle seems to work currently is the cronjob running the automated backups only uses a single thread and can only use one cpu core (please correct me if I am wrong). Since most systems now run at least 4-8 course wouldn't it be more efficient for the backup process to start a thread for multiple courses? Lets say start a thread for 4-8 courses at a time? That way the server can use its multiple cores to run the back up process? This is of course assuming the database is robust enough to keep up with multiple backups occurring at the same time. It would be interesting triggering the back up processes on other Apache servers for environments on cluster.