The series of Technical White Papers we are currently publishing are updated papers on the release of Backup Exec 2014. They are designed to introduce Symantec partners and end users to key technologies and technical concepts that are associated with the Symantec Backup Exec. The information within a Technical White Paper will assist partners and end users as they design and implement data protection solutions based on Symantec Backup and Recovery products.
This white paper is intended to assist technical personnel as they design and implement Backup Exec 2014 Agent for Applications and Databases to protect servers hosting the Microsoft SQL Server application, and make related decisions. The business value of the Agent for Applications and Databases for Microsoft SQL servers will be touched upon lightly in this white paper.
This white paper includes the following topics:
- Business Value
- Underlying Principles
- Backup Strategies for Microsoft SQL Servers
- Performance Recommendations
The Challenge of Protecting Critical SQL Servers
Properly protecting servers hosting Microsoft SQL Server can be a difficult challenge. Microsoft SQL Server is commonly one of the most critical applications that drive business operations for modern organizations, and as a result, companies need SQL to remain online and functional at all times. The more critical the role of SQL in a company’s infrastructure, the more difficult the problem of finding a time that can be used for backup and recovery operations.
Many organizations have become accustomed to using manual backup processes to protect their SQL infrastructure. However, these methods do not provide the reliability needed to ensure proper recovery of SQL in the event of a disaster, nor do they improve the availability of critical SQL systems.
There are different editions of Microsoft SQL Server that may be used by an organization depending on the organization’s size and specific needs. These SQL editions range from SQL Server Express for small organizations to SQL Server Datacenter and Enterprise editions for organizations with millions of users and computers. Problems that cause a SQL infrastructure to become unavailable for any significant period of time can potentially be very costly because Microsoft SQL Server is a comprehensive database server application and is used by many companies to store critical information. Also, the size and complexity of a database typically influences the effort required for database administration. The size of a SQL database will vary considerably, ranging between less than 100 GB to several TB.
The need to properly protect large and mission critical SQL databases on a regular basis is a necessary component of any modern SQL management strategy. Modern backup and recovery solutions designed specifically for Microsoft SQL Server are critical to helping organizations quickly recover in the event of a problem.
The Need for Backup Solutions Designed for Microsoft SQL Server
Administrators responsible for the backup and recovery of SQL environments understand the challenges associated with backup technologies that are not specifically designed to protect SQL Servers. A modern and reliable backup and recovery strategy for Microsoft SQL Server provides an essential safeguard to help protect critical data that is stored in SQL Server databases.
There are three main objectives of performing SQL backups:
- Enable the recovery of lost data in the event of a disaster
- Minimize the amount of data lost as the result of a disaster
- Minimize the downtime cost of a SQL infrastructure being offline
Administrators may be tempted to use the built-in SQL Server backup feature as their only method for protecting their SQL infrastructure. The built-in backup component is readily accessible and inexpensive. However, there are key limitations of the built-in SQL backup feature that make this a dangerous approach. It only backs up the SQL databases and not the entire server.
The Agent for Applications and Databases includes features and capabilities designed specifically to protect SQL environments and solve each of the problems listed above. The Agent for Applications and Databases enables network administrators to perform proper and intelligent backup and restore operations on installations of SQL that are connected to a network. Backup Exec 2014 incorporates online, non-disruptive SQL database protection as part of everyday backup routines, which increases the chance of data recovery and minimizes data loss without inhibiting daily database activity.
The Agent for Applications and Databases performs SQL database backups that can be integrated with network backups without separate administration or dedicated hardware. When using the Agent for Application and Databases to protect Microsoft SQL Server, administrators have the flexibility of the following capabilities:
- Database, transaction log, and differential backups, as well as database recovery and replacement
- Recovery of SQL databases to alternate locations
- During backup, copies of SQL databases can be stored to a local directory for later use
- Backups of multiple SQL instances
- Enabling a standby database to be brought online in the event of a disaster
- Database Consistency Checks (DBCC) for each backup and restore job
- Recovery of transaction logs to a specific point in time or to a named transaction
- Database snapshots
Complete Protection from a Single Solution
The Agent for Applications and Databases delivers state-of-the-art technology for the protection of growing SQL database environments ...
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