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GRT or SQL Agent for virtual SQL Server

Created: 02 Nov 2010 • Updated: 04 Nov 2010 | 3 comments
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I have a SQL Server installed on a VM and am wondering what are the advantages/disadvantages of backing up the SQL data with GRT inside the Virtual Infrfrstructure agent as opposed to using the SQL agent. The .mdf and .ldf files are backed up when I use GRT, but I don't see the pretty little SQL Server icon as a selection if I want to restore the SQL data from this backup. Should I use both GRT and the SQL agent when backing up this VM?

Many thanks,


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CraigV's picture

Hi Dennis,

You cannot do GRT restores from SQL. What the agent will do is allow you to back up the SQL instance/s, and then restore them to the another SQL server.

Without it, you would have to restore the flat file, and then copy to another server before running the required SQL tasks to mount it.

If you have the cash, get the SQL agent if these types of restores are important to you.


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Colin Weaver's picture

OK With the AVVI and SQL Licences enabled on the Media Server you can do a single pass backup of your complete SQL server but as long as Application GRT for SQL is enabled in the job properties you can then restore an individual database back to the SQL Instance (this is what we mean by SQL GRT in AVVI - i.e. the ability to restore one database from inside an image backup of the VMDK). Note the SQL GRT restore selections should be visible in the Windows machine name Branch of the restore selections (not the VMWare branch which will only show the VMDK files)


- In theory quicker especially if you can do SAN transport backups.

- Complete DR of Virtual machine much easier (note you don't need the SQL GRT bit to achieve this, basic AVVI will do.


- If the SQL Database requires log truncation (so not in simple mode) then is difficult to mix the AVVI backup with a log backup to achieve this.


With a SQL Agent backup only (using RAWS) you would run a file system backup and a SQL Database backup.


- Cheaper if you don't already own the AVVI license

- Easier to implement log truncation


- Potentially slower as you have to do a LAN backup

- Much more difficult to do a complete virtual machine DR as you have to restore the operating system and then restore SQL


Of course you can run a mixture i.e. run an AVVI backup for DR puroposes less frequently than running a sequence of SQL Agent backups, which is kind of what we would suggest if you need to do log truncation.