Editorials, SQL Server

SQL Server Backups and The Cloud

It used to be that SQL Server backups were the topic of every other webinar that was hitting the airwaves. Nowadays, that’s not the case; so many things have happened that make the backups just automatic. Not the least of these is the fact that your cloud provider may well be taking care of backups for you, making sure they happen, applying best practices for rotating archives, etc.

But…

One of the things that has always been the case is that it’s actually more important to understand the RESTORE process, if you’re picking one or the other. The restore process is what brings your systems back online – of course it’s kinda the whole point of the backup process.

Cloud providers can make it seem incredibly simple to backup and restore your database, but recovering your database can be another challenge, and it’s one that is extremely important to understand fully, and to have experience with. The time to find out how restoration and recovery happen with your cloud-based SQL Server is *not* when the system is gasping for air.

Different options typically exist when it comes to restoration, but know that in many cases you’re restoring to a different database than you backed up from – while this may seem pretty obvious, many times, depending on what you’re trying to recover, it can be the case where the restore is part 1, and the recovery steps are what takes place after that.

It’s really important to test out and do backup and restore processes…

  • that test restore to a point in time
  • that test single table restores
  • that test a subset of table data (oops a series of data was modified incorrectly) that needs to be restored
  • that test and time the process of a complete database restoration process, and the applications that point to it

Essentially, think about the things that you are relying on for your systems – make sure you know how to support those recoveries. It’s much less likely you’re server will catch on fire (exaggeration) and more likely that you’ll be addressing a less-than-total-restoration. How do you do the process? How long does it take? What does success look like?

…have you written up the process? Your future self will thank you.

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