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Third party backup & SQL Server

01 Jul 2008

SMBs are major drivers of innovation and progress in Australia and New Zealand. As the marketplace begins to favour a new company, the owner or manager has to make a decision on how critical information is structured and accessed in order to effectively manage every detail of the business.

Regardless of a business’ size, a relational database is necessary to run a variety of applications. The challenge for SMBs becomes finding a database system that is relatively easy and cost-effective to deploy. This perhaps explains the increase in the number of smaller companies adopting Microsoft SQL Server. 

The size of SMB databases has increased exponentially over the past five years, making it a real challenge for businesses to back up and restore enormous volumes of data in a timely manner, without dedicated database administrators. Although this financial benefit is a strong driver of the adoption of Microsoft SQL, there are many other advantages to using a relational database for SMBs, including scalability, security and the development of business intelligence.

With these benefits, it’s easy for companies to have a database as the technological nerve centre of their business, but this is also where they may run into problems. When everything is functioning properly, it’s too easy to forget that backups are crucial to preserving the value and integrity of data. As users who interact with an application are always one step removed from their database, they are unaware when data could be at risk. Many small businesses neglect their data and conduct backups infrequently, if at all. Many companies who experience a system failure never fully recover.

Most SQL databases include their own backup and recovery utility. However, it is often difficult to perform if users don’t have specific expertise in database management. Security can also be a concern, as unencrypted backups almost invite impropriety from inside and outside an organisation.  Standard tools are less sophisticated, less reliable and far less thorough than specialised third party solutions and should not be relied upon as a substitute. Implementing a third party solution should not be considered a luxury add-on for SMBs, but rather a necessity. 

A complete backup requires more than just backing up a business’ database. When evaluating today’s backup and recovery solutions, look for one that treats the database as more than a combination of files, but rather as a single, combined entity.

Once a business has recognised the importance of a third party backup and recovery solution, the next step is to ensure that it deploys the best strategy. For example, even when database activity is low to medium, a full backup should be performed once a week with differential backup performed daily and transaction logs backed up every two hours. When the activity is high, the process should happen twice as often. A larger sized database with high activity should have transaction logs being backed up every 20 minutes. This may sound like over-kill, but even an hour of lost data for each employee amounts to days of work that needs to be re-done, and extraordinary amounts of potential revenue lost.

Customers need to be reminded that the standard backup and recovery features of a Microsoft SQL Server database are not sophisticated enough to offer comprehensive protection against data-loss without a professional database administrator. Resellers should be stressing the importance of implementing a  fast and easy to use third party solution to support and protect their databases.

Comprehensive recovery requires more than just data backup. Installing a third party solution that provides proven database backup technology will drastically reduce disaster recovery time. Databases can now be restored to the point-of-failure, meaning recovery is a one-step process that will return a database to the last known good state just before the failure.

It’s far too easy for businesses to become complacent about their backup strategy, and the second this happens the business is at risk.  Every organisation should have a solution that treats the database as a single, combined entity – saving not only the data, but how the data is being organised.  Third party backup solutions for Microsoft SQL Server do just this – providing protection for every facet of business data and ensuring businesses can be up and running again in no time.  

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