How confident are you that your databases are properly backed up in case of a disaster? Have you validated your recovery point objective (RPO) and recovery time objective (RTO)? These are questions your IT department should be asking and your SQL Server database administrators should be able to answer.
Virtual Machine backups are all I need, right? Wrong!
A significant misunderstanding in the IT world today is that virtual machine (VM) backups are all you need for data protection and disaster recovery. While VM backup systems are popular with server administrators for standardizing the backup implementation across the company, they often don’t meet the point-in-time recovery objectives you have for your mission-critical data. They simply can’t provide the same capabilities as native SQL Server backups (Red Gate SQL Backup and LiteSpeed are great options too), including the ability to restore to any point in time from full and transaction log backups.
When system administrators do try to configure maintenance plans for database backups, their lack of in-depth knowledge often leads to mistakes. For example, transaction log backups sometimes fail, leading to disks filling up and systems crashing. IT administrators will often find an answer on Google telling them to switch the recovery model to simple and no longer deal with those pesky transaction logs. But this means you just lost point-in-time recovery capability.
Disaster recovery for data is not the same
How much data loss can you tolerate when disaster strikes? How much time can you operate without your database systems being online? Answering these questions and validating that you can achieve your recovery goals is key to your business functioning at the highest level regardless of what happens. Your IT team may have disaster recovery (DR) plans in place for your servers and infrastructure, but without SQL Server expertise, you may be exposed to potential data loss and an inability to quickly get your core business applications up and running when their plan is executed.
Are you still using Microsoft’s Maintenance Plan Wizard?
Microsoft’s built-in Maintenance Plan Wizard lacks the flexibility required for optimal database performance and recovery as the data set grows in size and complexity. Problems include:
- Limited backup file validation
- Indexing tasks run whether needed or not
- Maintenance causes unnecessary log growth, impacting database performance
- Past backup files are deleted even if the latest backup is corrupt
- Includes confusing options such as "database shrink", which should rarely be used
- Unnecessary redundant maintenance processes lead to a longer maintenance window than required
The good news is that SQL Server MVP, Ola Hallengren, already did the hard work of creating an award-winning SQL Server maintenance solution used by DBAs all over the world… and it’s free! No need to write your own T-SQL or PowerShell scripts, just properly configure it for your requirements and you get:
- Improved Backup file validation options
- Smarter index and statistics maintenance by only running what is needed
- Efficient maintenance tasks resulting in shorter runtimes
- Intelligent backup file retention
- Default industry-standard best practice settings
- Simple scheduling utilizing SQL Server Agent functionality
- Improved visibility into maintenance task steps
Need help with your database backups, disaster recovery validation, or maintenance plans?
Emergent Software’s SQL Server DBAs can make sure your databases are configured with a recovery strategy that matches your recovery expectations and protects you and your data from a complete meltdown and proactive system monitoring with database managed services from Emergent Software to ensure your databases are always securely backed up. Contact us today to get started.
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