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I’ve been a Windows developer since 3.0 and caught the Visual Basic wave early with v1. I’ve released a “production” application in every version of VB since then (except VB for DOS). Focusing on enterprise, line-of-business development I’ve built Call Center Applications, Mortgage finance systems, Customer Relationship Management tools and more recently I’ve been in the Litigation Support/Electronic Data Discovery/Electronically Stored Information space. Greg is a DZone MVB and is not an employee of DZone and has posted 436 posts at DZone. You can read more from them at their website. View Full User Profile

Disk, Tape, and Cloud, Oh My . . .

01.26.2013
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SQL Server 2012 SP1 Cumulative Update 2 includes new functionality that simplifies the backup and restore capability of an on-premises SQL Server database to Windows Azure.  You can now directly create a backup to Windows Azure Storage using SQL Server Native Backup functionality. Read the information below to get a brief introduction to the new functionality and follow the links for more in-depth information.

To download the update, go to the SQL Release Services Blog.

Overview:

In addition to disk and tape you can now use SQL Server native backup functionality to back up your SQL Server Database to the Windows Azure Blob storage service.  In this release, backup to Windows Azure Blob storage is supported using T-SQL and SMO.  SQL Server Databases on an on premises instance of SQL Server or in a hosted environment such as an instance of SQL Server running in Windows Azure VMs can take advantage of this functionality.

Benefits:
  • Flexible, reliable, and limitless off-site storage for improved disaster recovery: Storing your backups on Windows Azure Blob service can be a convenient, flexible and easy to access off-site option. Creating off-site storage for your SQL Server backups can be as easy as modifying your existing scripts/jobs. Off-site storage should typically be far enough from the production database location to prevent a single disaster that might impact both the off-site and production database locations. You can also restore the backup to a SQL Server Instance running in a Windows Azure Virtual Machine for disaster recovery of your on-premises database. By choosing to geo replicate the Blob storage you have an extra layer of protection in the event of a disaster that could affect the whole region. In addition, backups are available from anywhere and at any time and can easily be accessed for restores.
  • Backup Archive: The Windows Azure Blob Storage service offers a better alternative to the often used tape option to archive backups. Tape storage might require physical transportation to an off-site facility and measures to protect the media. Storing your backups in Windows Azure Blob Storage provides an instant, highly available and durable archiving option.
  • No overhead of hardware management: There is no overhead of hardware management with Windows Azure storage service. Windows Azure services manage the hardware and provides geo-replication for redundancy and protection against hardware failures.
  • Currently for instances of SQL Server running in a Windows Azure Virtual Machine, backing up to Windows Azure Blob storage services can be done by creating attached disks. However, there is a limit to the number of disks you can attach to a Windows Azure Virtual Machine. This limit is 16 disks for an extra-large instance and fewer for smaller instances. By enabling a direct backup to Windows Azure Blob Storage, you can bypass the 16 disk limit.
  • In addition, the backup file which now is stored in the Windows Azure Blob storage service is directly available to either an on-premises SQL Server or another SQL Server running in a Windows Azure Virtual Machine, without the need for database attach/detach or downloading and attaching the VHD.
  • Cost Benefits: Pay only for the service that is used. Can be cost-effective as an off-site and backup archive option.

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Dude, that's smart and cool too. While I 'm not sure I'd bet the business on a pure and only cloud backup plan, as an alternate/supplemental I think it's pretty cool. If you're already backing up to an offsite location, this might be something for you think about.

I love that's it's native too, some some kind of hacky thing...

 

Published at DZone with permission of Greg Duncan, author and DZone MVB. (source)

(Note: Opinions expressed in this article and its replies are the opinions of their respective authors and not those of DZone, Inc.)