Recently my good friend and colleague Govind wrote about this topic on what are customers looking forward to when it comes to Cloud and working with Azure. The fundamental tenants that customers look at for cloud be it PaaS, SaaS or IaaS has been around:
- Reduced Maintenance headaches
- SLA backed for HA/DR
- Synchronization with on-prem
- No worry about hardware
and a few more. But for most parts the above fits the quizzing we get into. In a recent conversation, I had to outline some of the options when it comes to backup requirements with the customer which I thought is worth a share here. I am looking at this from an Azure standpoint:
- You will need to use SQL Server Agent and build your maintenance plans that can automated. This can be scripted (powershell, TSQL or others) and done for all workloads.
- For SQL Server 2008 R2 CU2 onwards, we can use Backup to URL option wherein backups from Azure VM – SQL box we can point backups to a blob storage. I wrote about this a while back and you can try the same – http://blogs.extremeexperts.com/2014/04/14/sql-server-2014-backup-to-azure-blob/
- SQL Server 2014 also supports Encrypted backups to Blob and the same article shows the same. http://blogs.extremeexperts.com/2014/04/08/sql-server-2014-encrypted-backups/
- Also from SQL Server 2014 we have option to use Managed Automated backups configured. This will take backups automatically to blob on a predefined time or based on workload pattern. Documentation for this can be found at: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dn449496.aspx
- Since we already make sure of consistency in the Azure world, we dont have to worry on this.
- For Basic, Standard and Premium editions there are SLA for Point-In-Time recovery which is 7, 14 and 35 days respectively. You can read more about this at: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/azure/jj650016.aspx . I highly recommend to use Powershell scripts to automate this, if you plan to use the them.
- In the past, I have also seen customers use Database Copy functionality to keep a copy of their database in a ready to use state every couple of days. This gives them an opportunity to go back to that version immediately without any problems. This is also an viable option if you like to use. http://blogs.msdn.com/b/sqlazure/archive/2010/08/25/10054109.aspx – Since point-in-time restores are available, I am more inclined to use that for cold standby and restores. Having said that, we can still use that feature for creating a copy for Dev, Test environments from our prod servers for testing.
These are my customer notes and I plan to start publishing these customer notes from time to time here in my blog. Since we are talking about Azure, I am sure some more additional capabilities and SLA’s can change over a period of time. So please keep an eye on the documentation for the latest values.