by November 4, 2006 0 comments

Your database, no doubt, contains critical data of your enterprise, and as
the size grows anyone would know that backups become a
routine task. There are backup and restore commands and utilities that are
in-built in MS SQL server itself. But how about a software utility that lets you
do the same with more ease and provides additional options for the backups and
restores? SQL Backup 4.6 from Red Gate is one such tool. We checked it out to
find how good it exactly can be.

Editions & features
The software comes in three versions Pro, Standard and Lite. The lite version
provides basic features such as faster backups than built-in tools, CLI and GUI
interfaces. The additional features provided in Standard over Lite include ‘higher’
compression levels, additional 128-bit encryption, e-mail notifications and
alerts. On the other hand, the Pro edition adds to these features with
multi-level encryption of up to 256 bit, a central management console, and
support for clusters and 64-bit versions of SQL Server. We used a trial version
of the Pro Edition.

Price: USD 695 (Pro, single server)
Meant For: Database administrators
Key Specs: Clustered database support, 128/256-bit AES encryption, ship logs to remote servers
Pros: Easy to use, good compaction for medium databases
Cons: No remote backup, limited encryption options
Contact: Red Gate Software, UK 
RQS# E44 or SMS Buy 131144 to 6677

Set up and GUI options
Once installed, you have to first register an ‘SQL Server Group’ when you
execute the application for the first time. You can then add your server(s)
under the group created. The tool also allows multiple server groups and
creation of subgroups within a group. You can then select a
single database out of the server(s) and groups added for back-up tasks. You
also have an option of backing only transactional logs, filtering out inactive
entries of the log.

Tests and results
We checked the capabilities of the tool over a SQL Server 2005 with two
additional user databases other than the inbuilt ones. These databases were of
sizes 180 and 80 MB respectively. While checking for compression provided and
other options, we compared the tool to the back-up tools provided by Idera and
DataBK. While the options provided by SQL Backup are not as extensive as Idera
or DataBK, it is better than the built-in tool with SQL Server.

We used all the tools to back up the larger database that we were using.
While SQL Backup gave a compression of 78.26% at the highest compression and
encryption level, Idera compressed to 82.30% at the highest settings. DataBK did
not report this statistic.

At the end of a back-up operation, the
console displays a summary screen with details of the settings used for
the back-up task along with session statistics

In a nutshell, the tool gives you good enough performance and features for the
price you pay for it. In case, you can spend more, there are more featured tools
available too.

Anadi Misra

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