Database Backup

Database backup definition

Database backup is the process of creating a copy (backing up) of an organization’s structured data utilized by popular databases such as SAP HANA and Microsoft SQL Server.

The purpose of creating a copy is to reconstruct the original data when the need for data and database workload recovery arises in the face of accidental deletion, corruption or attack.  

In hybrid cloud deployments, structured data can be found on-premises in database workloads running on physical servers, virtual machines, or within containers, or running in virtual machines or containers in the cloud.

What is database backup?

Database backup is a data protection solution for structured data that reside in database workloads – and should optimally cover hybrid environments — as companies require backup and recovery of their data both on-premises and in cloud environments. Structured data housed in enterprise databases is critical to the businesses who rely on them to store data in a relational manner as a backend for many business-critical applications, including ERP, SCM, CRM , and more. With the cost of downtime ever-increasing, companies must ensure they have secure backups of their data for speedy recovery.

In today’s on-demand, always-on world, a database backup can no longer use older methods the require shutting down the database engine to perform a backup.  Database backup solutions today need to perform the backup operation while the database is still running. This type of backup requires a lot more work behind the scenes, because data is still being written to the database workload while it is trying to be copied out for protection.  Database workload protection solutions using an integrated method can perform a backup of all files in the database including tablespace, partition, Master database, transaction logs and other related files to the instance, without shutting down the database engine..  This helps to ensures that database workloads are not corrupted during the backup process. It is best to perform scheduled database backups frequently and periodically to protect continuously changing structured data.

What is the database backup process, and how does it work?

A database backup protects all the structured data associated with business-critical database workloads. On-premise or cloud-based database backups can be implemented  to various backup storage targets: onsite, offsite, cloud – or they can follow a hybrid cloud approach.

Regardless of the structured data backup’s designated destination, companies must follow careful steps to ensure proper backup and data protection. The main stages of the database backup process include:

  • Identify sources of structured data that needs to be backed up and protected, such as tables, instances, and logs.
  • Determine the database backup type: full, differential, transaction log, copy-only backup, partial backups, or file and filegroup.
  • Designate a destination for the backup data either on-premises, in the cloud or both.
  • Execute the backup or schedule it for a more suitable time
  • Run periodic restores to another database location to validate the data.

Database backups are sent to a storage location for recovery in the event of data loss. Database backup solutions can write to local or to cloud storage. It is important to consider storage strategy particularly for large data sets, to weigh cost considerations as well as RPOs and RTOs.  3-2-1 rule of backup dictates that companies need to have 3 copies of their data, in 2 different places, with one offsite. Database backup solutions should give companies the flexibility to have primary storage on premises for quick recovery of large on premises workloads, while sending secondary copies to cloud, as an air gapped offsite storage. In addition, databases running in the cloud will want flexible options to leverage cloud storage for primary and secondary backup copies.

Lastly, database backup solutions must be architected for fast data restore, so companies leveraging the database backup can get their data back quickly when they need it, to keep the business running smooth.

Why is database backup important?

The amount of data created daily is staggering, and all of it must be stored and protected against potential loss. The average size of a data breach was estimated at 26 thousand records, while the cost per lost record was $150. The impact of data loss on businesses lasts for years after a disruptive event. Without robust database backup, it is fair to expect some data loss and application failure due to scheduled and unscheduled disruptions. Without database workload protection, businesses run the risk of revenue and abnormal customer losses due to extended outages and recovery times. Over the past four years, the rise of data breach events led to an increase in abnormal customer loss, costing businesses up to $5.7 million per existing customer lost. In short, database backup keeps your business healthy and brings your business back to life faster in the aftermath of a disruptive event. IDC research finds that the average cost of downtime is $250,000 per hour.

Benefits of database backup

The demand on database workloads has grown over the years.  Not only are there more databases, they are now larger, faster, and more complex than before.  Businesses are relying on bigger and faster databases to store their information, and if lost, their data would be irreplaceable. The benefits of database backup include reduced downtime, business continuity, and database recoverability from a malicious attack, like ransomware.

Digital data and applications are the drivers of business growth. Protecting business-critical workloads and applications that depend on Microsoft SQL and SAP HANA is vital for business survival. Database workload protections provide a safety net against data loss, corruption or attack.

The right database backup offering need to extend the benefits of data protection for companies to include:

  • Hybrid cloud flexibility. Protect your structured data and database workloads with active on-premises backup and secondary copies in the cloud to avoid unwanted potential disruptions. Companies must select the storage options – cloud, on-premises, or both — that fit their business requirements for scalable flexibility and speedy recovery.
  • Seamless Scale. As data grows,backups need to continue without interruption or slowing down, and companies should look for vendors that provide seamless scale.
  • Security and compliance. Companies need to ensure they can protect structured data with encryption in flight and at rest. Access management with role-based authentication controls using single sign-on (SSO) and security assertion markup language (SAML) is critical, as is maintaining regulatory compliance with a wide range of supported standards, including HIPAA, GDPR, SOC2 and ISO 27001.
  • Hassle-free management. Simple self-service management is key for database and IT admins to work more effectively. A BaaS – or cloud-based solution for database backup can deliver on this simplicity – with no-hassle deployment, no backup infrastructure to manage, automatic updates. Pre-configured configuration wizards can also help deploy and recommended database backup best practices within a solution.
  • Cost-optimized operations. Protect existing investments with a database backup solution that extends resources to the cloud. This approach frees resources tied up in on-premises infrastructure and shifts upfront Capex to budget-friendly operating expenses.
  • Ransomware recovery readiness – AI-enabled monitoring for abnormalities in data patterns can provide early warning for ransomware attack, while air gapped database backup infrastructure and backup copies can enable recovery.
  • Tight integration.  Integration with these bigger, faster, more complex database workloads is critical today.  Database administrators can take advantage of the power of Application Programming Interface (API) from a database backup solution to perform backup and restores from the database interface.
  • Single pane of glass management with other backup needs. Companies can simplify IT operations through selecting a vendor that provides breadth of data protection – to manage database backups together with other data backup needs – for example, for protecting VMs, containers, endpoints and SaaS applications as well.

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Common use cases for database backup

Organizations of all sizes use database data protection in many ways, including these use cases:

  • Business continuity. With database backup software, businesses can protect all their structured data and configurations needed to bring business back to life following unpredictable disruptions. With active on-premises backup and cloud copies, companies can be more confident that they have reliable disaster recovery plans in place.
  • Data protection. Without proper database workload protection, your data remains susceptible to potential loss and corruption. Database backup preserves the integrity of your business-critical structured data and provides readily available usable copies of lost data – whether through accidental deletion, overwriting data, or attack.
  • Disaster recovery. Most, if not all, businesses and IT environments will likely face unexpected events that could cause data loss, corruption, or disrupts operations. Using database backup software ensures readiness and reduces the risks associated with unplanned business disruptions

Does Metallic offer database backup?

Yes! Metallic Database Backup provides a Backup as a Service (BaaS) solution that backs up critical data in  Microsoft SQL Server and SAP HANA databases. By delivering on the comprehensive benefits listed above, Metallic offers database and IT admins and easy-to-use solutions that give them the tools and the visibility they need to minimize risks to critical applications and data. The Metallic solution offers total protection for database workloads on-premises or in the cloud to help you thrive in a hybrid cloud IT environment.