Business databases store the most valuable, mission operational information for the companies, at the same time they are the toughest and the most challenging systems to back up.
It is very important to approach this issue correctly, for losing data can have serious consequences for the business, from embarrassment to severe lawsuits and compensatory damages.
Luckily there is a whole range of tools and ways in which a database can be backed up, from built in solutions to variety of offline and online backup options.
1. Offline database backups
These backup solutions are pretty simple to use. Users specify where they wish to store the backup files, where to send email notifications and what time to execute the backup. If database is operational from 8 am to 6 pm, after 6 a database can be copied, and this can be done every night.
These solutions are highly applicable to databases that hold all the data in one file. Of course the disadvantage is a possibility that database crashes during the day, then companies are in danger of losing all the transactions since the previous backup.
An option to prevent this is to create additional backup during the business day, over a lunch break, when all work is stopped. These solutions are not suited for companies that cannot afford to lose any data.
2. Online backups – More comprehensive
Online backups are more complex than offline solutions. A very busy database can undertake thousands of transactions during the several hours, and all those need to be backed up.
It is likely that some transactions will be incomplete when the backup is generated, in case of offline backups that would result in have data set in an inconsistent state, but if backup software recognizes the log files, it can identify those for the period when the backup was being made, and use backup and logs together to restore the database and produce a completely consistent backup. Learn about backup software here.
3. Image backups - Maximum level of protection
Further level of protection is offered by image backups, sometimes referred to as “bare metal restore” solutions. These backups copy the content of the whole machine: the operating system, applications, data, drivers, patches – everything. It’s especially useful if a server fails catastrophically. If you have only a database backup, it can take hours, even days, of work to bring a replacement machine to the state where you can restore the database. An image backup lets you automate the rebuilding of the machine in its entirety.