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No Backups with Azure SQL Database

2014/06/25

[This is part Three of Top 10 Things You Will Hate About Azure SQL Database]

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If you ask any DBA what they check first when they inherit a new SQL Server they will probably answer, “Make sure the backups are running.” It’s drilled into us that the most important thing for a DBA is to make sure that no data is lost. Which is why one of the first things DBA’s notice about SQL Database is that you cannot run the statement BACKUP DATABASE.

How can we be expected to know the data stored in our SQL Databases is safe if we can’t control our backups and restores. Of course the truth with SQL Database is we don’t have control over this, but also we may not need it.

I thought this would be an easy rant to write because it has been an issue with SQL Azure since day one, but the more I learn about SQL database less this bugs me. Since the beginning every database that is created automatically has two replicas. This ensures high availability and if the primary database fails then one of the secondary databases becomes primary and another secondary gets created. There are also manual methods of creating a database as a copy of another (CREATE DATABASE AS COPY OF) and of exporting/importing using data-tier application files that include the data (.bacpac). While these options provides continuity they certainly don’t give the level of granularity we are used to with a sophisticated backup strategy that gives us point in time recovery.

Which is why this past April Microsoft added point in time recovery in the new editions. If you are willing to pay for Premium edition then you can restore up to 35 days back including database that have been deleted. (This is true as of this writing, but Point in Time Restore is still in preview (Preview = Beta) so it could change.)

 

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