The SQL Server Storage Stomper = SQL LiteSpeed

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1 The SQL Server Storage Stomper = SQL SQL is the storage saver for SQL Server backups with unprecedented compression technology August 11, 2003 Written by: Jeremy Kadlec Edgewood Solutions

2 2 Are you panic stricken with SQL Server databases growing exponentially demanding greater storage? Are the SQL Server databases supporting more critical applications with more costly downtimes? Are the backups and business processes taking longer? These questions typically raise eye brows at most organizations with no immediate solutions. That was until the recent introduction of SQL from DBAssociatesIT. SQL has gained acceptance in many organizations by its unprecedented compression that yields storage savings of 50 to 95 percent for SQL Server backups. The corresponding backup time savings are generally 50 to 75 percent faster with restore times being approximately 30 to 50 percent faster. This magnitude of benefits gives DBAs as well as Storage, and Network Administrators greater management options and organizations an eye opening Return on Investment (ROI) from SQL, SQL Server and existing infrastructure components (servers, SANs, tape libraries, tapes, etc). From a technical perspective, organizations have been enjoying the capabilities of SQL Extended Stored Procedure syntax and Command Line Interface and are excited about the eminent GUI release of SQL in July This new GUI is an MMC interface that resembles the SQL Server Enterprise Manager familiar to many IT professionals. Additionally, this release will distinguish SQL backups from native SQL Server backups by taking the guess work out of cumbersome backup procedures. Business Storage Needs SQL Server has become a staple at most organizations for critical applications and core infrastructure components. More than ever before, applications relying on SQL Server databases have high visibility and require special care for 24X7 operations. The largest data stores at any organization are databases, with a recent trend of exponentially growing SQL Server databases. With this volume of database growth comes greater backup challenges that are time consuming and require special care from dedicated staff. As 24X7 operations have become the norm for SQL Server environments, many organizations are facing difficult decisions with regards to completing backups or business processes while not impacting users during core business hours, i.e. 9:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. Some solutions include scaling up while others are related to major code re-writes. Unfortunately, both options are very costly, time consuming, and do not address a primary concern, minimizing the amount of storage. SQL Server has become highly visible and critical for organizations. It has become a core component for 24X7 operations with dedicated staff. A recent trend is exponentially growing databases with complex and costly storage requirements. SQL Benefits SQL offers substantial storage benefits for organizations of all sizes and across numerous storage technologies. These benefits are derived from its unique compression technology yielding 50 to 95 percent storage savings for SQL Server backups. The compression also results in unprecedented time savings needed for SQL Server environments. As Figure 1 indicates, a SQL Server database that is 64 GB with a native backup of 44.5 GB has a 7.8 GB SQL backup. For the same 64 GB database, the native SQL Server backup time is 38 minutes; with SQL only 13 minutes are needed to complete the operation. 1 This scenario provides an 82 percent storage savings with the ability to store five databases with the same amount of disk space and tapes for offline and off-site storage.

3 Size (GB) Native (min) Native Figure 1 Size and Savings 1 Figure 2 outlines additional SQL results with various server and disk subsystem configurations common to many organizations. 2 In general, across the various server configurations (manufacturer, CPU, memory, etc.) and disk subsystems (RAID, RPMs, etc) the storage savings are generally 80 percent with time savings between 60 and 80 percent of the native SQL Server configurations. These results are typical for most organizations and do not rely on any proprietary hardware or software device drivers. SQL capabilities are directly from SQL Server to any disk subsystem with the flexibility to backup locally, remotely or to a centralized tape library. This flexibility offers organizations with a variety of backup strategies the opportunity to leverage SQL and reap the inherent benefits. System Config Conventional SQL Reduction Conventional Size (GB) SQL Size (GB) Storage Space Savings 1 CPU 3 GB Single EMC 3 min 38 sec 79 % % 4 CPU 64 GB Striped Local 38 min 13 min 66 % % 8 CPU 50 GB Striped EMC 55 min 23 min 58 % % Figure 2 - SQL and Storage Savings 2 In addition to the quantifiable storage and time savings, SQL can also be configured to encrypt backups with 128-bit encryption with the same degree of storage and time savings for SQL Server backups. This level of protection on disk and tape will serve as a needed deterrent from backup file misuse as well as meet pending industry regulatory requirements such as HIPAA, GLBA, SAS 70, etc. Needless to say, SQL offers significant benefits to the entire organization accountable for managing SQL Server including backups, business operations and storage management. These benefits are in terms of time and cost savings for the IT staff on a daily basis and for IT management to support the organization s overall mission.

4 4 ID Role Benefits SQL Benefits for IT Staff Members 1 Storage Administrator Reduce storage requirements up to 95 percent for daily backups 1 Less storage costs to house SQL Server backups with a typical 3 to 6 month recoup time frame 3 Less disk I/O causing contention among resources on a centralized storage device 1 2 Administrator Shorter database backup times by 60 to 80 percent on a daily basis 1 Shorter database restore procedures on an as needed basis by 30 to 50 percent 1 Less storage to backup from disk to tape by 60 to 80 percent for SQL Server backups As much as 50 percent fewer tapes are required to support daily backups for off-site storage Simple integration with the existing backup infrastructure (hardware and software) 4 3 Network Administrator Less network bandwidth requirements to support daily backups to a central device Faster bare metal restoration procedures to bring a server online under intense time pressures Simple installation process for SQL Server 2000/7.0 on Windows NT 4.0, 2000 and 2003 servers 1 4 Administrator Ability to store more backups on disk with the same amount of disk space Improved disaster recovery procedures based on database restoration as a first line of defense Faster backup and restore process to compliment business processes, maintenance, roll-outs, etc. Familiar interface (GUI, Extended Stored Procedures and Command Line) to complete backups 1 5 IT Management Post pone storage investments and upgrades to support the SQL Server environment Reduce cost for storage of backups on disk and to tapes for daily rotations Less downtime associated with Disaster Recovery procedures Additional time to complete backups and business processes with less contention Quantifiable ROI for SQL Server and the storage subsystem with SQL 5 SQL has become an investment that can be recouped in three months solely based on the disk and tape savings for the SQL Server database backups. 3 This investment is improved with the ability to execute business processes without contention from backups and typical business operations. Additional improvements are recognized during critical downtimes when database recovery time is critical. Conclusion SQL Server is benefiting many organizations and will continue to support more business critical functions with exponentially growing databases. With SQL Server databases growing at this rate, the backup times will continue to increase requiring more complex backup procedures with additional staff members and greater operational costs. These SQL Server backup problems can be alleviated with SQL s unprecedented compression capabilities yielding significant storage and time savings as well as a quantifiable ROI attractive to any SQL Server environment.

5 5 Additional Information Check out the following valuable SQL resources from Edgewood Solutions: Download a trail of SQL - and Restore Back to Basics with SQL - Integrating SQL in your existing Infrastructure - Spotlight - SQL Return on Investment - Resources 1. DBAssociatesIT Accessed DBAssociatesIT Accessed Edgewood Solutions Helps Companies with Microsoft SQL Server Save Significant and Money - - Edgewood Solutions Accessed Integrating SQL in your existing Infrastructure - Jeremy Kadlec Edgewood Solutions Accessed Spotlight - SQL Return on Investment - Greg Robidoux - Edgewood Solutions Accessed About the Author Jeremy Kadlec Jeremy Kadlec is the Principal Engineer at Edgewood Solutions, (www.edgewoodsolutions.com) a technology services company delivering full spectrum Microsoft SQL Server Services on the east coast of the United States primarily in the Washington DC and Boston areas. Jeremy can be reached at or Learn more about how Edgewood Solutions delivers databases at their finest at Copyright Edgewood Solutions All Rights Reserved Some names and products listed are the registered trademarks of their respective owners.

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