Snow, Heathrow Airport, Disaster Recovery

I recently flew from Boston to the UK through the Heathrow airport. It just happened to be on the day that the UK got about 1.5 inches of snow (sorry, 3.8 centimetres, according to Weather Underground though, just 15mm, not sure about that). I spent a little more than four hours sitting on the runway at Heathrow before I was able to get out of the airplane. It was a frustrating and tiring experience, but it made me think about disaster recovery. Having a Disaster Recovery Plan Most of us have a Disaster Recover (DR) plan. Of course we do. Well, probably. Well, we take backups. Well, we occasionally take some backups. Well, we're pretty sure someone within the organization may have taken a backup once... somewhere... probably. Heathrow Airport…
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SQL Server Backups Are A Business Decision

SQL Server 2005, SQL Server 2008, SQL Server 2012, SQL Server 2014, SQL Server 2016
Blog post #3 in support of Tim Ford’s (b|t) #iwanttohelp, #entrylevel Read more about Tim's challenge here. It's very easy to think of SQL Server backups as a technical problem. You have so much stuff going on, BACKUP DATABASE commands, recovery models, BACKUP LOG commands, Differential backups. Getting them all into the correct order and automating the processes sure seems like a technical problem. It isn't. It's all about the business. If you're taking on the duties of a DBA whether you're an accidental DBA, a reluctant DBA or you were voluntold into the DBA position, you need to plan to sit down with responsible parties from the business and get an understanding with them regarding RPO and RTO. RPO is a TLA for Recovery Point Objective. The easiest way to…
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How Do You Know You’re Good At Your Job?

Professional Development
You've been working as a DBA for X number of years. How do you know you're good at it? Heck, you've been doing any sort of job for a while. How can you measure whether or not you're competent? The single best measure isn't how much work you do, your accomplishments, the number of databases designed, whatever measure you have. That's not it. The real measure, the one that counts, how do you perform when everything goes south? When that server goes offline or that database develops corruption or that SSIS package fails or, heck, you get a request to fix something that's broken, even non-technical stuff like an incorrect W-2 form (fighting this battle currently)? Did you run around like your hair was on fire? Did you sit there…
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SQL Server 2014 Backup to URL

Azure, SQL Server 2014, TSQL
I'm absolutely in love with the concept of being able to create a backup directly to a protected, off-site location. Yeah, you can spend all sorts of money on terribly wonderful technology to enable that within your enterprise. And if you have that kind of money, great. But, what if you're like most everyone else and you just want a little more protection without mortgaging the house? Let's take a look at one possibility, backup to URL. There have been ways to backup to hosted storage, whether it was DropBox, AWS or Azure blob storage, for quite a while. But, every method I tried out involved setting up some type of drive on your system. As soon as you had your K:\ drive mapped out to AWS or whatever, you…
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Database Backups: Things You Need To Do Now

SQL Server 2005, SQL Server 2008, SQL Server 2012, TSQL
I want to say a few things about database backups that you need to know. Wait a minute, haven’t you written about backups before? Why, yes. Yes I have. Aaand… you’re doing it again because? Have you noticed the shocking number of questions that come up on SQL Server Central and #sqlhelp regarding backups? Have you noticed the incredibly huge number of people who don’t have backups at all? That’s why. To get the word out. Oh, good point. Carry on. Because backups are so easy, people tend to discount them. That is, until they need them. Then, suddenly, they become extremely important. Here’s a suggestion: Make databases important now. Learn how SQL Server backup works. Make sure you have backups on your systems. Make sure you have the appropriate…
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Practice Your Restores

SQL Server 2005, SQL Server 2008, SQLServerPedia Syndication
Steven Jones posted an excellent editorial today all about how your backups are only good if you know that you can restore from them. He couldn't be more correct. I posted the following thoughts in the comments, but I know not everyone reads the comments in articles & editorials. Although, if it's a good article, you should read the comments, especially on SQL Server Central. Frequently the discussion about the article can be as enlightening as the article itself. But I digress. Steve's point, pretty clearly stated but I'll repeat it, backups don't matter, restores do. I'm going to pile on to this point just a bit, because it can't be emphasized enough. Nothing is more important than verifying backups, except, verifying that you know how to run a restore. You're…
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