Important Tips for Safe Database Backups [Tips]

by | Apr 27, 2016 | Business Continuity

Know your best practices for database backups

While it’s always important to back up your data, it’s just as important to determine the type of data being backed up. When backing up a database, it’s crucial that you take a few additional precautions into consideration.

A database, in its most basic definition, is an organized collection of data. Many technicians (and users for that matter) work with databases everyday. It is imperative to back up these databases as often as possible and to maintain best practice procedures to ensure that if a disaster strikes, you’re ready to handle it.

The best practices for database backups is to use separate drives. In general it is recommend to have the operating system, data, and backup drives on completely separate hard disks, not on separate partitions. There are multiple reasons for doing this:

Removing the single point of failure

When storing all your information on one drive, the risk of losing a catastrophic amount of data and not being able to recover is high. If backup and maintenance operations are managed on one drive, the overall performance of the machine will decrease.

Maintenance Operations

Regular maintenance operations take up space. Eventually drives will fill up if you don’t have enough space which will cause truncation or worse, failed backups. Restoring may become time-consuming and result in a corrupted data restore.

When using a third party backup vendor such as Datto, it’s important to remember not to backup drives that hold database maintenance operations. If you currently have a drive with database operations running on the same drive, you will most likely run into the problem of your machine taking multiple full backups. Since database maintenance backup engines write data to the same backup file structure, the change will be noticed as a brand new file. For example, if you have a SQL 50GB backup that is completed every morning at 2am, you will see a 50GB or larger incremental on your backup unit instead of just a change incremental.

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VMDK Restorations

Taking a note from the two previous points, one final reason for separate drives lies closely with the restoration of VMDK files. As each drive is backed up to a single VMDK file, separate drives help minimize the risk of loss of data by segmenting assets.

The easiest way to avoid many of these issues is to move all database operations to a separate drive and point any database maintenance software to that drive. Periodically copy the data on that specific drive to an external location (NAS or USB drive). Note that you do not need to migrate the whole database. Consult the database administrator or documentation if you require assistance and as always read and follow the software’s recommend practices for maintaining an optimal database.

As there are many types of databases, database backups will each have their own set of individual best practices. For more in depth best practices, visit the following resources.

SQL Databases

Exchange Databases

Oracle Databases

MySQL Databases

myphpadmin Databases

For ?more information on database backups and best practices, please contact us.

Dale Shulmistra is a Business Continuity Specialist at Invenio IT, responsible for shaping the company’s technology initiatives -- selecting, designing, implementing & supporting business continuity solutions to bolster client operational efficiencies and eliminate downtime.