These are tough economic times, and many enterprises deploying SQL Server are on the lookout for strategies to reduce expenses. In spite of the downturn in revenues, the situation is not so dire that organizations would opt to get rid of ongoing services or existing service subscriptions. The majority would like to go on, albeit with streamlined costs.
By selecting SQL Server for starters, you have selected a server that offers value for money, being the only one among its contemporaries whose enterprise package comes inclusive of business intelligence functions. In addition, you get user-friendly Reporting Services without having to pay extra for them.
There’s no doubt that off-site tape storage has brought a cheaper way for enterprises to manage their data. It also takes care of disaster events like fires, earthquakes and other threats to on-site backup locations, making it a worthier alternative to remote backup. Still, if you are considering off-site database backup, then you need to carefully weigh your options.
Databases tend to be big, and this presents a problem, especially when using remote SQL Server backup services. For instance, it’s not viable to back up a 3TB database over a WAN, since this would probably take longer than your backup window allows.
If the enterprise needs to have off-site backups in addition to in-house backup solutions either for archival, regulatory or statutory reasons, then offsite tape storage offers a faster and less expensive way to backup large databases.
- Recovery time targets
Imagine the worst happening: There is a hurricane that flattens your main data repository. How much downtime is allowable for normal operations to proceed with the least interruption, even with such catastrophes? Sure, a remote solution can kick in within a few hours, but you should weigh that against the cost.
This means that you weigh the potential time taken to get off-site tapes back up and running versus the additional expense of a remote solution.
- Backup partner
The next step, should you decide to use off-site storage solutions, is to vet various service providers and choose the best among them. You’re interested in a partner whose transportation and storage systems are at par with the recommended industry best practices to ensure data security and integrity at all times.
You will also need someone who can offer fast access to the SQL backup tapes within the shortest time when need arises. Another important consideration is their level of flexibility regarding pickups so that you don’t have to incur the additional cost of hiring courier services.
Choosing Remote Backup
If you choose to employ a remote backup solution, you want to ensure your server-level agreement is comprehensive and iron-clad. Request for a backup recovery test run to ensure that their team can restore your SQL databases in the time stated in the SLA. You should also confirm that the remote service provider has the storage space and bandwidth to attend to all their clients with minimal downtimes and no resource-contention.
At the end of the day, the most important consideration is the effect of your off-site solution on disaster recovery and business continuity. Where the requirements are not so stringent, off-site backup tapes can provide an inexpensive but effective storage solution.