SQL-BackTrack for SQL Server 3.0
Back up the back end.
BMC positions SQL-BackTrack as the backup product you turn to when you
outgrow the built-in facilities of SQL Server, and when file-system based
backup products won't do the job. I had a chance to work with a late beta
copy of version 3.0, which is shipping now.
The product was easy to install and use, with an architecture that uses
an agent on each database server and a central console to manage backups.
I was able to easily back up a database or a group of databases, and restoring
them was simple as well. Backups have a lot of flexibility, including
types of backup (differential, full, transaction log, and more) and targets
(local disk, network disk, tape, and high-end alternatives such as Tivoli
StorageManager and Veritas NetBackup). Backups can stripe across multiple
devices for speed, and open databases will be backed up properly, meaning
you don't need to build in downtime for backup.
Once you get to the restore side of the equation, you'll find one of
the big value-adds here: you can "extract an object" to restore only part
of a backup. That means you can select a table (or multiple tables) as
well as a view, stored procedure, or other object, and restore just that
piece of the database. Lots of advanced situations are handled automatically
here. For example, if you take a full backup, alter the schema of a table,
and then make a differential backup, you can still extract just that table
and restore it complete with the schema changes.
Other features include "dry run" testing for every operation, compressed
and/or encrypted backups, "logical migration" (back up a SQL Server 7.0
database and move it to a SQL Server 2000 server), and full support for
Pricing is based on the amount of data you're managing. The base price
is good for up to 25GB of data, which should give you some indication
of where BMC sees the entry level for this product. Certainly it's not
what you'd choose to work with the instance of MSDE that holds the data
for your personal Web site. But if you're running SQL Server in a corporate
data center, and looking for an advanced backup tool, it fits the bill
Mike Gunderloy, MCSE, MCSD, MCDBA, is a former MCP columnist and the author of numerous development books.