Smooth sailing with SQL Backup
safeguard its databases.
Ken Miller is Applications Manager in IT at Carnival UK, part of Carnival Corporation & PLC, the largest cruise line operator in the world with an 81-strong fleet including P&O Cruises, The Yachts of Seabourn and the Cunard Line. With around 75,000 employees, revenue coming to around $11.8 billion in 2006 and more than 144,000 berths across its ships, there are several terabytes of valuable SQL databases for the operational work both offshore and ashore.
Ken Miller and his team have recently rolled out SQL Backup to a new ship, Ocean Village 2, launched in April 2007. Without the help of SQL Backup, Ken found the process to back up data onboard ship complicated and time-consuming.
Typically, what would happen for onboard backups would be for each database to be backed up to a disk on the server. That backup file would then be backed up to tape. The tape would have to be moved to another location on the ship, a different fire zone where the tape could be protected in case of emergency.
For Ken, there were two major problems associated with this strategy:
- Standard backups created by native SQL Server did not compress the backup file, resulting in a frequent need for tape changeover and mounting storage costs.
- This system relied on tapes that were an effort to maintain, as Ken and his team needed to catalogue the tapes before being able to restore a specified backup.
Ken found his solution in SQL Backup. With a ship being divided into different fire zones from fore to aft for safety reasons, Ken set up a redundancy strategy to guard against disaster in case of fire or other emergencies. With a computer room in one fire zone, Ken ensured a PC was set up in a different fire zone, with one fire zone left free between the computer room and the PC. This way, one system could take over if the other were affected by fire in a different part of the ship.
On the PC in the different fire zone, Ken placed a 1 TB USB drive to which SQL Backup backed up all the ship's data. With several days' worth of data capable of being stored on the USB drive, and each cruise on Ocean Village 2 lasting around seven days, it was no longer necessary to manually change tapes at sea. Using SQL Backup, Ken determined that data should be overwritten after a certain period of time had passed. With this system in place, SQL Backup ensured the ship's backup strategy was fully self-automated. To make the strategy even more secure, Ken then wrote the files from the USB drive to tape. Once a month, the tape is landed as soon as possible, just in case the USB drive becomes redundant. And because SQL Backup compresses backups by up to 95%, only one tape is needed for each month's backups.
At every step, Carnival UK uses SQL Backup to safeguard its SQL databases. The success of Ken's system also means that it can be replicated in the fleet. With the large customer databases, both on board and ashore running on SQL Server, SQL Backup helps keep Carnival UK's passenger service at the highest standard.
It's the performance of SQL Backup that particularly impresses Ken.
We were able to restore three mission-critical databases, one of which was over 60 GB in size, to three new servers in just 30 minutes. The same process completed with native SQL Server and tape backups took us over four hours to complete. And let's not forget the lengthy task of cataloguing the tape backups for database restores that SQL Backup has now made redundant.
And because SQL Backup provides Ken with an 88% saving on time, considerable storage cost savings and peace of mind, Ken's backup strategies now really are plain sailing.
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