SQL Backup gives peace of mind to Ysaias Portes, senior DBA

Ysaias Portes image

Ysaias Portes, a senior DBA at Memorial Healthcare System, likes to save his adventures for trips to faraway places. When it comes to his job, he wants calm and quiet. Fortunately, he's found an ally for his preferences in SQL Backup from Red Gate.

"It gives me peace and lets me sleep," says Portes.

It also lets him travel without worrying about backup. That was especially welcomed on a recent two-week trip to his home country, the Dominican Republic. Portes had enough to think about on that trip, with the earthquake devastation facing his neighbors in Haiti, where he has long-time friends.

"It was tough to see good friends suffer, so I was relieved not to have work-related stress."

Familiar backup issues

It hasn't always been that way. Before SQL Backup, Memorial Healthcare System (MHS), the fifth-largest public healthcare system in the United States, had issues familiar to DBAs presiding over large SQL Server installations: not enough storage space, no monitoring of backups, and a backup procedure that was manual and tedious.

"We were using an automated data protection tool for SQL Server backup, and it's not a tool designed for that job," says Portes. "If the backup failed, nobody would know."

The situation was becoming serious as data was doubling in size and local hard drives were being maxed out. Reliability was a central concern too, as Memorial Healthcare System databases contain information for more than 10,000 employees in five hospitals and multiple clinics and cancer centers, as well as patient information for those facilities. If something goes wrong with the database, employees might not get paid or physicians might not have the patient information they need for treatment.

"About 25 percent of our SQL Servers are on critical systems that must not be down at any time," says Portes.

Finding the right tool

Portes is a detail-oriented person. So when it was time to select a backup system, he put all the major tools in the marketplace through their paces before making a decision.

"I was looking for ease of deployment and manageability, compression rate, notification reliability, and the ability to integrate with T-SQL code," says Portes. "SQL Backup was a clear winner."

MHS recently upgraded its 80 licenses of SQL Backup to SQL Backup Bundle licenses (since renamed the SQL DBA Bundle), which gives Portes and his team access to SQL Monitor, Red Gate's SQL Server monitoring and alerting tool. With SQL Backup, Portes has assurance that he will be notified of backup failure, and with SQL Monitor, he will know whether a server has failed.

"One tool complements the other," says Portes.

Besides the comfort factor, Portes has conserved computing resources and reduced his backup time. He estimates that his two terabytes of data is compressed by 90 to 95 percent through the combination of SQL Backup and the automated data protection tool that's now being used as a complementary product.

"Although our data has doubled in size over the last two-and-a-half years, we are using about the same amount of storage space," he says. "We haven't had to buy more space and backup is much quicker."

Expanding Red Gate use

The good experience with SQL Backup has led MHS to buy multiple licenses of Red Gate's SQL Toolbelt, which provides 14 SQL Server tools under a single installer.

"When you're buying tools to manage critical systems, you want to stick with a company that can provide integrated solutions that do what you need," says Portes. "Red Gate does that for us. We have about a half-dozen people who use Red Gate tools every day."

It all adds up to better sleep and travel free from work stress for Ysaias Portes.

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