Welcome to my world…SQL Backup 5

A year and a little bit ago, I sat down with Tom (head of development at Red Gate) to talk about what was next on the cards after SQL Data Compare. Tom asked that I join Helen and the rest of the SQL Backup team to act as technical lead on a new version of SQL Backup; this became version 5.0 a year later (with two interim releases of SQL Backup 4 in-between), and SQL Backup 5 is now ready for consumption.

I believe the final version of SQL Backup 5 raises the bar in the backup market, bringing Red Gate’s principles of ingenious tools to a market where usability and intuitiveness are oft neglected and replaced with hundreds of fairly useless and incomprehensible options, with very little guidance to help you, the user.

There are too many new and exciting features to list them all here; however I will give an overview of my favourites:

The timeline must be one of the most fundamental changes to SQL Backup 5; Dan has done an awesome job of implementing Dom and Jamie’s designs – we spent a long time on the underlying data model, making sure it scaled up across your enterprise, whether it be 5 machines or 500 machines. Helen, Jason and Priya (and the other testers we stole from different projects for varying amounts of time) have done a wonderful job testing it – often to my despair…*

In addition to the major new UI, we have been busy working on the underlying engine; Peter has done a great job of improving performance, giving us an even greater edge over our competitors, as well as adding new, often-asked-for features such as multiple thread backups creating a single file. These give the performance of backing up to multiple files the simplicity of handling just a single file.

Another important thing for us was improving the support for cluster installations, and I believe we have carried this aim through. Our installers are now cluster-aware and should install SQL Backup seamlessly to your clusters. Our cluster licensing tool, LicenseActivation.exe, will also license all nodes in your cluster for you.

The final feature that I will mention here (there are many more goodies – have a dig around and see) is the new reporting mechanism in SQL Backup 5. This will allow you to generate reports from all your installations of SQL Backup 5 across your enterprise. The reporting mechanism tells you about any backups that generated warnings, successful backups, and failed backups, all from a single location ready for you to print off.

Whether you already use SQL Backup, have done in the past, or have never tried it before, I would encourage you to give it a go – in the words of Dr Pepper: “Try it, you might like it. What’s the worst that could happen?”

Download SQL Backup 5

*Jason took it upon himself to act as timeline destroyer, throwing more and more data at it. I think the record was 5000 databases on a single instance with a million or so backups in the backup history over the period of a few days – after quite a bit of work with ANTS profiler, and some tweaking of the information queries we were running on SQL Server, SQL Backup can now deal with these situations relatively well.


To celebrate the launch of SQL Backup 5.0, we’ve teamed up with the newly released SQL Stumpers Volume 2 e-book to offer one SQL Backup Pro license each to three winners who answer the following backup-themed SQL Stumper correctly.

You are doing a restore to a point-in-time. You have a full database backup from 8PM and one transaction log that covers the time from 8PM to 10PM. Your server is SQL Server 2000. You accidentally put in the point-in-time of restore to 11PM. In Enterprise Manager, what will be the result?

(Contributed by Robert Marda)

Choose one of the answers below:

1. The full backup will be restored and the transaction log will be applied to 10PM.

2. The full backup will be restored, and then the database will go into suspect mode when it tries to apply the transaction log to a point-in-time beyond its scope.

3. SQL Server 2000 won’t let you put in a time that is not in one of the transaction logs.

4. Only the full backup will be restored.

If you think you know the correct answer and would like to be in for a chance to win, please send us details of which you think is the correct answer with your name and email address to editor@simple-talk.com.

The winners will be chosen and notified by email on Tuesday 15 May.