Improve Backup Performance

Brent Ozar on backup tuning:

QUESTION 1: HOW FAST CAN SQL SERVER READ DATA FROM DISK?

You can measure this by doing a full backup to disk, but use the NUL: option:

  1. BACKUP DATABASE MyDb TO DISK=‘NUL:’

This does a backup, but doesn’t actually write it anywhere, so it’s a measure of how fast the data files can be read from storage. If you run this, know that you’re taking a real backup: this backup can break your differential backups.

Vital follow-up:  Sean McCown’s talk on performance tuning for backups.  SQL Server backups have a few knobs you can turn, like buffercount, maxtransfersize, and number of files.

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