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Category: Backups

Backups on AWS RDS

Grant Fritchey shows how you can back up a database on Amazon’s RDS:

Which results in the following:

Msg 262, Level 14, State 1, Line 1
BACKUP DATABASE permission denied in database ‘HamShackRadio’.
Msg 3013, Level 16, State 1, Line 1
BACKUP DATABASE is terminating abnormally.

Completion time: 2020-06-26T08:34:23.5511314-04:00

In short, by default, you can’t backup SQL Server databases on RDS. However, that’s by default. We can make some changes.

Read on to see the proper way of backing up a database hosted in RDS.

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Backing Up Databases to Azure Blob Storage

David Fowler shows how you can back up databases to Azure Blob Storage:

SQL Server has given us the option to backup our databases directly to Azure BLOB storage for a while now but it’s not something that I’ve had all that much call to use until recently.

So this is just going to be a quick walk through on how you can backup your on premise SQL Servers to Azure BLOB storage. I’m going to assume that you’ve already got an Azure account, if you haven’t, you get set up a free trial which will see you good for this demo.

Performance typically won’t be as good as backing up locally to disk, so if you need the fastest backup performance and cloud storage, the best route would be to write backups to disk and have a separate process which migrates them to Blob Storage, S3, or wherever. But in many cases, doing this directly can work out just fine, especially if you are already using an Azure-based VM.

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Database Restoration in Docker

John Morehouse gives us one way to restore a database in Docker:

Here are the steps that we will take to make this work:

1. Download one of the sample databases from I have a “mssql” directory in my local profile to make things easier
2. Make sure the container is started.  You can issue a “docker ps” command terminal to see which containers are running
3. Create a directory within the container
4. Copy the sample database backup file into the directory you just created
5. Restore the database onto the SQL instance that is running within the container

The set of steps is fine and it’s what I normally do, though someone did suggest to set up an external volume linking, e.g., /var/opt/mssql/backups outside the container. That way, you can drop your backup file in and it’ll be there without the copy step.

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Untrusted Shared Access Signature Certificates in SQL Server

William Assaf diagnoses an issue:

If you’ve tried doing Backup to URL with SQL Server using a Shared Access Signature (SAS) certificate and received this error:

Error: 18204, Severity: 16, State: 1.BackupDiskFile::CreateMedia: Backup device ‘’ failed to create. Operating system error 50(The request is not supported.).Cannot open backup device ‘’. Operating system error 50(The request is not supported.). [SQLSTATE 42000] (Error 3201) BACKUP LOG is terminating abnormally. [SQLSTATE 42000] (Error 3013). NOTE: The step was retried the requested number of times (1) without succeeding. The step failed. 

You may have received the same error I encountered.

This error popped up only after startup of SQL Server. To resolve the problem, we’d recreate the SAS key, using the same cert in the same script, and the backups would start working again. This affected all types of SQL database backups.

William did some troubleshooting and explains the core problem. It’s a weird one.

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Surviving an Audit: Backup History

Dave Bland talks about surviving an audit:

Don’t volunteer information

Only provide the evidence they are asking for, nothing more.  You want to avoid giving them things that they do not ask for.  By doing so, you might expose something that you don’t want them to see.  The last thing you want to do, is give them a reason for documenting a finding. Another thing to remember is the audits have a defined scope.

This is some of the best advice about audits out there, particularly when combined with the other points Dave makes about being honest and doing the right thing. Dave also ties in some information about backup history as a particular auditing example.

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The Pains of Database Restoration

Stuart Moore covers some of the pains of database restoration in two posts. First, why dbatools’ Restore-DbaDatabase is a complicated as it is:

At first glance Restore-DbaDatabase looks like a slow lumberig complex beast. In reality it’s not that bad.

It’s the result of design decisions I took in wanting a solid versatile command that could cope with everything that people would want from it.

In this post, we’ll go through the main decisions/points of contention one by one

Stuart then covers the limitations of Restore-DbaDatabase:

Like all tools, Restore-DbaDatabase isn’t able to do everything that everyone wants it to. Certainly, at the moment I’d like it to write it’s own blog posts and fetch me a cold beer, but that doesn’t happen

A lot of the below isn’t complaining about people asking for features. If we can do it, we will, and we’re keen to make this work for as many people in as many situations as possible

But quite a few requests over the years have been non starters for a number of reasons.

Read them both; they’re part of Stuart’s 31 Days of Backup and Restore with dbatools series.

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Settings for Tuning Backup Performance

Stuart Moore takes us through backup tuning options in dbatools:

Backup-DbaDatabase produces a lot of output, but the one you’re really going to be interested in is Duration. You’re job is going to be to minimise this as much as possible without impacting database performance.

To test changes in isolation you’ll want to remove the biggest variables in backup performance, network and storage speed. To do this, there’s a magical backup device that’s got near infinite speed and storage you can use. This is the black hole known as the bit bucket, /dev/null or NUL:, everything thrown into this pit disappears as fast as it’s put in.

Read the whole thing. And if you’re interested in a systematic method of testing and understanding the impact of these settings on your system, I have a presentation on the topic.

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SQL Server Backup History

Dave Bland talks about a few useful tables in msdb:

How long a database takes to backup is something that over the years I have been asked to get.  These requests come for different reasons, sometimes it could be to find out how much it has increased over time, sometimes it could be to see if the backup job is interfering with other jobs and sometime it isn’t about duration at all, it is more about showing the backups were completed.  Over the years I have had a number of auditors ask of backup history.

In order to get this information we need to pull data from two tables in the MSDB database, backupset and backupmediafamily.

Read on to learn about these two tables and to get a sample query. On systems with a large number of databases and a DBA who loves frequent transaction log backups (like I do), this table can get pretty big, so don’t forget to prune that data over time.

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