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NetVault Plug-in for SQL Server 12.0 - User Guide

Introducing NetVault Backup Plug-in for SQL Server Planning your SQL Server deployment Installing and removing the plug-in Configuring the plug-in Backing up data
Defining a backup strategy Understanding snapshot-based backups Reviewing the compression features Performing Online VDI backups Performing VSS backups in SQL Server Example of creating a full VDI backup of an AlwaysOn Availability Group
Restoring data Troubleshooting

Performing VSS backups in SQL Server

Microsoft supports the ability to create snapshots of SQL Server data using VSS. VSS allows volume backups to be performed while applications on the system continue to write to the volumes.

Microsoft provides a SQL Server VSS Writer that permits backup solutions such as Plug‑in for SQL Server to copy SQL Server data while SQL Server is running. VSS-based backups do not negatively affect SQL Server’s performance or stability.

A VSS backup using Plug‑in for SQL Server includes the steps outlined in the following topics.

IMPORTANT: Before initiating VSS backups, verify that the SQL Server VSS Writer service is running on the SQL Server. The SQL Server VSS Writer is automatically installed with SQL Server. However, the service is not enabled to start automatically. For VSS backups, start this service from the Windows Services panel — Start > Control Panel > Administrative Tools > Services. Quest recommends that you set the Startup Type for this service to Automatic.

You can define a VSS backup job regardless of the state of this service. However, the job fails if it is run while the SQL Server VSS Writer service is not running. The log for the failed backup job contains a message stating “Please ensure the SQL Server Writer service is started.”

Selecting data for a VSS backup

You must use sets — Backup Selection Set, Backup Options Set, Schedule Set, Target Set, and Advanced Options Set — to create a backup job.

Backup Selection Sets are essential for Incremental and Differential Backups. Create the Backup Selection Set during a Full Backup, and use it for Full, Incremental, and Differential Backups. The backup job reports an error if you do not use a Selection Set for the Incremental or Differential Backup. For more information, see the Quest NetVault Backup Administrator’s Guide.

TIP: To use an existing set, click Create Backup Job, and select the set from the Selections list.
1
In the Navigation pane, click Create Backup Job.
You can also start the wizard from the Guided Configuration link. In the Navigation pane, click Guided Configuration. On the NetVault Configuration Wizard page, click Create backup jobs.
2
In Job Name, specify a name for the job.
3
Next to the Selections list, click Create New.
4
In the list of plug-ins, open Plug‑in for SQL Server, and then open the All Instances node to view the individual instances.
5
Click Save, enter a name in the Create New Set dialog box, and click Save.

Setting backup options for a VSS backup

The next step involves creating the Backup Options Set or selecting an existing one.

TIP: To use an existing set, in the Plugin Options list, select the set that you want to use.
1
Next to the Plugin Options list, click Create New.
2
In the Backup Method section on the SQL Server Backup Options tab, select Use Volume Shadow Copy Services (VSS).
3
In the Backup type section, select the applicable option:
4
In the Snapshot Options section, complete the following:
Backup Files to Storage: This option, which is selected by default, copies the selected data from snapshots to a storage device. The plug-in uses a VSS provider to create persistent or non-persistent snapshots on the client, and copies the selected data from the snapshot, or snapshots, to the storage device.
Retain Snapshot as Persistent: To retain persistent snapshots on a disk array, select this check box.
If the Backup Files to Storage and Retain Snapshot as Persistent check boxes are both selected, the plug-in copies the selected files to a storage device and adds the snapshot information to the backup index.
If you clear the Backup Files to Storage check box and select this check box, the plug-in writes only the index entries to the backup stream and creates persistent snapshots on the disk array.
Discard After: If you selected the Retain Snapshot as Persistent check box and you want to delete persistent snapshots from a disk array after a specified period, select this check box and complete the expiration fields.
Regardless of the expiration settings, a snapshot is automatically deleted when the associated saveset is retired. Therefore, this option is only useful when you want to discard a snapshot before the associated saveset is retired. To expire a snapshot immediately, you must log in to the storage array, and manually expire the snapshot. Otherwise, the snapshot expires according to the retention policy selected while creating the snapshot.
NOTE: To use the Retain Snapshot as Persistent and Discard After options, the SQL Server that you back up must reside on a NetVault Backup-supported disk array and the vendor’s hardware-based VSS provider must be in place. For more information, see Understanding snapshot-based backups.
5
In the VSS Backup Options section, select Use multiple snapshots to limit demands on system resources.
NOTE: You must select the option Use multiple snapshots to limit demands on system resources for VSS Differential Database backup type if you selected it for VSS Full Database backup type.

This option can be applied when the VSS backup method is selected. When a VSS snapshot is taken, the amount of system resources required increases with the amount of SQL Server databases that is included in the snapshot. Select this option to limit the amount of system resources that are used by the VSS snapshot. When this option is selected, the Plug‑in for SQL Server groups the selected databases in groups or batches, and takes a snapshot for each batch, instead of including all the selected databases in one single snapshot. Hence, system resources are not exhausted.

The option Use multiple snapshots to limit demands on system resources cannot be combined with the option Retain Snapshot as Persistent. If Use multiple snapshots to limit demands on system resources is selected, snapshots are not retained as Persistent.

6
Click Save, enter a name in the Create New Set dialog box, and click Save.

Finalizing and submitting a VSS backup job

The final steps include setting additional options on the Schedule, Target Storage, and Advanced Options pages, submitting the job, and monitoring the progress by using the Job Status and View Logs pages. These pages and options are common to all NetVault Backup Plug-ins. For more information, see the Quest NetVault Backup Administrator’s Guide.

1
Use the Schedule, Target Storage, and Advanced Options lists to configure any additional required options.
2
Click Save or Save & Submit, whichever is applicable.
TIP: To run a job that you have already created and saved, select Manage Job Definitions in the Navigation pane, select the applicable job, and click Run Now.
You can monitor progress on the Job Status page and view the logs on the View Logs page. For more information, see the Quest NetVault Backup Administrator’s Guide.
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