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Automatic backup plan for databases is a vital part of any successful disaster recovery strategy. Databases are used everywhere, from schools and governmental structures to Fortune 500 enterprises, and their failure can cause millions of dollars in loss. That is why it is so important for backups to be consistent, error-free, and recoverable in a timely manner.
While the concept of database backup is simple, it is often not easy to find software that can provide a reasonable level of safety. We recommend you to try out Handy Backup™ – a professional utility with a long track record of resolving problems of customers from very different industries. Our software supports MySQL, MS SQL, Oracle, DB2 and many other databases (see the list below), and has all the features that you may be looking out for, including scheduling, encryption, incremental/differential backups, and other.
Version 7.8.7, built on 2 December, 2016
This page describes features that will help plan your backups in an effective and reliable way. We also highly recommend reading general information about database backup and its types. To do it, please see Database Backup.
Efficiency of a backup plan is defined by the time it takes to roll back to a recovery point after an error and the amount of efforts and resources required for all operations. When implementing a DB backup strategy, it is important to take into account two things:
Handy Backup has six plug-ins designed for databases of different types (you can learn about each plug-in on its individual page):
Although most of the supported databases are ODBC-compatible, we highly recommend choosing database-specific plug-ins over the general one (e.g. MySQL Backup over ODBC). Please see backup recommendations for different databases below.
Version 7.8.7, built on 2 December, 2016. 65.0 MBBackup Software from Novosoft LLC. 249 USD per license.
All database backup features are included into the small business server backup edition of our software. Full-featured 30 days trial version!
Physical backup is the fastest and one of the most reliable methods of backup. It is based on working directly with the DBMS binary files, rather than accessing its data on logical level. Basically, it works as follows:
Creating snapshots of database files is not a trivial matter, because many DBMS work with their files exclusively and prevent any other software from reading them. Our utility uses the Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) provided by Windows OS, which lets it back up Microsoft Exchange Server and Microsoft SQL Server through the backup-related API provided by these applications.
Since VSS is Microsoft’s proprietary technology, most databases don’t support it (the only exception is Oracle, which is discussed later). The good news is that there is a workaround that lets you back up VSS-unaware databases without stopping it. The idea is as follows:
If your database doesn’t have a transaction-safe storage engine, you can simply copy it using the same Open File Backup feature. To learn more, please see VSS Backup...
Logical backup is a method that accesses data through functions and interfaces provided by the DBMS. It is slower than files-based backup, but allows copying objects without knowing their locations, even if they occupy a small part of a file, or if they are split across several files or servers.
When using logical access to DB objects, the program communicates with the DBMS as a common client application. On the one hand it is easier and safer, because client apps never see inconsistent databases. But on the other hand, for large databases (of 10GB and more) logical backup procedures become really slow and resource-heavy. It’s the matter of concept – all internal optimizations, memory management, indexing, and other DBMS features don’t help.
As a general rule, it is recommended to choose physical backup over logical backup. However, most DBMS provide no choice, and that’s why logical approach is implemented in MySQL, DB2 and ODBC plug-ins of Handy Backup.
Important note on Oracle DB: While Oracle is VSS-aware and comes with a VSS writer that allows making physical backup, the Oracle Backup plug-in uses logical approach. If you are interested in backing up Oracle using VSS (in Windows), please vote for Oracle Backup using VSS in the Coming Soon section.
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Cold backup is the simplest backup to implement. It assumes that before making a copy, you stop the database, so it doesn’t get any updates while being backed up. This technique gives no regard to DB type: “cold” files are simply copied with common file system queries, in the fastest way possible.
While this method may seem too costly, as it produces server downtime, there are schemes where can work very well. Particularly, it can be combined with database replication.
Replication is a configuration of two or several databases in which one serves as a Master, and the others serve as read-only Slaves. Synchronization of data between servers is performed in one way (Master to Slaves) and doesn’t require permanent connection, i.e. can be done asynchronously. Basically, that means that you can safely stop any Slave server, make a backup, and then run it again, with no harm to the entire system.
Besides database backup capabilities, it is important for the software to support different storage media, processing options, scheduling and incremental/differential backups. You can learn about it below, or download our software without further hesitation.
The very idea of backup suggests copying important data to a safe storage, so it can be restored in case of a data loss incident. There are three main aspects of storage that must be taken into account:
One of the most powerful sides of Handy Backup is that operations are based on data streams and are performed as resource-friendly as possible.
Database backup: data stream path
In addition to local, external and NAS drives, our program enables you to back up to FTP/SFTP/FTPS and WebDAV servers, Amazon S3, and make use of the optical media (CD/DVD/Blu-ray).
There are techniques that allow minimizing disk storage required for regular backups. All of them suggest that you start with a full backup, and then copy only changes, saving on data already backed up:
In Handy Backup, incremental backup is made on file level (if the file changed, it is copied completely), and differential backup is made on byte level, i.e. it computes the smallest changes in backups. You can schedule your backups to take place each day, week, day of months, or specify any custom period of time.
Below you can see a video example, where MySQL 5.5.16 is backed up with the MySQL Backup plug-in of Handy Backup 7.3.0:
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