Windows Azure SQL Database Backups!

If you’ve seen my OnPrem to Azure presentation, then you know one of the two big reservations I had about windows azure was we couldn’t create a transactionally consistent backup of our Windows Azure SQL Database (WASD) instances. The other reservation was the lack of Active Directory integration in WASD instances. Well as of Last Tuesday, we got our backups!

Adding backups to a windows azure sql database

This is a small upgrade from what I was doing with redgate’s SQL Azure Backup. The upgrade is now, before creating a bacpac, Azure will take an automatic snapshot of your databases. This is supposed to ensure the transactional consistency of your database. Something that was lacking in redgate’s offering. I’m not slamming redgate at all. They didn’t have access to Microsoft’s infrastructure in order to take that snapshot before creating the bacpac. Now that it’s available, the only feature still missing from backups is automatically backing up your federation member databases.

Let’s run through setting up the new backups. First go to your database list, choose one of your databases, then click on configuration, the far right option. Once you’re on that page, just change the export option from NONE to AUTOMATIC.

setting up a backup in windows azure sql database You’ll then be given the option to choose your storage account. If you don’t have one, you should set one up first.

Next you can choose the frequency of your backups. We’re going daily at midnight here.

You can also choose how many copies to keep, as well as the option to keep at least one export. It’s just an extra insurance policy. Check it.

You have to choose an account with permission to read all your objects in order to create this snapshot. I haven’t tried this out with a lower level account, right now I’m running this backup with the maintenance account I set up.

I’ve just started running this backup process recently. I’m looking to test a restore later this week, and when everything checks out, I will move from redgate’s backup over to this first party backup. I’m very happy to this progress from Microsoft. We’re getting closer and closer to enterprise ready with WASD. There are some other related features that would be really nice *cough* SSIS as a Service *cough*. But for now… I’ll be happy with this!

If you have any questions about how you can take advantage of Windows Azure SQL Database for your company, let me know! I’d love to talk with you about how this service is ready to go for most of the small and medium sized companies we’ve worked with over the past two years. With over 250 of the Fortune 500’s buying in to Azure, it’s time you took a guided tour!

By Shannon Lowder

Shannon Lowder is the Database Engineer you've been looking for! Look no further for expertise in: Business Analysis to gather the business requirements for the database; Database Architecting to design the logical design of the database; Database Development to actually build the objects needed by the business logic; finally, Database Administration to keep the database running in top form, and making sure there is a disaster recovery plan.

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