SQL Database Backups Made easy on #WindowsAzure

The last couple of weeks I’ve been doing quite a lot on the Windows Azure SQL Database (still not fully operational on that new name yet, always still want to use SQL Azure …) front, especialliy in delivering presentations on the subject.

One question that always keeps returning on that subject is: Why isn’t there a build in backup solution (or even worse why isn’t there support for backup) in Windows Azure SQL Database Servers …. ?

There’s actually a couple of misinterpretations on that subject:

  1. There are some mechanism available but not as in a straight backup and maintenance plan kind of way.
  2. There’s support for backup but not as you know it (so no in time backup restore / transaction log backups)

That being said, I still got a lot of DBA’s over my head on the topic, so I went on a quest for a suitable backup solution that still can be used with scheduled backups.

During my quest I stumbled upon a tool from one of my fellow Azure Insiders members, Herve Roggero (http://www.twitter.com/hroggero ), named BlueSyntax’s Enzo Cloud Backup.

Cool thing about the tooling is that it works as either a cloud backup system, an on premises backup system, storage backup and even as a migration tool.

What’s in the package ….

When you open the application, after installing, the app asks your Azure account settings, so you can easily connect automatically in the future. It immediately show that the original purpose was just to be a storage backup application.

When reaching the main screen, there’s a classical management console like application, with a treeview-based tasking area, consisting out of 3 parts:

  • A management area
  • A database area
  • An Azure Storage Area

We want to make good use of tool in the PoV of SQL Databases, so therefor it would be wise to register your SQL Database Environments. You can do this by just right clicking the databases node and choosing Register. A pop up will show and ask for the server name, user name and password.

Once done, you’ll be able to access your DB’s through the treeview:

you can now easily take a backup though a simple right click:

Then the magic moment… Once you are in the real backup screen you select either to backup towards a local file or towards Azure Blob Storage.

In a couple of easy steps you can even schedule your backup

Now the cool thing is you can even apply this to your on prem servers and from there out you can easily migrate databases towards Windows Azure.

Still no in time backup solution, but still a nice tooling on scheduling backups without hassle.

Is it feature complete? I believe a plenty of features is foreseen (at least, there could be even more features added for the future, like for instance incorporation of a SQL Data Sync feature to gain an even more close definition of in time db backups.) If you are a DBA or a DB Backup Responsible then this is really a tool to look into even perhaps as an additional solution for storing your on prem backups in the cloud or for even more facilitating your on prem backups to local files.