SQL Server Backups to Azure Part 2: Setting up the Storage Account

This is the second part of a 4 part blog post series about backing up SQL Server to Azure. If you’re wondering why you’d like to backup data to Azure in the first place, please read the Part 1 of this series that explains some of the benefits of using Azure for backups.

In this post we’ll look at how to setup your very own Storage Account and how to use some of the nice security features in it.

(more…)

SQL Server Backups to Azure, Part 1: Introduction

Gone to Cloud!

I’ve said it before and I say it again: Understanding how database backups and restores work is one of the more important topics for DBAs to understand. This time we’ll approach the topic from the cloud, and more precisely, from Azure perspective. Why cloud perspective you might as? For one simple reason. Even if you’re not (yet) running your SQL Server workloads in Azure, it doesn’t mean that you can’t make use of it for other purposes, such as backups. And while the idea of placing your data into Azure, or into any other cloud platform, might still seem scary to some, I want to help put your minds at ease. To do this, I’ll just point you to this fine piece of documentation describing the Azure infrastructure security. I think you’ll find it quite satisfying.

As there’s quite a few topics to cover with database backups to Azure, I have split the details into 4 separate posts. You’re now reading Part 1, the introduction.

(more…)

Moving data (back and forth) with backups

Backups, backups and backups. That’s pretty much my answer to what should be the top 3 priority topics that any DBA needs to understand well. And that’s what we’re going to be looking at this post, backups! Backups play a vital and important role in keeping your data (and in some cases your career) safe, but they are also great way to migrate data from one location to another.

In this post we’ll look into migration scenario, how to move data from one instance to another and then back again.

(more…)

Fun with Filegroups

Filegroups are an interesting and useful (if not actually all that fun, despite the title) concept within SQL Server. They provide not just a way to group objects like tables together, but also provide a mechanism to help us to speed up the backup, restore and recovery of the databases. And sometimes they can even give us a little help with the performance or to migrate data to disks that have more space available.

In this post, focus will be in archiving a table that we no longer need by making a read-only copy of it. In a real world scenario we’d also consider putting that to a slower disk, if it’s not frequently used, but my demo environment only has a single data disk.

(more…)

Hiding (mostly) in plain sight: Dynamic Data Masking

Masks on!

One of the more recent additions to SQL Server security features is the Dynamic Data Masking (DDM), included with the 2016 version. Like the Transparent Data Encryption I blogged about recently, DDM is a feature that is relatively easy to implement, and doesn’t require a lot of changes to the application. And just like pretty much everything is easy in a real life, it too has some limitations.

(more…)

Protecting Data at Rest: Transparent Data Encryption

I recently read an article which stating that since the GDPR came in force, there has been 59,000 data breaches reported in the EU. I must admit, that while I did anticipate that we’d see a surge in these numbers, due to reporting requirements in the legislation. I really did not expect the numbers to look that terrifying.

From the point of view of a SQL Server DBA, there is a number of different ways to protect your data. Some of them are even quite easy to setup, such as Transparent Data Encryption (TDE). So let’s have a look at how to set that up!

(more…)

Looking back to 2018

I can see all the way back to 2018 with these!

Note: This post is not a technical one, but one focusing on a professional (and maybe personal) growth. As we’re already well on our way to 2019, I figured that now is as good time as any to look back, all the way to the year 2018! As I mentioned in passing in a previous post, I did end up leaving the company I had worked for 20 years, and while being a small step to mankind it was quite a huge leap to me.

It also taught me few things, which I figured are worth sharing.

(more…)