SQL Server Backups to Azure Part 4: Managed Backups

You’re now reading the 4th and final post in my SQL Server Backups to Azure series. In previous posts I’ve described how to setup an Azure Storage Account, Blob Storage container an how to take SQL Server backups there. This time we’ll take a look at one more option that puts our backups on autopilot, with destination to cloud!

The feature I am writing about is Managed Backups, option that has been available since SQL Server 2014 but one that I have not seen often used. One reason for that maybe being, that there’s an unfixed feature that makes enabling it bit difficult if you’re not aware of the workaround.

Despite this shortcoming, if you have SQL Servers (on-premise or Cloud) but no DBA to care for them, I’d recommend that you take a look at this option.

(more…)

SQL Server Backups to Azure Part 3: Custom Backups

You are now reading the 3rd part of the 4 part series on backing up databases to Azure. In Part 1 we looked at some of the benefits of using Azure for your backups and in Part 2 we setup the Storage Account with the Block Blob storage container.

In this post we’ll take a look at how to use the freshly created Blob storage with our customized backup routines.

(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…)

My favorite PerfMon counters

About two months back I ended up moving to another job, which has unfortunately kept me to be bit too occupied to find the time to blog, until now. Due to this previously mentioned career change, I have been working quite a bit with monitoring, and it gave me a spark to write this post about my favorite PerfMon counters.

Monitoring!

Like most DBAs I rely quite a lot on monitoring, and like most DBAs I too have my own set of PerfMon counters that I rely on to provide me an accurate view of what’s happening in the environment I am administering. In this post, I’ll describe what are my favorite PerfMon counters.

(more…)