Welcome!

Microsoft Cloud Authors: Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Mihai Corbuleac, David Bermingham

Related Topics: Microsoft Cloud, Containers Expo Blog, Silverlight, Agile Computing, @CloudExpo, Cloud Security

Microsoft Cloud: Blog Post

Step-by-Step: Tired of Tapes? Backup SQL Databases to the Cloud

New feature in SQL Server 2012 SP1 CU2 provides native backup to Windows Azure cloud storage

I think every IT Pro I’ve ever met hates tape backups … but having an offsite component in your backup strategy is absolutely necessary for effective disaster recovery.  One of the new features provided in SQL Server 2012 Service Pack 1 Cumulative Update 2 is the ability to now backup SQL databases and logs to Windows Azure cloud storage using native SQL Server Backup via both Transact-SQL (T-SQL) and SQL Server Management Objects (SMO).

Backup to cloud storage is a natural fit for disaster recovery, as our backups are instantly located offsite when completed.  And, the pay-as-you-go model of cloud storage economics makes it really cost effective – Windows Azure storage costs are less than $100/TB per month for geo-redundant storage based on current published costs as of this article’s date.  That’s less than the cost of a couple SDLT tapes! You can check out our current pricing model for Windows Azure Storage on our Price Calculator page.

In this article, I’ll step through the process of using SQL Server 2012 SP1 CU2 native backup capabilities to create database backups on Windows Azure cloud storage.

How do I get started?
To get started, you’ll need a Windows Azure subscription.  Good news! You can get a FREE 90-Day Windows Azure subscription to follow along with this article, evaluate and test … this subscription is 100% free for 90-days and there’s absolutely no obligation to convert to a paid subscription.

  • DO IT: Sign-up for a Free 90-Day Windows Azure Subscription

    NOTE: When activating your FREE 90-Day Subscription for Windows Azure, you will be prompted for credit card information.  This information is used only to validate your identity and your credit card will not be charged, unless you explicitly convert your FREE Trial account to a paid subscription at a later point in time.

You’ll also need to download Cumulative Update 2 for SQL Server 2012 Service Pack 1 and apply that to the SQL Server instance with which you’ll be testing.

Don’t have a SQL Server 2012 instance in your data center that you can test with?  No problem! You can spin up a SQL Server 2012 VM in the Windows Azure Cloud using your Free 90-Day subscription.

Let’s grab some cloud storage
Once you’ve got your Windows Azure subscription activated and your SQL Server 2012 lab environment patched with SP1 CU2, you’re ready to provision some cloud storage that can be used as a backup location for SQL databases …

  1. Launch the Windows Azure Management Portal and login with the credentials used when activating your FREE 90-Day Subscription above.
  2. Click Storage in the left navigation pane of the Windows Azure Management Portal.

    image
    Windows Azure Management Portal – Storage Accounts
  3. On the Storage page of the Windows Azure Management Portal, click +NEW on the bottom toolbar to create a new storage account location.

    image
    Creating a new Windows Azure Storage Account location
  4. Click Quick Create on the New > Storage popup menu and complete the fields as listed below:

    - URL: XXXbackup01 ( where XXX represents your initials in lowercase )

    - Region / Affinity Group: Select an available Windows Azure datacenter region for your new Storage Account. 

    NOTE: Because you will be using this Storage Account location for backup / disaster recovery scenarios, be sure to select a Datacenter Region that is not near to you for additional protection against disasters that may affect your entire local area.

    Click the Create Storage Account button to create your new Storage Account location.
  5. Wait for your new Storage Account to be provisioned. 

    image
    Provisioning new Windows Azure Storage Account

    Once the status of your new Storage Account shows as Online, you may continue with the next step.
  6. Select your newly created Storage Account and click the Manage Keys button on the bottom toolbar to display the Manage Access Keys dialog box.

    image
    Manage Access Keys dialog box

    Click the image button located next to the Secondary Access Key field to copy this access key to your clipboard for later use.
  7. Create a container within your Windows Azure Storage Account to store backups.  Click on the name of your Storage Account on the Storage page in the Windows Azure Management Portal to drill into the details of this account, then select the Containers tab located at the top of the page.

    image
    Containers tab within a Windows Azure Storage Account

    On the bottom toolbar, click the Add Container button to create a new container named “backups”.

You’ve now completed the provisioning of your new Windows Azure storage account location.

We’re ready to backup to the cloud
When you’re ready to test a SQL database backup to the cloud, launch SQL Server Management Studio and connect to your SQL Server 2012 SP1 CU2 database engine instance.  After you’ve done this, proceed with the following steps to complete a backup …

  1. In SQL Server Management Studio, right-click on the database you wish to backup in the Object Explorer list pane and select New Query.

    image
    SQL Server Management Studio
  2. In the new SQL Query Window, execute the following Transact-SQL code to create a credential that can be used to authenticate to your Windows Azure Storage Account with secure read/write access:

    CREATE CREDENTIAL myAzureCredential
    WITH IDENTITY='XXXbackup01',
    SECRET=’PASTE IN YOUR COPIED ACCESS KEY HERE';

    Prior to running this code, be sure to replace XXXbackup01 with the name of your Windows Azure Storage Account created above and paste in the Access Key you previously copied to your clipboard.

  3. In the SQL Query Window, execute the following Transact-SQL code to perform the database backup to your Windows Azure Storage Account:

    BACKUP DATABASE database_name TO
    URL='https://XXXbackup01.blob.core.windows.net/backups/database_name.bak'
    WITH CREDENTIAL='myAzureCredential' , STATS = 5;


    Prior to running this code, be sure to replace XXXbackup01 with the name of your Windows Azure Storage Account and replace database_name with the name of your database.

    Upon successful execution of the backup, you should see SQL Query result messages similar to the following:

    image
    Successful Backup Results

What about restoring?
Restoring from the cloud is just as easy as backing up … to restore we can use the following Transact-SQL syntax:

RESTORE DATABASE database_name FROM
URL='https://XXXbackup01.blob.core.windows.net/backups/database_name.bak'
WITH CREDENTIAL=’myAzureCredential’, STATS = 5, REPLACE

Thoughts? Comments? Feedback?
What are your thoughts around leveraging the cloud for backup storage? Feel free to post your comments, questions and feedback below.

-Keith

Build Your Lab! Build Your Lab! Download Windows Server 2012
Build Your Lab in the Cloud! Don’t Have a Lab? Build Your Lab in the Cloud with Windows Azure Virtual Machines
Join our "Early Experts" study group! Want to Get Certified? Join our Windows Server 2012 "Early Experts" Study Group

More Stories By Keith Mayer

Keith Mayer is a Technical Evangelist at Microsoft focused on Windows Infrastructure, Data Center Virtualization, Systems Management and Private Cloud. Keith has over 17 years of experience as a technical leader of complex IT projects, in diverse roles, such as Network Engineer, IT Manager, Technical Instructor and Consultant. He has consulted and trained thousands of IT professionals worldwide on the design and implementation of enterprise technology solutions.

Keith is currently certified on several Microsoft technologies, including System Center, Hyper-V, Windows, Windows Server, SharePoint and Exchange. He also holds other industry certifications from IBM, Cisco, Citrix, HP, CheckPoint, CompTIA and Interwoven.

Keith is the author of the IT Pros ROCK! Blog on Microsoft TechNet, voted as one of the Top 50 "Must Read" IT Blogs.

Keith also manages the Windows Server 2012 "Early Experts" Challenge - a FREE online study group for IT Pros interested in studying and preparing for certification on Windows Server 2012. Join us and become the next "Early Expert"!

@ThingsExpo Stories
IoT is rapidly changing the way enterprises are using data to improve business decision-making. In order to derive business value, organizations must unlock insights from the data gathered and then act on these. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Hoffman, Vice President at EastBanc Technologies, and Peter Shashkin, Head of Development Department at EastBanc Technologies, discussed how one organization leveraged IoT, cloud technology and data analysis to improve customer experiences and effi...
There are several IoTs: the Industrial Internet, Consumer Wearables, Wearables and Healthcare, Supply Chains, and the movement toward Smart Grids, Cities, Regions, and Nations. There are competing communications standards every step of the way, a bewildering array of sensors and devices, and an entire world of competing data analytics platforms. To some this appears to be chaos. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, Bradley Holt, Developer Advocate a...
"delaPlex is a software development company. We do team-based outsourcing development," explained Mark Rivers, COO and Co-founder of delaPlex Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, wh...
The IoT is changing the way enterprises conduct business. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Hoffman, Vice President at EastBanc Technologies, discussed how businesses can gain an edge over competitors by empowering consumers to take control through IoT. He cited examples such as a Washington, D.C.-based sports club that leveraged IoT and the cloud to develop a comprehensive booking system. He also highlighted how IoT can revitalize and restore outdated business models, making them profitable ...
Machine Learning helps make complex systems more efficient. By applying advanced Machine Learning techniques such as Cognitive Fingerprinting, wind project operators can utilize these tools to learn from collected data, detect regular patterns, and optimize their own operations. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Stuart Gillen, Director of Business Development at SparkCognition, discussed how research has demonstrated the value of Machine Learning in delivering next generation analytics to imp...
The cloud market growth today is largely in public clouds. While there is a lot of spend in IT departments in virtualization, these aren’t yet translating into a true “cloud” experience within the enterprise. What is stopping the growth of the “private cloud” market? In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Nara Rajagopalan, CEO of Accelerite, explored the challenges in deploying, managing, and getting adoption for a private cloud within an enterprise. What are the key differences between wh...
Connected devices and the industrial internet are growing exponentially every year with Cisco expecting 50 billion devices to be in operation by 2020. In this period of growth, location-based insights are becoming invaluable to many businesses as they adopt new connected technologies. Knowing when and where these devices connect from is critical for a number of scenarios in supply chain management, disaster management, emergency response, M2M, location marketing and more. In his session at @Th...
Basho Technologies has announced the latest release of Basho Riak TS, version 1.3. Riak TS is an enterprise-grade NoSQL database optimized for Internet of Things (IoT). The open source version enables developers to download the software for free and use it in production as well as make contributions to the code and develop applications around Riak TS. Enhancements to Riak TS make it quick, easy and cost-effective to spin up an instance to test new ideas and build IoT applications. In addition to...
Apixio Inc. has raised $19.3 million in Series D venture capital funding led by SSM Partners with participation from First Analysis, Bain Capital Ventures and Apixio’s largest angel investor. Apixio will dedicate the proceeds toward advancing and scaling products powered by its cognitive computing platform, further enabling insights for optimal patient care. The Series D funding comes as Apixio experiences strong momentum and increasing demand for its HCC Profiler solution, which mines unstruc...
When people aren’t talking about VMs and containers, they’re talking about serverless architecture. Serverless is about no maintenance. It means you are not worried about low-level infrastructural and operational details. An event-driven serverless platform is a great use case for IoT. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Animesh Singh, an STSM and Lead for IBM Cloud Platform and Infrastructure, will detail how to build a distributed serverless, polyglot, microservices framework using open source tec...
IoT offers a value of almost $4 trillion to the manufacturing industry through platforms that can improve margins, optimize operations & drive high performance work teams. By using IoT technologies as a foundation, manufacturing customers are integrating worker safety with manufacturing systems, driving deep collaboration and utilizing analytics to exponentially increased per-unit margins. However, as Benoit Lheureux, the VP for Research at Gartner points out, “IoT project implementers often ...
It is one thing to build single industrial IoT applications, but what will it take to build the Smart Cities and truly society changing applications of the future? The technology won’t be the problem, it will be the number of parties that need to work together and be aligned in their motivation to succeed. In his Day 2 Keynote at @ThingsExpo, Henrik Kenani Dahlgren, Portfolio Marketing Manager at Ericsson, discussed how to plan to cooperate, partner, and form lasting all-star teams to change t...
In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Lee Atchison, Principal Cloud Architect and Advocate at New Relic, discussed cloud as a ‘better data center’ and how it adds new capacity (faster) and improves application availability (redundancy). The cloud is a ‘Dynamic Tool for Dynamic Apps’ and resource allocation is an integral part of your application architecture, so use only the resources you need and allocate /de-allocate resources on the fly.
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life sett...
Presidio has received the 2015 EMC Partner Services Quality Award from EMC Corporation for achieving outstanding service excellence and customer satisfaction as measured by the EMC Partner Services Quality (PSQ) program. Presidio was also honored as the 2015 EMC Americas Marketing Excellence Partner of the Year and 2015 Mid-Market East Partner of the Year. The EMC PSQ program is a project-specific survey program designed for partners with Service Partner designations to solicit customer feedbac...
Cloud computing is being adopted in one form or another by 94% of enterprises today. Tens of billions of new devices are being connected to The Internet of Things. And Big Data is driving this bus. An exponential increase is expected in the amount of information being processed, managed, analyzed, and acted upon by enterprise IT. This amazing is not part of some distant future - it is happening today. One report shows a 650% increase in enterprise data by 2020. Other estimates are even higher....
SYS-CON Events announced today that Bsquare has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. For more than two decades, Bsquare has helped its customers extract business value from a broad array of physical assets by making them intelligent, connecting them, and using the data they generate to optimize business processes.
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 19th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - comp...
19th Cloud Expo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Meanwhile, 94% of enterpri...