Nov 272007

As I was walking through the office this afternoon, I heard my boss call out in his best worst-English-accent “James! You didn’t tell me you had a blog! What else haven’t you told me about?”. My replied of “I have cooties?” didn’t elicit a positive response, but now I know he’s onto me, so more content it is!

At least I know that now someone other than my wife is reading this!

Nov 042007

There’s a little known backup product available for SQL Server, which blows the competition out of the water. Hyperbac, created by the guys that originally created Litespeed (now owned by Quest Software) and started the SQL Server backup compression craze, have come back to create a new product that they would have written the first time around.

All existing compression backup utilities use the SQL Server Virtual Backup Device Interface (VDI) interface for backups. This is an API published by SQL Server to enable backup/restore related events to be processed by 3rd party vendors. The backups are then compressed and saved to disk. The main drawback of this method is it requires extended stored procedures to be stored on the disk, and takes a portion of the SQL Server MTL to perform the backups.

Hyperbac, however, sits on the operating system level and activates whenever it sees the SQL Server process trying to write a file with a specific extension (which is configurable). It then compresses the backup stream on the fly, and writes it in a zip-compatible file, allowing anyone to uncompress the backup simply by using a zip tool – leaving you with the original native backup that SQL Server would have made. When restoring, the processed is reversed. The major benefit is that SQL Server isn’t even aware of Hyperbac’s presence, and simply uses native commands to operate the backup. A side benefit of this is if Hyperbac fails to engage, you still end up with a native backup (of course, if you’re banking on your backup to be compressed, you might not have enough room free…)

As a result of being zip-compatible, the file sizes are a little bigger than can be performed by Litespeed et. al, but the speed of which the backups can be performed is where Hyperbac shines. At one client’s site, Litespeed can back up their 50 GB database in 1 hour 20 minutes, compressing down to 6 GB. Hyperbac will compress down to 8 GB, but will do it in just over 5 minutes.

Licencing is server-based, not SQL instance- or CPU-based, and backup encryption is also available. There are no licencing requirements to restore the data – only to perform backups, making Hyperbac a most competitive product. It is also available for Oracle, DB2 and MySQL, and trial versions are available.

And no, I’m not getting paid for this review! :)