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We have a MozyPro reseller account and have been testing the service with around 10 customers. Our biggest requirement is to backup a SQL Server (2000/2005/2008/2008r2), personal/express, standard or enterprise; basically our customers have different SQL Server versions.

Requirements:

  • Be able to automatically (i.e. no SQL Agent involved) backup SQL Server (any version/edition) >= 2000, while the database is in use.
  • Have a reseller program where we can create users and configure the program for them, assign space (if needed) and bill them as we please.
  • Support any OS that the above SQL Servers support (Windows XP —> Windows Server 2003/8 -> W7)
  • Possibility to add other folders to the backup in case the user needs to backup an Images folder.

Truth is MozyPro (reseller) does all of the above, you can buy “licenses” and “gigabytes”. Then assign them to any “group” (which they recommend you create per customer).

So you can have 5 customers, which will be “5 Groups”. These “Groups” can have “MACHINES”. Each machine is a License (can be desktop -cheaper, less features- or server). Then to these licenses you assign Gigabytes of storage 1 by 1. (minimum 1gb).

Pros of MozyPro:

  • Licencing is very easy to handle, you purchase “resources” (licenses/GBs) and you assign them to your customers (groups). If a customer leaves, you can transfer those “resources” to another customer or even return them to Mozy (and they won’t charge you the monthly fee anymore).
  • Pricing is “ok” if you have a small user base, because you only pay “as you go”.
  • The software is “ok”, kind of easy to set up, and you can have software profiles where you preconfigure the settings and save it as a profile. When setting up a customer you can assign a profile and the “client” will read those settings and be configured. That’s nice.
  • The Control Panel for the reseller is also ok, you can do everything from there and it’s more or less intuitive once you learn to use it, they will also share screen with you to teach you if needed.
  • When it works, it works fine, even restore process (which is a little bit weird). (see cons).

Cons of MozyPro:

  • Customer Service is very “friendly” (at least with us), but we have three customers (out of our 10 customers pilot-test) that have been unable to backup the SQL Server for 180 days (that’s how much they have been trying to make it work). This means that 3 out of 10 have failed. These are three separate customers, with different computers in different places. Mozy Customer support have been unable to fix it (but have tried). They remotely connect there, install, touch, download logs, etc. Nothing works.
  • Restore works by a request: I need to restore X,Y,Z. And the server “prepares” a zip file (sometimes multiples if the data is too big) which you can download. It will contain your information. This is ok, but can be a tedious process to put the data back if it’s a lot (paths are honored within the zip, so the C drive becomes a C folder, then a Program Files folder, etc.).

So Given the above, We’re looking for an alternative. if it would have been one customer of 10, one can say: ok, the customer has something weird on his server… but 3 is too much. I can’t imagine we have 100 customers where 30 are failing. This is critical backup medical information.

I’ve created a reseller program for JungleDisk, only to “see” what it was about, but I’m not convinced yet, I haven’t seen the program but they don’t mention SQL Backup in any product, and backing up a .BAK is not acceptable, because it requires SQL Agent or additional setup to create the BAK in the first place, we don’t want that.

What other experiences/alternatives can you share?

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closed as too localized by Mark Henderson Jan 15 '12 at 5:28

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5 Answers

No matter what system you use, you can't backup the SQL Server database files while the SQL Service is running and get a usable backup. The data files will be out of sync and corrupt when you try and restore. Even if the restore works some times there is no guarantee that it'll when when you need it to.

The only ways to backup the SQL Server database are:

  1. Stop the SQL Server service and backup the files.
  2. Use the BACKUP DATABASE job within the SQL Server to backup the database to a file that can then be uploaded to the backup service.

If the database is in full recovery then the transaction log needs to be backed up using the BACKUP LOG command or eventually the hard drive will fill up. If the database is in simple recovery then the transaction log backups are not needed.

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Can't VSS handle this? Obviously you can't just back up the database like a normal file, but shouldn't a "SQL aware" backup agent be able to take a proper online backup? –  minamhere Dec 16 '10 at 4:01
    
@minamhere MozyPro does that, it uses VSS (but apparently it has problems in some systems that they have been unable to identify and solve) –  Martín Marconcini Dec 16 '10 at 9:48
    
The transaction log backups still need to be done separately. VSS tells the database to flush all writes to the disk, so that a block level backup can be taken. However SQL Server will still maintain the locks on the files. VSS is used by Storage Array's like EMC, IBM, etc to take consistent block level copies. It can't really be used by a file system backup tool however. –  mrdenny Dec 16 '10 at 20:51
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We used Iron Mountain's LiveVault a few years ago. It was very good. It was able to do proper "Online" backups of our Exchange and SQL databases. We stopped using it because on issue on our server, unrelated to LiveVault.

It was (much?) more expensive than the alternatives, but worked very well. We didn't need to resell the service, so I'm not sure if/how that works.

Backing up online SQL and Exchange databases seems to be a feature that most services do not offer. The databases require their transaction logs to be properly backed up in order to correctly restore. Most "file level" backup tools, don't capture these correctly, so JungleDisk, etc are not able to handle this correctly.

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For people having the same requirements as the original poster, Zmanda Cloud Backup (ZCB) would neatly fit in. It offers hot/live backup of SQL server and supports both full and differential backups. For more information, please visit Zmanda Cloud Backup website

Disclaimer: I am the product manager of ZCB at Zmanda.

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Are you set on outsourcing to someone or would an inhouse hosted option be viable?

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Outsourcing, we don’t have/want the complexity of maintaining such structure. –  Martín Marconcini Dec 16 '10 at 9:50
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You might want to look into eFolder. I don't use them personally, but they have a lot of cred within the managed services provider community. It'll backup SQL and the enterprise level software will probably kick the pants off of Mozy. I just recently dropped Mozy from our offerings to clients. I'm a fan of using something designed for business use rather than a consumer level product modified to run on servers.

Jungledisk is good, but the recovery times are not. If you have to recover 60GB worth of data, you're going to be waiting a while. Also, there's no native SQL backup in Jungledisk.

Check out Xilocore as well. I'm going through all of the stuff I got from them. I'm not 100% sure that they support SQL. It's something to ask them. The thing I like about them is that they offer a 100% restore guarantee. That's important.

If you want an AWESOME solution, look at Acxient. They have a really nice disaster recovery solution. It does local server failover with an offsite copy in the cloud as well. This isn't cheap but it's an amazing backup strategy.

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