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I am currently looking for some new backup software and have noticed that a number of the products out there charge a lot for the SQL server agents i.e. around £500. Could anyone tell me why these addins cost so much when SQL server has built-in backup. Would you advise against using the MS SQL server backup functionality and then backing up the output, if so why?

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6 Answers 6

up vote 6 down vote accepted

The 3rd party agents will often have "brick level" backups and restores which allow you to restore parts of a database (tables, etc.) rather than only the entire database. They also do not require you to stage the output (doubling your disk requirement) by backing up the database directly.

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Some third party products, such as Quest's LiteSpeed and RedGate's SQLBackup, will also provide you additional data level compression and encryption options unavailable through SQL Server's native backup mechanism. This is much favorable to options at the NTFS level.

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The best assets of these third-party tools are their capabilities on the recovery stage. Usually their recovery features are better and more convenient than their native counterpart. These third-party tools take over the overheads that you usually have to take care of using the native tools. –  MarlonRibunal Jun 8 '09 at 17:12

It depends on the backup solution, but generally the benefits are:

  • Integrated with your overall backup system
  • Single point of restore, which can be beneficial in a hectic DR scenario
  • Direct-to-tape backup on a remote tape library
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+1. Finally someone not focusing on the "this is a backup" but on the enterprise view. I would loveto downvote all the technical answers because the choice is often NOT one for sql server but for ONE INTEGRATED TOOL TO BACK IT ALL UP. Yes, sql integrated backup isthere, buit if you run 100 servers it is better to have an enterprise tool do it all from one place. –  TomTom Apr 4 '12 at 11:37

In addition to what was already mentioned...

Although SQL 2008 has it built-in, SQL 2005 and below benefit from many third-party backup compression capabilities.

I can't say that I would advise against using MS SQL backup functionality because it works well and is obviously free (included in SQL Server), but if you're looking for more bells and whistles, or looking for a more integrated recovery solution, then the third-party tools are the way to go.

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+1 Great minds think alike. Even if you type faster :) –  squillman Jun 8 '09 at 15:21

I prefer not to use the special SQL agents and instead rely on the built in function. As Kevin Kuphal notes that means we have to find disk space somewhere, but a cheap storage cabinet dedicated to file backup across the network is faster than tape, and easier to expand than the tape library. Just point your maintenance plans at the file share and make sure the SQL agent accounts can write there.

Restoring just a table would I guess involve restoring a backup to a new database and then scripting the table creation, but I've never need to do it, touch wood.

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There are a few tools, and one of the big bennies seems to be native compression and encryption of backups.

These features are only in SQL Server enterprise... so $500-1000 is a deal....

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