We have about !TB of SQL Server databases, and these databases generate about 200GB of data changes each day. Up to this point we have been doing Weekly full backups, daily diff backups, and hourly transaction log backups. The full and diff backups are backed up to tape and taken offsite each day.

We have been trying to move away from tapes, and our IT department purchased a Barracuda Backup device that backups up data and then sends it offsite using our internet connection. I have been trying to get this to work for our SQL Server backups, and have ran into a number of problems. I normally like to just use SQL Server to perform backups instead of trying to use a agent, so that is what I tried first. However the Barracuda device was not able to dedup these files very well, so it ended up being to much data to try to send offsite and to archive. I then tried installing the Barracuda agent and using it to backup the SQL Server databases. However the problem I am having there is that on some of the database servers I also have files that need backed up, and I cannot find a way to create seperate backup schedules for the file backups and the SQL Server backups. Barracuda only does full or transaction log backups. So if I want to do hourly transaction log backups I end up doing a file system backup every hour (which is not good), or if I only schedule the backups to run once a night I either have to do a full backup every night, or only do a transaction backup once a day. None of these scenarios are good options.

My question is, how is everyone else getting their large SQL Server database backups offsite. Are you just using tape, or have you found a offsite backup device that works well? Is anybody else using Barracuda to backup their SQL Server databases? If you do, then how do you have it setup?


Barracuda Backup's Admin Guide (page 26) claims:

The Barracuda Backup Service uses exclusion rules to allow administrators to control critical data storage. Regular expression pattern matching, based on directory or file names, is used to exclude items from a backup. Common file exclusions include music, movies or other files which are nonessential for business needs. You can add exclusion rules from the BACKUP > Exclusions page.

So the trick comes down to writing rules to exclude everything you don't want in your hourly backup.

Regular expressions to me have a cryptic syntax only a programmer could love, but they are extremely flexible. Either search "regex tutorial" or try here if you'd like a relatively concise & clear intro.

  • It does not allow you to only apply the exlusions to certain schedules. For the database server, I would want one schedule to run every hour and backup the transaction log, and a second schedule to run every night at midnight to do a file system backup and SQL Server backup. If I use a exclusion to exclude files then it will exclude them from the hourly schedule, and from the daily schedule, and they will never be backed up. There is no way to tell it to just exclude them during the hourly backup, but include them for the nightly backup. – Eric Maibach Feb 23 '11 at 18:36
  • Sad! If you are a big Barracuda customer (or even a small one), ask them to fix that. We have multiple sites with Metro Ethernet between them. Our DBA zips transaction logs and copies them to a share on an offsite server. If that won't work, maybe you have a local server with free space to which you can have a scheduled batch job copy all the nightly files to be Barracuda'd. For fast reliable big copies, check out the MS utility robocopy. Wikipedia has a good summary. – Paul Feb 23 '11 at 18:59
  • The first thing we tried was having SQL Server backup to a local server, and then have Barracuda backup those files. But Barracuda was not able to dedup the SQL Server backup files very well, and was not able to keep up sending them offsite. The Barracuda agent does a better job of deduping, and because of that can keep up sending the data offsite. But then we run into all the issues I mentioned with the agent. Thank you for your answers. I am thinking that it is going to come down to either buying a much faster internet connection, or staying with tapes. – Eric Maibach Feb 23 '11 at 19:11
  • Would you get enough dedup by compressing the files before/after/while copying them to the local server? Maybe w/7zip, tweaked a bit? Many databases have enough repetition to shrink nicely. – Paul Feb 23 '11 at 19:41
  • Or take a look at Quest LiteSpeed; it can easily cut backup size in half, but will run your CPU up a bit. – SqlACID Feb 24 '11 at 1:16

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