Database Backups ~ Good or Bad?

I recently responded to a post on SQL Server Central regarding upgrading SQL Server 2005 to SQL Server 2008 R2. The suggestions laid out before my post were spot on; it was the one that came after my response of “agreeing” that backups were important……their is an age old saying I’ve always heard of “You’re only good as your last backup”. The response I pondered on this weekend was from a user who said, “Backups are worthless; restores are priceless“. Being the analytical person that I am I decided to dive into this statement for myself. I can only conclude that in order to do the priceless restore you first must have the worthless backup to restore. So, for me personally I cannot justify backups as being worthless.

I hope DR plans never have to be used but we live in a world that has error so it could be inevitable. No one knows when a disaster will strike, heck we just experienced one of the worst tornado’s around my area since 1974. Stuff happens, the world doesn’t stop turning so as a DBA I better be making sure that our systems have solid backups.

Backups should be pretty obvious, to have a back up is essential in order to recover ( to even be able to do the restore ) from most disasters. Backups aren’t just needed for disasters; think about upgrades gone bad, system issues, or even table corruption.

I know I probably shouldn’t have read to much into the statement, but to me that is a pretty big ordeal when hearing backups are worthless. I’d be interested to here from others what their thoughts are on backups and strategies, do you think they are worth it?

I won’t dive into the different methodologies of backing up databases; that would need to be an entirely different post, I personally like a good backup strategy and for any DR plan in place you need to have a good one. I also, like the idea of routinely verifying backups by restoring them to a DBA sandbox so to speak.

In any sense have a good one guys, thanks for listening to my ramblings on the matter!

2 thoughts on “Database Backups ~ Good or Bad?

  1. David Grand

    In this world of pity statements, it is hard to fit my thoughts into such an important area as disaster recovery/business continuity. If I had to get pinned down to a sound bite, I guess it would be this: “Backups are important to the extent that the Restores work in a way we expect Restores to work”

    That is to say, the point and the reason for a backup is only in the Restore.


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