SQL Server 2016: Improved Disaster Recovery & Data Protection

SQL Server 2016: Improved Disaster Recovery & Data Protection

SQL Server 2016 was made generally available by Microsoft last week, as an exciting update for data scientists. The database upgrade adds advanced analytics through deep integration with R code and boasts better pricing, but also delivers improved disaster recovery and data protection, more security, and hybrid cloud capabilities.

Microsoft Invites Oracle Customers To Switch To SQL Server 2016

Microsoft’s SQL Server, which has been growing in popularity in 2016, has been competing with Oracle’s relational database management systems (RDBMS) since the year 2000. It’s been steadily coming up with new and bold improvements, looking to outperform Oracle and woo away its clients.

Shortly after announcing the SQL Server 2016 general availability, Microsoft tweeted it will be hosting a webinar on the 16th of June for users interested in migrating from Oracle to SQL Server 2016.

Moreover, until the end of June, Oracle users can migrate their databases and receive free licenses with a subscription to Microsoft’s Software Assurance maintenance program.

SQL Server 2016: Running Code In The Database

Microsoft’s new release comes with many upgrades that accommodate data scientist’s efforts to make machine learning and analytical reporting easier. The SQL Server database now allows running R code inside it for faster analytics and works with in-memory technology.

Running code inside the database promises 100x or more speed in time to insight, compared to deployments of software applications and machine learning models outside of the database. R code runs inside a sandbox process within SQL Server itself, thus reducing latency. Microsoft partnered with Intel to test their new system on a massive 100TB data warehouse and only one processor, that took just 5.3 seconds to run a complex query. It remains to be seen whether R code popularity will go up and if many developers will go along with the idea of running processing within their (very expensive) database servers. Compared with other programming languages, R code’s popularity seems to have gone up since last year and it’s in the top 10 most used programming languages.

The new server system also has support for JSON, a feature that developers have been asking for. JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) will be parsed and stored as relational data and furthermore, relational data will has an export to JSON option. Microsoft is also expanding the Polybase technology in SQL Server, enabling cross-platform analytics and allowing you to run queries on external data in Hadoop.

The new system adds mobile analytics on all major platforms, offering modernized reports, advanced data mining and tabular, and enhanced multidimensional models.

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Disaster Recovery & Data Protection Updates

We are excited to see SQL Server 2016 also brings improvements to its disaster recovery solution, AlwaysOn. This will add up to three synchronous replicas, round-robin load balancing for secondary replicas and DTC (Distributed Transaction Co-ordinator) support. The new system has query store and enhanced in-memory OLTP (Online Transaction Processing) performance. The update also adds Hybrid Cloud capabilities, with the Enterprise version of SQL server having enhanced backup to Azure, enhanced high availability and disaster recovery with Azure, citing ease of use and no domain join (for Windows Server 2016).

Microsoft also adds security improvement: Always Encrypted helps protect data at rest and in memory. Transparent Data Encryption encrypts all user data now with low performance overhead, and Dynamic Data Masking (DDM) and Row Level Security (RLS) allow developers to build applications that restrict access and protect data. These data protection capabilities could previously only be implemented through third parties, so they will be a good addition to the system.

To know more about SQL Server 2016 and the new features, you can watch Microsoft’s Ignite session on SQL Server 2016 Channel9 and see Editions Datasheet for the new features. Data enthusiasts might also want to watch for the upcoming launch of SQL Server for Linux, which is announced for next year – you can see a demo of SQL Server for Linux here.

storagecraft sql server data recovery

StorageCraft Solutions: Backup And Recovery Plan For Your SQL Server

With all the information we have on SQL Server 2016, Microsoft hasn’t yet revealed much about how the server backups will be made with Azure, or how data recovery or restoration will work. As any relational database admin  will know, the value of a good backup and recovery plan is immeasurable.

Servers need to run 24/7, and minimal downtime and short recovery windows are critical for both small business and enterprise operations. IT professionals know that data loss and disaster can happen at any time, and a reliable, efficient recovery solution is vital for getting and keeping systems online and running quickly.

ShadowProtect SPX by StorageCraft protects Microsoft SQL, Exchange, and SharePoint servers and other critical application servers. In addition to all your critical data, SPX also lets you recover installed Windows applications, running services, and custom configurations exactly as they exist at the point in time when the backup is taken.

Our server backup program has a unique backup process to overcome any issues that may occur with backing up an SQL Server on a physical machine. It has a four-step process with multiple failover to make absolutely sure your server data is successfully stored:

  • ShadowProtect will back up server systems using Microsoft’s Volume Snapshot Service (VSS);
  • If VSS fails, ShadowProtect begins a second attempt using DLLs called by VSS;
  • If this attempt also has issues, ShadowProtect SPX will backup the server using its own driver;
  • ShadowProtect will fall back to getting a “crash consistent” backup image, if the third backup fails.

“We don’t have to use multiple failover processes in taking backup images, and in fact many backup software vendors only try once to take a backup. However, we believe that this tiered backup process helps to ensure that with ShadowProtect you will have a reliable backup of your system and data. This extra effort sets us apart from our competitors as our customers know that our software ‘just works’ time and time again”, says Brian Wistisen, Product Marketing Director at StorageCraft.

Read more about StorageCraft ShadowProtect Unique Backup Process for SQL Server.

Will you be migrating from Oracle to SQL Server? What server backup program do you use?