Regular SQL Server Backup Review

20 January,2014 by Tom Collins

You’ve spent time and money on setting up a fantastic SQL Server backup system , retention policy and backup schedules. So , you sit back , relax  and after awhile complacency sets in. 

One day , a user contacts you for an emergency and URGENT restore of an important financial database. You feel confident as there haven’t been many database backup failures recently.

As you scan through the SQL Server - Display sql backup history for a single database , you expect to see a backup from Friday night but  discover the last legitimate backup is from Thursday night! You quickly double-check the failure report and there are no failures. How could this happen?

You discover , the  backup schedule changed due to increased workload on the backup system which couldn’t deal with the exponential growth in throughput requirements. The Backup operations team decided , in their infinite wisdom , to make some “minor” adjustments without any visibility to the DBA team . They made this change to deal with the increased workload!!

As a diligent DBA , capacity planning was applied , taking into account planned growth and throughput capacity of the backup system. The problem most DBAs face is they are operating in a complex environment – where there are multiple requirements placed on the backup system by various repositroes

The moral of the story: always review the backup schedules and retention policies against the Service level agreements. Set aside some time at regular intervals where a review is exercised, and checked  against what is expected. Don’t get caught out!

 Take the DBA Ignorance , complacency and arrogance test

Author: Tom Collins (


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