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DBAs always validate SQL Server database backups… Right?

So you setup the SQL server database backups and checkdb maintenance plans when a server went live. Therefore your disaster recover plan is done…. right?

The only way to know if a database backup can be restored is to restore it and run checkdb on the restored database. However, depending on how you have transferred the database backup file to/from its storage location, there is no guarantee that the data is still valid nor that the backup file is safe to restore (see SQLSkill’s article below).

Automating the entire database backup, checkdb, restore and validation process is essential to eliminating errors during critical disaster recovery moments. The DBA’s disaster recovery plan should start with a solid backup and recovery strategy. There should be 100% confidence in that process by the entire DBA team. Oh and you actually need to test that process on a regular basis … right?

It will save your company from appearing in the newspaper headlines and it will save your job too.

Some additional related articles on database backup validation, backup strategies, using cloud services to validate backups, etc.

SQLskills SQL101: Validating SQL Server Backups
Scary discovery that using FTP to move database backups to/from a DR site may corrupt the backup. According to the article ‘…..they were transmitting binary from production to offsite, but transmitting text from offsite to DR. Transmitting the file using text was slightly modifying the file and was causing an issue.’

Do you check your backups?
Interesting use of Azure to copy backup files, restore and check the database backups. From the article ‘There is no point re-inventing the wheel when it comes to backups so we use the excellent Ola Hallengren backup / restore scripts.\’

Using Pure Storage FlashBlade for your backup strategy can reduce the time to test.

Backup and Restore (or Recovery) strategies for SQL Server database
A zero-data-loss backup solution strategy may require special design and that may attract additional cost to manage the resource required to ensure that the data streams are backed up to multiple destinations regularly.

SQL Server: Understanding and Performing Backups
A pluralsight 2.5 hour course by Paul Randal. From the course description ‘Learn what SQL Server backups are, how they work, how to perform backups, and how to put together an effective backup strategy for your environment’.

How to Automate Your SQL Server Backup and Restore with AWS RDS
Example of process automation to restore a database backup from Amazon Web Services (AWS) to an on-premise SQL Server.

Backup and Restore Database Tasks Using SQL Operations Studio
From the description ‘How to perform commonly used tasks such as database backups and restores along with advanced configuration options.’