Database Backups Part 2


As we’ve seen in a previous video, database backups can be somewhat complex. Deciding on the most appropriate backup solution for your internal databases, you’re bound to come across certain concepts and terminology which might seem difficult to understand. But a good grasp of these concepts is essential to making the most appropriate choice for your data protection requirements.

Because backup is such an important security process, you want to avoid making changes whenever possible. That’s why it’s important to make the right choices early on, so you can stick to a single plan for the long-term.

In this video, I want to give you a basic overview of the most important principles that you need to know when selecting a backup service for your corporate databases.

The first thing you need to know is the difference between hot and cold database backups.

A cold database backup requires the database to be locked up or shut down during the backup process. This can be a problem for companies that do business on a 24 hour schedule.

A hot backup allows backups to be performed at any time without the need to shut down the entire database.

Another concept that you need to understand is that there are 2 ways to back up databases: Logical backups and Physical backups. As mentioned previously, logical database elements such as tables are difficult to back up since they are usually scattered across the hard drive in many files or locations.

If you wanted to back up only a single logical data element, you would have to perform an export through the database system. This way, you’d have this logical element as a single file, which could then be backed up.

Logical backups are well suited for maintenance.

For example: Since telephone area codes are frequently changing, you’ll often find yourself having to load new data into a table that correlates postal codes with their associated area codes. Or, you could export a parts list from a database in one department and add it to a different database which is used in another department.

However, logical database backups consume a lot of resources, and are terribly suited to data protection. If you accidentally deleted the invoices table and tried to load an export from last night, you would end up with a lot of referential integrity problems since the other tables now reference invoice data which no longer exists.

So leave the logical database backups to your programmers and database administrators.

When it comes to data protection, your only reliable option would be to focus on physical database backups.

Now that we have a basic idea of how hot and cold backups work, and the difference between logical and physical database data, we’re now ready to select a database backup methodology.

In our next video, we’ll review some of the most popular database backup methods, and give you the pros and cons of each.

In the meantime, please visit if you’d like more information about backing up your database server.

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