Fact. There is no such thing as too much data protection. Microsoft understands that, so when the company launched SQL Server 2014, it included enhancements to the database management program’s backup and recovery capabilities. Among the most notable may be simplified backup to the cloud.
SQL Server 2014 makes cloud backups easier because it natively supports the Azure Blob (binary large object) storage service. If you’re not familiar with Azure Blob storage, it’s a service for storing large amounts of unstructured data or “blobs.” A blob can be any type of text or binary data, such as documents, media files or application installers. With proper credentials, the stored data can be accessed from anywhere in the world via HTTP or HTTPS. Blob storage can be used to expose data publicly, or to store application data privately.
Here’s how it works.
- Create a Windows Azure storage account and a blob container.
- Generate a SQL Server credential that will be used to store security information and access the Windows Azure storage account.
- Create a backup that will use the Windows Azure Blob storage service. (1)
Voilá! With SQL Server 2014’s out-of-the-box geo-replication capability, the backups you store in the Windows Azure cloud are automatically replicated to multiple data centers around the world. Backups using Windows Azure storage can also be restored on Windows Azure Virtual Machines in the event a disaster takes out your on-premises data center.
SQL Server backups can now also use URLs as destination options when backups are performed using SQL Server Management Studio. Backups are stored in Windows Azure because the Windows Azure Blob storage service is used.
As a result of these backup capability enhancements, it’s now easier to implement hybrid scenarios — for example, backing up on-premises databases to the cloud. All you need is a URL and a storage key. You can then create a policy for manually or automatically backing up a single database or all databases within a SQL Server instance to Windows Azure storage.
Worried about security? Microsoft thought of that too. Encrypted backups are supported in Windows Azure storage or on-premises. Data can be natively encrypted when a backup is created by specifying an encryption algorithm and a certificate or an asymmetric key to secure the encryption key. SQL Server 2014 supports industry standard encryption algorithms including AES 128, AES 192, AES 256, and Triple DES.
Of course, these features are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg when it comes to SQL Server 2014. Watch for more coverage from Peak 10 on how to use SQL Server 2014’s new capabilities for keeping data secure and accessible — even if disaster strikes.
(1) Microsoft Developer Network, SQL Server Backup and Restore with Windows Azure Blob Storage Service