Backing Up, Restoring, and Moving a Database in VS .NET

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Backing Up, Restoring, and Moving a Database
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Lesson 1: Backing Up a Database
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Maintaining a duplicate copy of data that you can recover in the event of data loss is critical. And SQL Server 2005 provides a variety of features that you can use to accomplish this goal. The most common way to maintain duplicate copies of data is by using the backup capabilities built into SQL Server. Some of these capabilities will be familiar to anyone who has used a previous version of SQL Server. In addition, SQL Server 2005 includes a significant step forward in providing greater flexibility with ways to perform backups. This lesson will explain the basics of each option that is available within the SQL Server backup engine.
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Understanding database and log structures
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To get a better understanding of the backup and restore architecture, you first need to be familiar with the basic structure of SQL Server databases, filegroups, extents, data pages, and transaction logs. Refer to 2 before starting this lesson.
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After this lesson, you will be able to:
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Perform a full backup. Perform a differential backup. Perform a transaction log backup. Perform a filegroup backup. Initialize a media set by using the FORMAT option. Append or overwrite an existing media set. Create a backup device.
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Estimated lesson time: 45 minutes
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NOTE
Backup permissions
Unlike previous SQL Server versions, SQL Server 2005 aims to strengthen security by implementing the principle of least privilege, using only the minimum set of permissions required to perform an operation. So you need to know what permissions are required to execute backups. Backups, no matter how you initiate them, execute within the database engine under the security context of the SQL Server service account. You need to grant this account permissions to read and write to any directories or tape devices that you will be using to back up to; otherwise, your backups will fail due to insufficient permissions. To grant a user permissions to back up the database without allowing additional access, add the user as a member of the db_backupoperator role, which is allowed only to back up the database, log, or checkpoint in the database. No other access is allowed.
Lesson 1: Backing Up a Database
Performing Full Backups
The purpose of a full database backup is to capture all the data that is stored in the database. The backup engine accomplishes this task by extracting every extent in the database that is allocated to an object. You can then use a full backup by itself to re-create the entire database. Note that this backup method is always available, regardless of the recovery model you configure for a database.
NOTE
Inside backup granularity
You will find many books that say a SQL Server backup backs up a data page instead of an extent. This is inaccurate. SQL Server does not allocate a single data page to an object that needs space; it allocates a full extent. The backup engine works on the same principle. It extracts any pages allocated to an object, and because allocation occurs one extent at a time, the backup engine is in fact backing up all extents that SQL Server has allocated to objects, regardless of whether SQL Server has written data to all the pages within the extent.
The backup engine is configured to perform a backup as quickly as possible while using a minimum of resources. When you initiate a backup, the backup engine writes pages to the backup device without regard to the order of pages. Because the backup is not concerned with the precise ordering of pages, SQL Server can open multiple threads to write data as fast as it can be accepted by the media. The only limiting factor in the backup speed is how fast data can be written to a device. Because a backup is not instantaneous and can occur while users are connected to the database and issuing queries, logical inconsistency in the database is a possibility. If a page of data were written to the backup media and then modified by another request, for example, restoring this backup would place the database in an inconsistent state. SQL Server, however, does not allow this to happen because it enforces the following specific series of steps during a full backup: 1. Lock the database, blocking all transactions. 2. Place a mark in the transaction log. 3. Release the database lock. 4. Back up all pages in the database. 5. Lock the database, blocking all transactions. 6. Place a mark in the transaction log. 7. Release the database lock. 8. Extract all transactions between the two log marks and append to the backup.
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