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database, you restore the last transaction log backup WITH RECOVERY or simply execute this code to force the recovery:
RESTORE DATABASE [database name] WITH RECOVERY
This basic model of log shipping has been around almost as long as transaction log backups, and many companies have written their own procedures to automate the process The RPO for log shipping is controlled by the frequency of your transaction log backups and the time it takes to copy the backups to the destination server For example, if you took transaction log backups every 15 minutes and shipped them to another server, you might consider that solution to provide no more than 30 minutes of data loss during a failure This would allow for a failure just before (or during) a transaction log backup and the previous transaction log backup having not made it to the destination The RTO is influenced by the time it takes to finish restoring any transaction log backups on the destination that have yet to be applied, recovering the database, and redirecting your applications to the database on the new server It is the manual process of recovery and redirection of application traffic that makes this solution a warm standby
Built-in Log Shipping
To make things easier for you, Microsoft has built a set of processes to help automate the log shipping process, all nicely wrapped up and accessed through a wizard that takes you through all the required steps to get up and running This built-in solution also enables you to set up a third server to act as a monitor for the solution and keep track of all the details in the process, such as when log backups were taken and restored and also backup failures
ON THE JOB
The fundamental concept of log shipping is very straightforward: it is the continual process of copying and restoring transaction log backups from one source database to either one or multiple destinations Writing your own scripts to perform this is not too difficult, and in the early versions of SQL Server, that is exactly what DBAs did Now that the built-in wizard is available, you can build it far quicker than writing your own implementation Also, using the wizard helps to minimize the risk of the solution because the processes that you re using are supported by Microsoft
Reporting on the Destination Server
When using log shipping, the database on the destination server is inaccessible because it s running with NORECOVERY However, it is possible to access the database for
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read-only purposes between transaction log backups by using the recovery option STANDBY, which was covered in detail in 7 Using STANDBY places the database in a read-only state by performing recovery on the transaction log restore, but instead of discarding the open and incomplete transactions, they are saved to a file and are later replayed when restoring the next transaction log in sequence to ensure the transaction log chain is maintained Using the log shipping wizard, this is very easy to implement, as illustrated in Figure 9-2 The database is read-only when running in standby mode, but SQL Server requires exclusive access to the database to restore a transaction log backup, so you will need to decide whether to kick out all the users from the read-only database before each restore or to let the restores fail and then catch up when the users have finished their queries The wizard also makes light work of implementing these choices, as shown in Figure 9-2
Used to make destination database accessible for read-only queries
Select to automatically kick out all users before each log restore
Figure 9-2
Log shipping wizard
C h a p te r 9 : H i g h Ava i l a b i l i t y a n d D i s a s te r R e cove r y
Other Log Shipping Benefits
As well as all the features and benefits described so far, log shipping can also take advantage of backup compression (see 7), which was first introduced as an Enterprise-only feature in SQL Server 2008 but then became a Standard Edition feature with SQL Server 2008 R2 Smaller transaction log backups take less time to create, copy across the network, and restore on the destination server, so the benefits in a log shipping scenario are obvious Finally, it s very easy for log shipping to support multiple destination servers Given the fact that the core architecture is so simple, adding another destination is no more complicated than copying the backup files to two different places or having two destination servers read them from the same location In fact, it s even easier than that because the log shipping wizard will deal with it all for you All you need to do is to specify all the destination servers that you want to set up
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