SQL Backup and Recovery with Actifio – How It Works


Hi, I’m Jay from Actifio. Today, I’m going to talk about how Actifio works for SQL Server backup and recovery.

Traditional backup solutions rely on recurring full backups using SQL VSS APIs and employ deduplication, which increase RPO and RTO. Actifio provides an efficient and fast solution to provide application consistent incremental forever backup, and instant recovery for large SQL databases. This reduces RPO from days to hours or even minutes.

Here’s how it works. Actifio installs a lightweight connector inside of the SQL Server environment that includes a bitmap, which keeps track of which blocks change in a very efficient way. There’s no data movement involved with the bitmap it’s merely tracking what blocks are changing.

When it’s time for a back up the Actifio connector mounts a disc from the Actifio appliance using iSCSI, or fiber channel. The connector, then, uses VSS to quiesce SQL momentarily and then creates a VSS snapshot. The connector then leverages the Actifio bitmap to identify only the changed blocks in the snapshot, and copies those onto the Actifio volume. At the end of this process, the presented volume exactly matches the production instance. The Actifio volume is then unmounted and the VSS snapshot is released.

Finally, the Actifio Sky virtual appliance issues an internal snapshot of the updated volume, and synthesizes a point in time virtual full, which is stored inside the storage used by the Actifio appliance. This process ensures that backups are small and fast, and can lower RPOs to one hour or less. It is fully compatible with SQL clusters, always on availability groups, and file streams. Additionally, Actifio can even capture transaction logs every 15 minutes, which significantly reduces risk in the case of outage.

Now, what about recovery? Since Actifio stores data in native format users can instantly mount a point and time copy of the SQL database directly from the Actifio appliance, and Actifio will orchestrate the process of bringing the SQL database online. The technology enables users to mount massive SQL database copies in minutes, which can reduce RTO by 10X or more. Best of all, this could all be done on premises, in any public cloud, or in a hybrid cloud environment. So, if you want low RPO, and RTO for large SQL databases please check out actifio.com to learn more. Thanks!