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Instantly Restore SQL Server Databases.


OVERVIEW

Reduce backup windows, recovery time objectives (RTO), recovery point objectives (RPO), and deliver long-term data retention.

Enterprises that run mission-critical applications using SQL databases need an enterprise-grade, multi-cloud backup, and recovery solution.

Actifio software efficiently delivers enterprise-level rapid backup and instant recovery of mission-critical SQL databases, anywhere – in the public cloud or on-premises.

CHALLENGES

Enterprises using legacy backup architecture commonly face the following challenges:

HOW Actifio HELPS

Instantly restore SQL Server databases. Actifio reduces backup window and the associated performance impact by up to 20x by leveraging application consistent incremental forever backup technology.

DataProtectionZeroRPO

Actifio’s powerful instant mount technology reduces RPO from days to minutes with an ability to recover even the largest SQL databases in minutes.

Speed

Actifio’s ability to store backups in native SQL format on any storage also enables production-like performance post recovery.

CloudObjectStorage

For long term-data retention, Actifio can leverage inexpensive cloud object storage to lower costs while still offering instant recovery.

Multicloud

Best-of-all, enterprises can use Actifio to leverage any private/public cloud.

Frequently Asked Questions.

Actifio Sky supports all three configurations in on-premises and any public cloud: Standalone, Always On Availability Groups, Always On Failover Clusters.

Actifio’s pricing model is very simple and easy to understand. It’s based on the amount of source data protected. For example: If an enterprise wants to use Actifio to protect 5 SQL server instances, each with 10 TB source database size, the enterprise would need Actifio license for 50 TB of source data. Enterprises can use this license in any public cloud or on-premises in VMs or physical servers.

Actifio VDP is the patented core Virtual Data Pipeline technology that can be consumed in multiple form factors.

Actifio Sky is a VM appliance that runs Actifio VDP engine and can be provisioned in a public cloud VM or on-premises in VMware, Hyper-V VMs.

Actifio CDS/CDX is a physical appliance cluster that runs Actifio VDP engine with High Availability and is typically used on-premises.

Yes. Actifio supports all major public cloud providers including  Azure, Oracle, AWS, IBM, and Google. It’s also available in the leading public cloud marketplaces.

Following are the key comparisons:

  1. Full vs Incremental forever backup for SQL databases: Legacy vendors perform recurring full backups while Actifio performs incremental forever backups using its proprietary change block tracking (CBT). All backups are application consistent using Microsoft VSS snapshot APIs.
  2. Large vs Instant recovery time: RTO with legacy vendors is large because of restoring from their proprietary backup format. Compare this with Actifio’s instant recovery where it can recover even a 50+ TB SQL server database in just minutes.
  3. Lack of automated test data management for DevOps: Legacy vendors don’t have a self-service, storage-efficient,  automated test data management to create SQL database clones. Compare this with Actifio which reuses its backups to provision database clones in just minutes with self-service and automation.

Following are the key comparisons:

  1. Low vs High Performance post instant recovery: While mounting backups from deduplication appliances might be instant, the deduplication format on commodity storage impacts the IO performance significantly. Users just can’t run mission-critical SQL server databases from these appliances. Compare this with Actifio which stores backups in its native SQL server format on any storage tier, thus delivering the raw native performance of the underlying storage.
  2. Impactful Incremental forever backups: Many of the deduplication vendors claim incremental forever backups by performing client-side deduplication i.e. using a client agent or a connector inside the SQL server. Client-side deduplication has to process the entire database data to calculate hashes and then identify unique hashes, which increases the CPU utilization and IO on the SQL server. Larger the database, higher the impact. Compare this with Actifio which identifies blocks that have changed since the last backup using its proprietary change block tracking (CBT) mechanism. This is very efficient because it doesn’t have to read and process the entire database. It just knows which blocks changed and protects just the changed blocks. Such an incremental forever using CBT approach reduces the backup window, CPU utilization, and IO impact by up to 20x on production SQL server databases.
  3. None vs High flexibility for storage and storage protocols: With deduplication appliance vendors users are locked into whatever storage the vendor’s supply. Typically, deduplication vendors only support NFS for data backup and mount. Compare this with Actifio which allows users to specify any storage vendor with the right performance metrics, thus eliminating storage vendor lock-in. Moreover, users have complete flexibility to backup, mount, and recover over Fibre Channel, iSCSI, and NFS protocols.
  4. Lack of automated test data management for DevOps: Deduplication appliance vendors don’t have a self-service, storage-efficient and automated test data management to create SQL database clones. Compare this with Actifio which reuses backups to provision database clones in just minutes with self-service and automation.
  5. High vs Low Cloud TCO: The scaleout deduplication appliance vendors support very few public cloud providers. They also need a very large amount of compute to protect cloud resident SQL server workloads with a minimum of 3-4 node clusters, thus driving up 24×7 cloud costs. Compare this with Actifio which needs very small compute to protect SQL workloads, leverages cloud block and/or object storage and even delivers instant recovery from cloud object storage.

Yes, Actifio leverages VSS snapshot APIs to perform application consistent backups. It then leverages its proprietary Change Block Tracking (CBT) technology to capture just the changed blocks in its incremental forever backups. After incremental backup, it synthesizes a point-in-time virtual full backup by manipulating its metadata.

For more details on how Actifio works for SQL server, check out this solution brief.

Yes. A backup admin or DBA can set up SLAs in such a way that transaction logs can be backed up every X minutes or hours in between the incremental backups. For example, a user can setup incremental backups every 1 hour and log backups every 15 minutes.

During recoveries, a user can specify any point-in-time. Actifio automatically identifies the nearest incremental point-in-time, mounts a synthetic virtual full copy instantly as of that point-in-time, and applies the transaction logs to recover the SQL database to the specified point-in-time. All of this is fully automated.

Actifio stores the SQL server backups in native SQL format. This ensures that after instant mount and recovery, there is no performance overhead because of format conversion.

The other factor to consider is the storage on which the SQL server backups are stored by Actifio.

Depending on the performance requirements after instant recovery or provisioning database clones to test/dev users, enterprises can specify the right storage tier to use with Actifio.

And lastly, Actifio also offers the flexibility to instantly mount and recover over Fibre Channel or iSCSI or NFS depending upon the user preference.

Thus the performance can be as good as the underlying storage and the protocol the user wants to use.

Check out this URL.

Yes. Actifio integrates with SQL AAG. It can discover the primary and secondary databases in the SQL AAG environment. Users have the flexibility to protect from the primary or secondary databases. Users can recover multi-TB databases instantly at the primary or secondary sites for operational recovery or test data management for DevOps.

Many enterprises use Actifio to protect from SQL AAG secondary and replicate to another Actifio Sky instance at the primary site. With this architecture, they can recover at either location. In scenarios where the primary SQL DB is corrupted, users can perform SQL recoveries at both primary and secondary site to the same point-in-time. Such a process ensures that there is no time consuming, bandwidth intensive, performance impacting log replication from AAG primary to AAG secondary after the recoveries are done.

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