Chapter 7. Protecting Databases

The life blood of most organizations is stored in some kind of database or an application that stores its data in a database. And yet, as I look back on the past three decades of work, most of the truly difficult backup and recovery problems I’ve had were with databases. I therefore think this may be the most important chapter in the book.

There are 13 types of database and 300 database products listed on, and each of them has a unique backup and recovery process. Some have entire manuals and books dedicated just to the best ways to back up those databases. Given the variety of types of database and the different ways they are backed up, the best I can do in this chapter is point you in the right direction.

My goal is to help you understand why databases are so hard to back up, explain the database architectural concept that someone tasked with backup should know, and describe the various ways that people back them up, including my opinion on the pros and cons of each method. I will then examine what I know of how these databases are backed up and offer my opinions there as well. My goal is to push you in the right direction and to give you enough knowledge to evaluate the details of your database backup methodology and potentially make improvements.

Before we start looking at the challenges and solutions of database backup and recovery, we need to talk about several categories of database. The first way that databases are delineated ...

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