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5 SQL Backup Issues Database Admins Need to Be Aware Of

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Look out for these SQL backup issues, because they could mean big trouble for your organization.

For many years, SQL has been the standard for database handling and putting all sorts of useful information into a database environment. It’s been a stock component of training for database administrators. It’s almost kind of a shorthand for database functionality. But it does present some potential problems that database administrators need to watch out for — and in many cases, to know how to solve.

Here are some of the major SQL backup issues that will confront database administrators trying to make sure that a database system truly supports a business.

Backup Timelines

One of the key problems that database administrators will face is latency.

Many professionals have seen this happen — for one reason or another, the efficiency and speed of SQL backups goes way down, and suddenly it takes hours and hours to perform a backup process.

In trying to figure out slow backups, responsible administrators can look at the full life cycle, from reading the data files to compression and on to the data destination. Specific third-party tools related to backup efficiency will help administrators test for bottlenecks. This is one of the common solutions that companies put in place to make sure that their systems don’t suffer from excessive lag time.

Specific tools and methodologies help to protect companies from SQL latency, just as they also eliminate bottlenecks elsewhere in an SOA. (Not sure where you should be storing your backups? Check out Cloud vs. Local Backup: Which Do You Need?)


Errors and Failures

Database administrators also have to deal with various types of system failures, many of which are related to overloading the system, or to some kind of unintended use.

For example, a full transaction log can cause transaction errors. Other errors have to do with drive space or situations where the backup data origin or destination is unavailable for some reason.

Administrators have to monitor drive space, organize backup activities and look at the resources available in order to avoid these types of situations. In some cases, fixes may require indirect backups to an external location.


Another major issue for database administrators is compliance.

Different industries have their own versions of SQL compliance, but in general, SQL audits will show whether the system has the security and integrity needed to pass with flying colors. For example, FT RPA manages compliance standards for educational database systems. The financial Sarbanes-Oxley regulation also includes SQL rules, as does the PCI regulation on financial data.

Compliance wizards can help companies to automate or train for these types of compliance. Audits will look at things like suspicious activity, data collection practices, dashboard access and much more. (Read also: How Can Technology Help Companies Stay Compliant During COVID-19?)

Data Recovery

From time to time, database administrators will also have questions about recovery. For example, those responsible for maintaining database operations might need to know how to restore from a transaction log, or how and where jeopardized data can be recovered. All of this requires specific knowledge of database technologies and accessories.

Recovery issues can also be very time-sensitive. Company teams may talk about fixes in terms of quantified down time or “dwell time” for problems that occur. SQL recovery issues can cost companies a lot in terms of whether or not they aid discovery or other vital operations. Latency is often bad, but recovery problems can be worse. (Disaster recovery can be overwhelming, and it can be difficult to know where to start. Check out Disaster Recovery 101 to learn the basics.)


Over time, systems will grow. That’s abundantly true for database activities. More users, more customer histories, more business products or services and more transactions mean swelling SQL tables.

Engineers have to look at the future when they look at database setups. They have to understand whether more activity will place an excessive load on the system, or to put it another way, they have to plan for expanded systems and make sure that the database has capacity.

Final Thoughts

All of the above problems: timelines for back ups, dealing with errors and failures, ensuring compliance, having a plan for data recovery, and scalability—can be more easily managed with third-party vendor systems from experienced companies dealing in supporting database administration. Look for the SQL tools that your company needs to navigate this complex data environment.


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Justin Stoltzfus
Justin Stoltzfus

Justin Stoltzfus is an independent blogger and business consultant assisting a range of businesses in developing media solutions for new campaigns and ongoing operations. He is a graduate of James Madison University.Stoltzfus spent several years as a staffer at the Intelligencer Journal in Lancaster, Penn., before the merger of the city’s two daily newspapers in 2007. He also reported for the twin weekly newspapers in the area, the Ephrata Review and the Lititz Record.More recently, he has cultivated connections with various companies as an independent consultant, writer and trainer, collecting bylines in print and Web publications, and establishing a reputation…