Minion Backup intro webinar June 3!

minionware_logoMinion Backup 1.0 is up and available for download as of now!

Minion Backup by MidnightDBA is a stand-alone database backup module.  Once installed, Minion Backup automatically backs up all online databases on the SQL Server instance, and will incorporate databases as they are added or removed.

Join the Minion Backup webinar on Wednesday June 3

Register today for our webinar, Introducing Minion Backup on Wednesday June 1 at 12:00 PM CDT. Sean will introduce Minion Backup, walk through demos, and take questions.

We released Minion Backup

It’s awesome. It’s huge. We actually managed to get everything we planned into version 1.0. Not everything we wanted, mind you: there’s still half a ton of features we have on the docket for the next few versions. But what we have done is still massive.

One short blog post won’t cover how revolutionary (yes, we’re serious: revolutionary) Minion Backup is. One job for all schedules, yes. Availability Group aware, check. Copy, move, mirror, compress, encrypt backups. Dynamic backup tuning. Backup archival. Custom retention settings. Extensive live logging. And on and on. Since we couldn’t cover it all here, we wrote 132 pages of documentation (available in DOCXPDF, and a zipped RTF), including a favorites feature list, a quick start, how to-s, and more.

While you’re at it, take a look at our several tutorial videos on MidnightDBA.com (or at YouTube.com/MidnightDBA if you prefer).

And oh by the way, what’s with “MinionWare”?

MidnightDBA is the banner for our free training. MidnighSQL Consulting, LLC is our actual consulting business. And now, we’ve spun up MinionWare, LLC as our software company. We released our new SQL Server management solution, Minion Enterprise, under the MinionWare banner. And now, all the little Minion guys will live together on www.MinionWare.net.

Minion Reindex, Minion Backup, and other Minion modules are, and will continue to be free. Minion Enterprise is real enterprise software, and we’d love the chance to prove to you that it’s worth paying for. Get in touch at www.MinionWare.net and let’s do a demo, and get you a free 90 day trial!

Happy days,
Jen McCown
http://www.MidnightDBA.com/Jen

 

Coming soon: Minion Backup, featuring table based scheduling!

minion backup
The MidnightDBA team is announcing the release of a new, free backup solution for SQL Server: Minion Backup arrives on June 1!

Minion Backup by MidnightDBA is a stand-alone database backup module.  Once installed, Minion Backup automatically backs up all online databases on the SQL Server instance, and will incorporate databases as they are added or removed.

We created Minion Backup (or MB, for short) to be the most flexible, feature-rich backup solution possible. Our goal for this initial release was to include functionality for as many possible backup scenarios as possible. We’ve included certificate backups, HA and DR awareness, restore script generation, “what if” functionality for deletes, the ability to run a batch for “missing” backups, built in manual runs, rollup and detail data in the backup logs, the ability to deactivate most settings, copy / move / stripe / mirror backup files, etc.

Table based scheduling

While there are about fifty features I’d like to talk about, I’m going to restrain myself (today) and talk about the one feature I’m most excited about (today): table based scheduling.

When Minion Backup is installed, it creates a single backup job that runs the master backup stored procedure every 30 minutes.  That master procedure checks the Minion.BackupSettingsServer table to determine what backups should be run for the current day and time.

By default, Minion Backup comes installed with the following scenario:

  • Full system backups are scheduled daily at 10:00pm.
  • Full user backups are scheduled on Saturdays at 11:00pm.
  • Differential backups for user databases are scheduled daily except Saturdays (weekdays and on Sunday) at 11:00pm.
  • Log backups for user databases run daily as often as the backup runs (every 30 minutes).

Let’s look at just a few of the columns of this default scenario in Minion.BackupSettingsServer:

ID DBType BackupType Day BeginTime EndTime MaxForTimeframe Include Exclude
1 System Full Daily 22:00:00 22:30:00 1 NULL NULL
2 User Full Saturday 23:00:00 23:30:00 1 NULL NULL
3 User Diff Weekday 23:00:00 23:30:00 1 NULL NULL
4 User Diff Sunday 23:00:00 23:30:00 1 NULL NULL
5 User Log Daily 00:00:00 23:59:00 48 NULL NULL

I’m not going to fully document this table here – I’ll be happy to send you a draft of the product documentation if you can’t wait for the release date – but you get an initial impression of how flexible this scenario can be, especially in conjunction with other settings tables. I will note that “Include” and “Exclude” allow comma delimited lists of databases (and/or LIKE operators) to include in, or exclude from, the particular backup scenario; a value of NULL means that all databases are included.

This is how MB operates by default, to allow for the most flexible backup scheduling with as few jobs as possible.

Table based scheduling presents multiple advantages:

  • A single backup job – Multiple backup jobs are, to put it simply, a pain. They’re a pain to update and slow to manage, as compared with using update and insert statements on a table.
  • Fast, repeatable configuration – Keeping your backup schedules in a table saves loads of time, because you can enable and disable schedules, change frequency and time range, etc. all with an update statements. This also makes standardization easier: write one script to alter your backup schedules, and run it across all Minion Backup instances (instead of changing dozens or hundreds of jobs).
  • Mass updates across instances – With a simple Powershell script, you can take that same script and run it across hundreds of SQL Server instances at once, standardizing your entire enterprise with ease.
  • Transparent scheduling – Multiple backup jobs tend to obscure the backup scenario, because each piece of the configuration is displayed in separate windows. Table based scheduling allows you to see all aspects of the backup schedule in one place, easily and clearly.
  • Boundless flexibility – Table based scheduling provides a stunning degree of flexibility that would be very troublesome to implement with multiple jobs. With a single backup job, you can schedule all of the following:
    • System full backups three days a week.
    • User full backups on weekend days and Wednesday.
    • DB1 log backups between 7am and 5pm on weekdays.
    • All other user log backups between 1am and 11pm on all days.
    • Differential backups for DB2 at 2am and 2pm.
    • Read only backups on the first of every month.

…and each of these can also use dynamic backup tuning, which can also be slated for different file sizes, applicable at different times and days of the week and year.

and each of these can also stripe across multiple files, to multiple locations, and/or copy to secondary locations, and/or mirror to a secondary location.

Like I said, there are a zillion and a half more things I’d like to talk about, but we’ll keep it right here for now. Reply below, email, or ping @MidnightDBA on Twitter with questions or comments. And keep an eye out on June 1!

Happy days,
Jen
http://www.MidnightDBA.com/Jen

Check out Minion Enterprise, our new enterprise management solution for centralized SQL Server management and alerting! 

P.S.  Anticipating a few FAQs (and I’ll add to this as things come up):

  • Yes, you can change how often the backup job runs. If, for example, you only want log backups to run hourly, set your job to run hourly.
  • Yes, absolutely, you still have the option to use the more traditional “multi job” backup scheduling. You’d just disable the single job mentioned above, and configure the new jobs with individual schedules and a parameterized master query. Easy.
  • The Include and Exclude fields aren’t the only way to include and exclude databases, but we’re not going to get into that just now.

Precon: The Enterprise Scripting Workshop #SQLSaturdayBR

midnightsqlYou are cordially invited to a fantastic precon event before SQL Saturday Baton Rouge! The Enterprise Scripting Workshop is on Friday, July 31, and if you register before June 30 you’ll get the Early Bird rate of $99…not bad at all for a full day’s training.

Oh, and don’t forget to register for SQL Saturday #423 Baton Rouge, too!

Abstract

The DBA life is frustrating: you rarely have time to innovate, because the same tasks fill up your time day after day. Your users are unhappy about how long it takes to resolve “simple” tickets. You have to put big items on hold because special requests come in. As careful you are, mistakes creep in as you get busier.

We’ve been there.

In this workshop, the MidnightDBAs show you how to develop enterprise scripts with a huge range of uses. A good set of reusable scripts will reduce task time from hours – or even days – to just a few minutes, and eliminate mistakes from your environment.

You’ll learn:

  • Enterprise philosophy – tackle simple tasks with the whole environment in mind
  • Single data store – define the benefits and uses of a single central database for common-use data and metadata
  • Choice of tools – choose the best tool (Powershell, T-SQL, SSIS, or other) for the job
  • Environment ground work – prepare your environment for enterprise scripting
  • Real world scripts – work through dozens of enterprise scripting issues (like alerting, error handling, multiple SQL versions, and more) as we develop a real enterprise script in class

This session is for database administrators, with a basic understanding of Powershell. It’s for anyone who touches backups or security, maintains databases, troubleshoots performance, monitors disk space, or any of a hundred other DBA tasks. Enterprise scripting is for anyone who has more tasks than time.

Happy days,
Jen McCown
http://www.MidnightDBA.com/Jen

Check out Minion Enterprise, our new enterprise management solution for centralized SQL Server management and alerting! 

Real news, real tech.