Mr. Backup and Mr. SQL argue over how to backup SQL Server (Restore it All Podcast #130)

Have you ever had questions about SQL Server, Azure, SQL Server ON Azure, how to backup SQL Server, or how to backup Azure? This is the episode for you. Denny Cherry, a SQL Server and Azure specialist and author of seven books, talks to us about both of these technologies. Before talking about anything important, we tackle the mystery of how you pronounce Azure. Surprise! I was pronouncing it wrong, according to Denny, who talks to Microsoft people all the time.

We first talk about performance tuning, and Denny explains some things that most DBAs can do to improve performance, starting with indexes. (He also explains what an index is for those that don’t know.) We then talk about how bad query code needs to be in order to justify looking into that, and he gives us a few examples.

We also (of course) talk about backing up SQL Server, starting with the political discussion of WHO should own the backup process: a backup admin or a DBA? Denny and Curtis clearly do not agree on this one, but the discussion is a good one. Grab your popcorn! One of Denny’s best quotes is that he feels one of the primary jobs of the DBA is to be able to restore the database if something happens and if you can’t do that, nothing else matters. So beautiful.

Then the topic of dedupe comes up and things get heated again; our guest hates dedupe and Curtis loves it. That was another good discussion. Short version: make sure you have more than one copy of a deduped data store.

We continue the discussion of different ways to backup SQL Server, and Denny definitely prefers the native backup capabilities of SQL Server, and he explains why. Curtis then makes a suggestion on a way for DBAs and backup admins to both get what they want, but it doesn’t sound like Denny is taking the bait.

After a brief discussion on SQL Server vs Oracle, we move into the various ways one can use SQL Server in Azure. Denny’s gives advice as to what makes sense for most customers – and his opinion on the question of whether or not you save money in the cloud. Short answer: not usually, but you get a lot more power, flexibility and ease of use.

Regarding Azure vs AWS, it appears that Azure is very equivalent to AWS in overall functionality at this point, and there appears to be a number of cost and functionality advantages to running SQL Server in the cloud. One of the biggest advantages is that you can use an on-prem license of SQL Server in the PaaS version of it in the cloud. That’s pretty cool. We also talk about how roughly half of the VMs in Azure run Linux, and why that might be the case.

All-in-all it’s a really interesting podcast, even though we almost came to blows once or twice. (OK, not really.) But really good discussions about SQL Server, Azure, and backups of both.

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