For fun, let’s say that a company has an unlimited budget for disaster recovery. What would such a disaster recovery plan look like?

Unlimited budget does not guarantee total protection. In fact, in today’s environment, even the most profitable company with lots of cash will think twice before spending money on unnecessary or redundant projects or tools. As explained before, RTO and RPO will determine the type of plan and systems that need to be put in place. Companies should have a clear understanding of their requirements, and then design/implement a disaster recovery and business continuity plan.

Before jumping on to implementing a plan or an application, it is imperative that users properly think through all the different scenarios and the impact a particular disaster will have on their business. With proper planning, even companies with highly mission critical data and information can implement a plan within a reasonable budget. Of course, what is reasonable is always subjective.

Many companies have a very small budget, and can’t afford expensive backup or disaster recovery options. For those companies, what do you suggest?

Every company, big or small, should have a disaster recovery plan. Nothing should be left to chance. Having said that, many companies are forced to work with a small IT budget and backup/recovery is typically not considered as part of that at all. But it will be a terrible mistake to ignore it. These companies should start on a small scale, protecting mission critical data and information. They should execute a step-by-step process which won’t cost very much, but will end up protecting crucial data completely over a period of time. This way the company will be able to absorb the cost more easily.

Tell us how SonaSafe for SQL Server is designed to fit into the needs of a company running SQL Server. What are its features and how is it better than some of the alternatives?

Unlike most of the other backup solutions, Sonasoft’s software is designed for disk-to-disk backup, it is application specific, and leverages lots of the great capabilities of SQL server. Sonasoft’s SonaSafe application automates the entire backup through configurable templates. When a crash occurs, due to system malfunction, user error, or due to any other reason, one can recover to the point-of-failure, or to a point-in-time, with just point and click.

Some of the key features are:

  • Automated backup and point-click recovery
  • Ability to recover to the point of failure or to a point in time with just one-click
  • Ability to create a backup plan(s) for entire Server or instance or just a single database
  • Compression reduces storage costs by up to 85%
  • Intelligent standby functionality for SQL server
  • No distance limitation, can be anywhere
  • Affordable and more reliable than log shipping
  • Ability to manage multiple servers through a management console
  • Automated policy-based purging capability
  • Excellent alert functionality
  • Web-based, can be accessed from anywhere in the world

Can you provide any real-life examples of how SonaSafe for SQL Server is being used?

Absolutely. One great example is a company called Marketron. Marketron International is a leading provider of broadcast management solutions for the radio, TV, and cable industries. Marketron was looking for a disaster recovery solution that could provide both backup and recovery services at their production data center facility, as well as replication of data to their remote DR facility. They needed a solution that was not only simple to use and cost effective, but also safe and reliable to protect valuable data.

Marketron uses a number of Microsoft Standard Edition SQL Servers. As Marketron scaled up, its SQL deployment of customer data, using standard backup software and manual log-shipping practices, became cumbersome, time-consuming, and costly.

Sonasoft provided a simple solution, which was easy to use and quick to deploy. Also, SonSafe enabled Marketron to centrally manage all the servers and reliably update the remote standby servers. Marketron was looking at various solutions, but the cost was prohibitively high. Sonasoft offered a solution which not only provided superior value, but at one fourth of the cost.

Using SonaSafe, the customer is automatically updating the remote standby servers every 15 minutes. Efficient compression provided by SonaSafe, reduced storage requirements by almost 85%. The customer is currently backing up 22 primary SQL servers in the San Francisco Bay area, and 22 Standby servers are getting updated every 15 minutes in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The size of the transactional backup frequently reaches over 1 GB in size, even after compression, but SonaSafe efficiently restores the data on the standby server. When a system crashes, Marketron is able to recover it immediately to the point of failure without any data loss. Also, when a primary server goes down, the standby server can take over immediately and the whole operation can continue without any downtime.


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