All database administrators back up their data – that’s a given. Not all backups are created equal, though – as time passes, many database administrators find themselves switching between their variations – for example, MySQL has mysqldump, Percona XtraBackup, SQLBak, and a couple of others, PostgreSQL can be backed up with pg_dump, Barman (Backup and Recovery Manager for PostgreSQL), or a couple of other tools, while Oracle Recovery Manager is a fit to backup an Oracle database infrastructure.
Some database administrators get even fancier, though – since there are tools that are a fit for Enterprise business cases, some database administrators find themselves employing those as well.
Enterprise Backups at a Glance
While the term “enterprise backups” might mean different things to different people, it actually means a range of different things including, but not limited to:
- - Giving users the ability to take backups and recover them quickly and efficiently.
- - Providing users with high-performance capabilities.
- - Coming with support for multiple backup types (full backup, partial backup, incremental backup, etc.)
- - The ability to include or exclude specific tables from a specific backup.
- - Continuous monitoring capabilities, enabling users to monitor resource usage.
- - Most enterprise backup solution providers support the usage of multiple platforms, letting us back up our most precious data on both Linux and Windows machines.
Who Uses Enterprise Backups?
Database administrators usually use enterprise backups to save time, money, and resources – that’s the reason enterprise backups cost upwards from $500 a license to obtain.
However, while enterprise backups certainly have their own use cases from the usability, availability, and performance standpoints, they’re not always very useful – many of the reasons why come down to the fact that enterprise backup software costs quite a big chunk of money, other reasons include the built-in features: not all of them might be a necessity if we are simply looking for backups, but we’re still paying for them all. And while some developers might still make use of other features offered by enterprise backup solutions, paying thousands of dollars for features you don’t use isn’t an optimal feat.
Instead, many developers might turn to database monitoring tools – those provide the optimal mix of security, availability, and performance at the same time.
Enterprise Backups vs. Database Monitoring Tools
Database monitoring tools have their own advantages – the majority of them include the ability to always see what’s happening inside of your database instances and being able to tune all of your database clusters from all kinds of angles – including taking care of backup features as well.
Most database monitoring tools (at least the good ones) offer a couple of options to choose from – they allow users to improve the availability, capacity, or performance of their database instances. Also, they allow you to keep a close eye on your database clusters at all times.
Backups and Monitoring with dbWatch
Here’s what we mean:
Image 1 - Monitoring Options of dbWatch
We used dbWatch Control Center (CC) as the example for the image above – as you can clearly see, CC allows users to observe their database instances from a multitude of different fields including enabling them to keep an eye on availability and improve it, it allows them to observe how capable their disks are, and to improve the performance of their database instances with a couple of clicks. For the purposes of this example, we would be mostly interested in backups, though – hover over “Backup All databases” (see emboldened option below Maintenance), and you should be able to see and tune all of the available options towards the right within the “job parameter overview” section:
Image 2 - the overview of all of the available parameters to tune
As CC isn’t strictly a database backup tool, the number of options that can be changed here won’t be as big as in an enterprise backup solution, but it will do its job just as well – right-click on the daabase job and select “Configure”, and adjust the parameters to your liking:
Image 3 - adjusting parameters
As you can see, you can even ignore a couple of databases if you’d like, or disable the backup function entirely (that means even if the backup would be run, no action would be taken – see below):
Image 4 - Backups not enabled
On successful execution, though, you will see a different message – see below:
Image 5 – dbWatch has completed a backup
That’s all you need to do – dbWatch Control Center was able to backup all your databases! Once your databases were backed up, though, you might want to make sure you have backups in a couple of different places to make them bulletproof, then go ahead and start observing other things – contrary to Enterprise Backup solutions such as MySQL Enterprise Backup and the like, dbWatch Control Center will allow you to do that as well. Start by exploring the left-hand side of the tool – observing your database status might be a nice place to start.
Modify the database job as per your requirements, then check out the results by clicking Details:
Image 6 - configuring the database status job
Image 7 - database statuses
Backups aren’t the only thing you need to worry about, though – diving performance or security issues are all prevalent and should be dealt with at once. Developers electing to use Enterprise Backup tools cannot take care of these things and must use additional software to help them accomplish these tasks – you, however, can: dbWatch has many other database jobs available for you to use (as you could see, they range from availability to security to performance-advancing jobs.) If you want to explore them yourself while allowing dbWatch to decide what job you should use and what you should improve next, first observe the database jobs by clicking on the database instance and you will see all jobs that are available on the right-hand side:
Image 8 - database jobs
Then, head over to management, and choose the database job by glancing at the parameters:
Image 9 – dbWatch Management Overview
To quickly understand what’s happening on this screen, you need advanced DBA knowledge, though, so let us help you out a little:
- - If you see that you have an abnormal amount of running sessions, consider gaining an overview into them and blocking some of them off via dbWatch.
- - If your jobs suggest that something might be off with your database performance, head off to the Performance section on the left-hand side and tune parameters there.
- - If you’re concerned about your database security and especially if dbWatch has advised you to take some action in the past, click on the Security option on the left-hand side – this option allows you to fiddle with users, see when was the last time they’d changed their passwords, etc.:
- If you are observing the list of databases running in your database node and see that some of them might not be necessary for your operations, drop, detach them or take them offline:
That’s the nice thing about database management solutions – they do not only take care of your backups, but allow you to nurture your databases in other ways as well. The combination of improved performance, security, availability, and proper backups of your databases will make sure your databases always perform at the very best of their capacity – and if they’re performing well, all of your clients will be happy as well!
dbWatch Control Center offers support for all of the most popular database management platforms including MySQL, PostgreSQL, Oracle, Sybase, and SQL Server, and it costs a fraction of what Enterprise solutions do – so why not give it a try today, especially with a free 30-day trial? Grab your free trial today – if you come across any issues, make sure to glance into the support options available for you to use, and if you like the tool, give us a shout on Twitter to tell about your experience!
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About the Author:
Lukas Vileikis is an ethical hacker and a frequent conference speaker.
Since 2014, Lukas has found and responsibly disclosed security flaws in some of the most visited websites in Lithuania.
He runs one of the biggest & fastest data breach search engines in the world - BreachDirectory.com, frequently speaks at conferences and blogs in multiple places including his blog over at lukasvileikis.com.