Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Part II: What You Need to Know About Backing Up Your Data

What should I keep in mind when creating a Database Maintenance Plan?
  1. The SQL Server Agent service must be running on the server in order to run the jobs created by a Database Maintenance Plan. You can check the SQL Server Agent service at: Start > Control Panel > Administrative Tools > Services

  2. For SQL Server 2005, the Database Options must be set to Full Recovery for SQL Server 2000 databases. In SQL Server Management Studio: Expand Databases > Right click your database > Properties > Options > Recovery: Model needs to be Full

  3. Be sure you have enough drive space to store the number of backups you decide to create. You can set the drive location on the server for the database backups. The Database Maintenance Plan will manage the removal of old backups per your instructions.
What should I do if a transaction log grows unexpectedly or becomes full? Since transaction logs that do not successfully backup can grow very large, you should reviewing your SQL Logs and Windows Event Log for backup failures regularly. See this Microsoft article on potential causes of large transaction logs.

What else do I need to know about data storage? Selecting a length of time to keep the database backups is necessary. Keep in mind the available hard disk space that will be required to store weeks of database backups could be more than what is available. You should store database backup files for at least 1 week on the physical hard disk. It is recommended to also store backups in another device, such as tape backup. Tape backups allow for a longer retention of the database backup files. See Part I for more.

Find online help files that provide greater detail than this by going to:
Start > Programs > Microsoft SQL Server > Books Online

- Nannette Dame, Senior Consultant

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Microsoft's Commitment to Dynamics SL

Recently, Kirill Tatarinov, a Microsoft Corporate Vice President, voiced Microsoft's commitment to Dynamics SL. He stressed serving SL customers' business needs and requirements through continuous delivery of innovative enhancements and functionality for Dynamics SL. "Your investment in Dynamics SL is secure."

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Part I: What You Need to Know About Backing Up Your Data

Why should I create a database maintenance plan for my Microsoft Dynamics SL databases? Your data is mission critical and you need to protect it for your own peace of mind, if nothing else. If you ever lose data due to drive failure, backing up your database and transaction log gives you the ability to restore everything to a point in time.

What’s the best way for me to do backups? Use a SQL Server backup utility to back up your live databases (.mdf and .ldf). Restoring from these is quick and easy. If you back up to tape, it requires a special SQL Server agent for the backup software and restoring these is often difficult and time consuming. Actually, we recommend you do both with the former being your primary backup strategy.

How should I schedule backups? Always schedule a full backup of your Microsoft Dynamics SL database each work night after most business has been completed. Schedule transaction log backups at a maximum of every four hours. The shorter the time in between transaction log backups, the shorter the recovery time if data is lost. Keep in mind that selecting options like “Reorganize Data” and “Index Pages” will increase the size of the transaction log.

Find online help files regarding backups that provide greater detail than this by going to: Start > Programs > Microsoft SQL Server > Books Online - See Part II.

- Nannette Dame, Senior Consultant