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Litespeed for SQL Server

By Dale Elizabeth Corey,

Review of LiteSpeed 2005
by Dale Corey, 04/12/05

Introduction

Are you looking for a SQL Server backup tool that will provide you with fast backups and recovery, integrated compression, and encryption?  LiteSpeed 2005 provides all that and then some.  Here's some key points:

  • New console and enterprise view.

  • LiteSpeed 2005 provides faster performance because backups are multi-threaded into a single file.  In fact, in January 2005, LiteSpeed announced that it could back up two terabytes of data in less that one hour.

  • LiteSpeed 2005 claims that your backup sizes can be reduced by up to 95% via data compression.  With data compression, return on investment figures of $200 to $300 dollars per gigabyte saved is not uncommon.  LiteSpeed 2005 contains multi compression libraries.  Compression levels can be user definable.

  • Encryption, a feature not commonly found in similar products, is especially nice with LiteSpeed 2005.  The encryption feature (up to 168-bit) will put you right on track with new regulatory standards such as HIPAA, Sarbanes-Oxley, and the UK Data Protection.  LiteSpeed 2005 provides multiple encryption libraries.  Encryption methods include RC2 (40-bit, 56 bit, 112 bit, 128 bit ), RC4 (128-bit), or 3DES (168 Bit).

  • LiteSpeed 2005 provides object level recovery to a CSV file or to a new table using DTS (this includes standard Microsoft backups).  

  • LiteSpeed 2005 provides a fully documented extended stored procedure library (replaces the backup and restore syntax in your SQL statements).

  • LiteSpeed 2005 can be made to interface with Tivoli Storage Manager (TSM) through the TSM API.

  • LiteSpeed 2005 is fully programmable and scriptable with TSQL, command line interfaces.

  • LiteSpeed 2005 allows you to use UNC paths.

  • LiteSpeed 2005 works well in a clustered environment.

With native SQL Server backup, you cannot restore a partially corrupted backup file.  However, LiteSpeed 2005 can recover data from a corrupt SQL Server backup file. It can also extract individual tables from a full backup file (including damaged backup files).   With LiteSpeed 2005, even if you use compression and the backup file becomes corrupt, LiteSpeed 2005 compresses the data in small discreet blocks so the whole file is not needed to perform decompression. You would still have a high probability of recovery unless you have problems with your disk drive involving corrupted blocks.  

LiteSpeed 2005 claims the following  customer results (on a 1TB SQL Server database):

  With Native Backup With LiteSpeed
Backup Size 800 GB 125 GB
Backup Time 6 hours 2 hours
Restore Time 11 hours 5.5 hours

Note:  Feature availability is controlled by the license type.

Environment

LiteSpeed 2005 requires the following operating systems and database servers:

 
Minimum Requirement
Operating System Windows 2003 (All Service Packs)
Windows 2000 (Service Pack 4)
Windows XP (Service Pack 1)
Database Server SQL Server 2000 (Service Pack 3a)
SQL Server 2000 64-bit (Service Pack 3a)
SQL Server 7.0 (Service Pack 4)
SQL Server 2005 "Yukon" (Beta 2 or Higher)

Installation

Installation of LiteSpeed 2005 is extremely easy and consists of the usual:  installation notes, license agreement, customer information, destination folder, and complete or custom setup.  You will also install extended stored procedures (these can be uninstalled later), and if wanted, activity logging (local and/or central repository).  After that, you will be asked to register your product via an activation key.

Using LiteSpeed 2005

Backup/Restore Options

LiteSpeed 2005 installs the following options on your Program menu:

The standard configuration for LiteSpeed 2005 comes with an MMC snap-in and a number of ‘assistants’ can guide you through backup and restore processes:

If you are a command line fanatic, you can restore and backup a database from the command line (see backup example below):

C:\>sqllitespeed -Bdatabase -T -DNorthwind -Ff:\temp\northwind.bak)

If you are a scripting fanatic, you can backup and restore with LiteSpeed 2005 scripting commands (see backup script below):

EXEC master.dbo.xp_backup_database @database='Northwind'
  , @filename='F:\MSSQL\Backup\Northwind_Backup.BAK'
  , @init=1
  , @encryptionkey='Password'

LiteSpeed 2005 provides you with several extended stored procedures for scripting.  You can execute these procedures in Query Analyzer or other SQL scripting tools (e.g., Imceda's SQL IDE or SQL IDE Pro).

Activity Logging

Activity logging (set up during installation - see Installation section) allows you to collect and retain statistics on backups through local repositories or consolidated into a central repository.  Activity reports are available.

Native Command Substitution

Native Command Substitution (NCS) allows you to convert all your native backup and restore commands to the LiteSpeed 2005 equivalent.  Numerous Query Analyzer templates are available.  For example, the native SQL command to backup the Northwind database would be:

BACKUP DATABASE Northwind

In LiteSpeed 2005, that translates to:

EXEC master.dbo.xp_backup_database @database='Northwind'

Enterprise Console

The Enterprise Console is a GUI that will allow you to manage your LiteSpeed 2005 functions.  It provides you with a speed bar (common buttons), task pad (left hand panels - see below), tree (with colour coding), options (total cost of ownership/cost per gigabyte , refresh timer, and database status indicators), server groups (which can be added), server management (you can register servers), status reports (failed, completed, in progress, etc.), specified backup directories, backup/restore wizards and dialog, database maintenance, job views per server instance, server monitoring (processes and process information), and bug reporting and submitting.   I was totally thrilled the first time I ran the backup wizard for the Northwind database and my backup was complete in 3.768 seconds.  Can you believe that?

Note:  The example above is with statistics disabled.  If my statistics had been enabled, the statistics would look something like the Imceda example below:

Options

You can set up default options by clicking on View/Options on the menu.

Backup/Restore Examples

I ran through a number of regular backups/restores (immediate and scheduled), wizards, command line examples, and scripts.  All of which, were a breeze.

Context Menus

The quickest way to backup or restore a database is by right clicking on the database and invoking the context menu.

Maintenance Plans

You can also set up Maintenance Plans easily:

Backup with Encryption

1.  Set up the database, backup, destination, and overwrite.

2.  Set up the schedule.

3.  Set up the encryption options.

4.  Set up the backup options.

You're done!

Object Level Recovery

  1. To perform an object level recovery, just click on the Object Level Recovery button on the Speed Bar:

2.  Choose your backup file to restore:

3.  View the contents and choose the table:

4.  Choose the recovery option (CSV or new table using DTS), click Next, and then confirm your choice:

5.  Start the recovery or view the script, click Next, and then view the final results:

You're done!

Support

Imceda offers the following support options:

They also offer Live Chat by LivePerson which I accessed once and received a reply from "Walter" within 20 seconds.  No kidding!

Conclusions

It is a true pleasure to be able to review a product as great as LiteSpeed 2005.  Imceda truly is a leader in the market with this product and LiteSpeed 2005 is a superior competitor for similar products from Ultrabac, SQL Safe, SQL Standard, and SQL Backup.  I could not believe the speed of the backups.  If you have the mother load of databases and need a quick and reliable backup, LiteSpeed 2005 is the way to go.  Even if your databases are not huge, just the TCO and ROI alone on this product makes it worth it.

There is only one downside to LiteSpeed 2005, Imceda is not too open about pricing.  You will have to contact them directly (see last section on Product Information).

Ratings

I will rate each of the following using a scale from 1 to 5. 5 being the best and 1 being the worst. Comments are in the last column.

Ease of Use 5 Too easy!  :-)
Feature Set 5 Perfect!
Value 4.5 $595 for single processor, $1195 for dual processor.  Other competitor products are cheaper.
Technical Support 5 The Live Chat response did it for me!
Lack of Bugs 5 None found.
Documentation 5 Nothing lacking.
Performance 5 Are you kidding?  It screams!
Installation 5 Very easy.  Little bumpy with setting up the repositories.
Learning Curve 5 Very easy.
Overall 5  

Product Information

Web Site: Litespeed for SQL Server

Developer: Imceda Software, Inc.
Pricing (please contact one of the following):

United States
Worldwide Headquarters
15 3rd Avenue
Burlington, MA 01803
Telephone: (781) 229-6300
Toll Free: (888) 763-7685
Facsimile: (781) 229-6302
Email: info@imceda.com  

United Kingdom
Europe, Middle East, and Africa Headquarters
Unit 5, Commerce Industrial Estate
Brunel Road, Theale, Reading RG7 4AD
Telephone: +44 (0) 118 903 2400
Facsimile: +44 (0) 118 903 2401
Email: EuroSales@imceda.com

Australia
Asia Pacific Headquarters
Level 8 620 Bourke Street
Melbourne, Victoria 3000
Telephone: +61 (0) 3 9640 0992
Facsimile: +61 (0) 3 9640 0224
Email: apacsales@imceda.com

Total article views: 21428 | Views in the last 30 days: 18
 
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