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Review of SQLZip

By Andy Warren,

Recently I spent a few days working with a new product, SQLZip. In a nutshell it's an add in for SQL that let's you do compressed backups. Interesting? Drive space is cheap is these days, right? Well, if you're adding an IDE drive to your workstation it's cheap. Buy a good size SCSI drive and it's still more than lunch money. Sometimes it's not a matter of buying the drive, you have to buy another container to hold them!

It's a small download, less than 1 meg. The install is a little unusual, it creates a folder and puts files under Program Files but doesn't actually alter your SQL installation. Once you've got that done there is a batch file that runs a script using OSQL. I'd rather see this handled by the installation app itself but at least this way you get a chance to see what is going on. It creates on extended procedure and six support procedures. The documentation states it supports named instances but due to time constraints I did not test it. I had absolutely no problem following the installation instructions, no errors occurred. A good start!

Here is a sample backup and restore script (right from the docs):

execute sp_sqlzip_backup_mt @dbname='pubs' ,@reptfile='d:\mssql\backup\pubs.backup.4parts.report' ,@parts=4 ,@bkupfile1='d:\mssql\backup\pubs1.zbak' ,@bkupfile2='d:\mssql\backup\pubs2.zbak' ,@bkupfile3='d:\mssql\backup\pubs3.zbak' ,@bkupfile4='d:\mssql\backup\pubs4.zbak'

execute sp_sqlzip_restore_mt @dbname='pubs' ,@reptfile='d:\mssql\backup\pubs.restore.report' ,@parts=4 ,@bkupfile1='d:\mssql\backup\pubs1.zbak' ,@bkupfile2='d:\mssql\backup\pubs2.zbak' ,@bkupfile3='d:\mssql\backup\pubs3.zbak' ,@bkupfile4='d:\mssql\backup\pubs4.zbak'

Nervous about using a third party backup? This utility interacts with the SQL backup process and compresses the file on the fly as it writes the file to disk. I did a full native backup on my current Pubs database, ended up with about a 1 meg .bak file. I did the same backup with SQLZip, resulting file was just over 300k. As you can see in the sample code above it supports multi file backup and is multi processor aware. Another nice feature is an included script that will decompress the zbak (proprietary format) file to a standard SQL bak file. I also sent several emails to tech support with questions and got timely responses back.

Downside? In the current version you can do backup and restore using TSQL only, there is no COM or DMO interface and you can't use it from Enterprise Manager (though the native backup and restore continues to work).  That's really the only thing I can see, especially if you depend on maintenance plans for your backups.

Pricing starts at $500 for a single server, discounts for multiple licenses are available. I'm going to continue testing this for a while, but if it continues to perform well I think this will get added to my wish list! Give it a try, I think you'll find it to be useful.

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