Four of a Kind - Backup Software Shootout

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  • I am interested to know which software does a better job offering enterprise like functionality. In particular do any of the tools offer an interface for SQL Log Shipping.

  • MiniSQLBackup does not offer an 'interface' for log shipping, but does implement a log shipping functionality that we hope makes the task easier.  Basically, you can throw a bunch of log backups at MiniSQLBackup and let it sort out the order in which to restore the log files e.g.

    RESTORE LOG pubs FROM DISK = 'F:\Backups\pubs_*log*.bak'

    MiniSQLBackup will then pick up all files matching the pattern pubs_*log*.bak in the F:\Backups folder, sort them in the correct order, and restore them individually in turn.  Saves a lot of time and hassle when you have a lot of transaction logs to restore.

    For more information, see  The log shipping process explained there does not require linked servers to be set up, and can be used on any version of SQL Server 2000.

    SQL BAK Explorer - read SQL Server backup file details without SQL Server.
    Supports backup files created with SQL Server 2005 up to SQL Server 2017.

  • SQL Litespeed offers scripts for log shipping as well. I'll check with Idera about SQL Safe.


  • Very impressed with this test. Thanks, Wes.

    I am in the market for one of these products and was liking the results of MiniSQLBackup shown in your test. I am, however, confused as to why it took 500% longer to backup with MiniSQLBackup compared to the standard SQL Server backup. Isn't one of the features of this product it's ability to produce quicker backups than the standard SQL backup, in addition to compression?

  • To be honest with you I'm not sure. Peter Yeoh may be able to answer that one? It may be the compression methods used.

  • Part 2 coming Thursday, so keep an eye out for that. Thanks for Wes for this comparison.

  • It appears that MiniSQLBackup (MSB) is spending a lot more time on the compression phase compared to writing the backups out to disk.  The I/O counters are extremely low in this case.

    As Wes suggested, it is due to the compression method used.  MSB offers 2 distinct compression methods, where one is typically slower but compresses better compared to the other.  However, there are exceptions where the reverse holds true.

    This may have been one such exception, where using the 'slower' method may have been faster.  The 'forced' randomness of the data may have been a factor here.

    If you wait for part 2 of the shootout, you would see more comparable results.  This is because the database used is a CRM database containing real-world data.

    SQL BAK Explorer - read SQL Server backup file details without SQL Server.
    Supports backup files created with SQL Server 2005 up to SQL Server 2017.

  • They do but it is not very robust and i would not consider it an enterprise solution. It would also be nice if it was integrated into the gui.

  • Your tests need to be of much larger databases (20GIG +).  That is where you get the true value of the speed and compression.  We use LiteSpeed and we are seeing both a reduction in time and size by a factor of 5 for our 80 and 120 GIG databases.

  • Part two uses a 50 gig CRM database on a 6 way box with 8 gig of ram attached to a SAN. That is due out in a couple of days.


  • Don't forget mentioning there are other options.

    We use SQL Zip, as SQL Lite speed had issues with Named Instances.  I belive this has been corrected, but dealing with the tecnical support staff was extremely painful.

    Based on our tests SQL Zip ( ), performed just as well, and only cost 500.00 per server.

    Also support from SQL Lite speed was difficult, and there were issues with the documentation not matching the product features.

    SQL Lite Speed has lots of advertising flash and industry support from magazines and such, but didn't deliver the goods based on the price.


  • I was not aware of SQL Zip at the time of this article or I would have included it for sure. I have used SQL LiteSpeed in our sql farm for quite a while and never had an issue with named instances at all. I don't have my two proc machine setup to rerun the test but my 6-way server is still loaded If I get some free time I'll run the same test with SQL Zip and post it here.


  • I'd like to see a feature\price comparison matrix.  Speed and compression are not as important to me since backups are done off hours and disk space is cheap.  The native backup that comes with SQL Server meets all my needs except the ability to restore selected tables.  I hate having to restore a whole 100 gig database just to get a 1 meg table.  I wonder what other features could be useful.

  • Not all products offer a public listing of prices. I agree a matrix of features would have been nice, there is always next time . The only product tested to do table level restores was SQL LiteSpeed the time this article was written.


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