Backup SQL Database Federation

One of the amazing features of Windows Azure SQL Database is the ability to create federations in order to scale your cloud databases. However until now, there were very few options available to backup federated databases. In this post I will show you how Enzo Cloud Backup can help you backup, and restore your federated database easily. You can restore federated databases in SQL Database, or even on SQL Server (as regular databases).

Generally speaking, you will need to perform the following steps to backup and restore the federations of a SQL Database:

Backup the federation root
Backup the federation members
Restore the federation root
Restore the federation members

These actions can be automated using: the built-in scheduler of Enzo Cloud Backup, the command-line utilities, or the .NET Cloud Backup API provided, giving you complete control on how you want to perform your backup and restore operations.

Backing up federations

Let’s look at the tool to backup federations. You can explore your existing federations by using the Enzo Cloud Backup application as shown below. As you can see, the federation root and the various federations available are shown in separate tabs for convenience. You would first need to backup the federation root (unless you intend to restore the federation member on a local SQL Server database and you don’t need what’s in the federation root). The steps are similar than those to backup a federation member, so let’s proceed to backing up a federation member.

You can click on a specific federation member to view the database details by clicking at the tab that contains your federation member. You can see the size currently consumed and a summary of its content at the bottom of the screen.

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If you right-click on a specific range, you can choose to backup the federation member. This brings up a window with the details of the federation member already filled out for you, including the value of the member that is used to select the federation member. Notice that the list of Federations includes “Federation Root”, which is what you need to select to backup the federation root (you can also do that directly from the root database tab).  Once you provide at least one backup destination, you can begin the backup operation.  From this window, you can also schedule this operation as a job and perform this operation entirely in the cloud. You can also “filter” the connection, so that only the specific member value is backed up (this will backup all the global tables, and only the records for which the distribution value is the one specified). You can repeat this operation for every federation member in your federation.

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Restoring Federations

Once backed up, you can restore your federations easily. Select the backup device using the tool, then select Restore. The following window will appear. From here you can create a new root database. You can also view the backup properties, showing you exactly which federations will be created.

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Under the Federations tab, you can select how the federations will be created. I chose to recreate the federations and let the tool perform all the SPLIT operations necessary to recreate the same number of federation members. Other options include to create the first federation member only, or not to create the federation members at all.

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Once the root database has been restored and the federation members have been created, you can restore the federation members you previously backed up. The screen below shows you how to restore a backup of a federation member into a specific federation member (the details of the federation member are provided to make it easier to identify).

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Conclusion

This post gave you an overview on how to backup and restore federation roots and federation members. The backup operations can be setup once, then scheduled daily.

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