Now that our datawarehouse database is over 250GB, using the built-in SQL Server tools are not an option. I have experience with Veritas BackupExec and NetBackup, and here is my typical experience: backups are scheduled overnight and usually take the entire night. Restores are no faster.

Here’s a product that’s worth looking in to: Idera SQLSafe. This products creates compressed backup files on the local drives. They advertise up to 95% compression and they’re not joking. We were able to achieve 80% compression and the backup took a third the time. Our 270GB datawarehouse backs up to a 55GB file in 1:20.

We have yet to perform a mission-critical restore, but if they are as fast as the backups, then we’re talking about a pretty small outage for having to restore the entire database from scratch.

And the best part is that, at < $1K per instance list price, it's much cheaper than the so-called "enterprise" solutions.

[Update]: If the price is still too steep, there is a pretty well-enabled freeware option. I need to do some checking, but based on the feature list, I wonder if we aren’t using the freeware.

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