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Virtual Databases for an Agile Archive

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When most customers install Delphix they typically add source databases by ingesting an up-to-date backup and then establishing a timeflow of continuous changes from there, however it is possible

When most customers install Delphix they typically add source databases by ingesting an up-to-date backup and then establishing a timeflow of continuous changes from there, however it is possible to ingest existing backups stretching back for as long as you require. Why would you want to ingest older backups you have already into Delphix? There are several challenges managing backup archives, one of the biggest being trying to use them.

  1. Unless you know the required date how do you know which backup to restore, assuming you are not simply restoring production from the latest backup?
  2. The time taken to restore involves copying the files and applying recovery, usually this takes a while and requires time from Database and maybe Storage Administrators.
  3. How can you be sure you can restore from a given backup unless the restore process has been tested.
  4. In many cases access to older backups is only required for reporting and compliance reasons.These are generally not heavy duty tasks so why restore an entire physical copy for a relatively lightweight use case?

Using Delphix as an Agile Archive

  1. The Delphix ingest process will implicitly test that your backups are valid.
  2. You can provision a Virtual Database (VDB) in minutes from any of your ingested backups.
  3. You could build a catalogue of contents of each backup by starting a VDB against the oldest version, querying the content and refreshing the VDB to the next version for each backup in turn.You could add this metadata to your version control system.
  4. You can publish those backups via self-service to anyone who may need to access, query or run a report against an archived backup.
  5. You could optionally delete your backups once copied into Delphix as Delphix will retain them for as long as required, store them much more economically, using block de-duplication and compression, and can protect them via replication, or backup.

The process to use Delphix for Agile Archiving is very straightforward. Using SQL Server as an example you would create a Delphix dSource specifying the initial load as a specific full backup, you would then enter the backup UUID of the oldest backup you want to ingest. For example:

virtual database screenshot 1

Then you can use the Delphix Command Line Interface (CLI) to ingest a set of backups in chronological sequence, starting from the oldest.  An example command would be:

virtual database screenshot 2

The UUIDs can refer to full or incremental backups which you query from SQL Server.  You can run several of these CLI commands from a single script and you will see in the Delphix UI a set of discrete timecards corresponding to each ingest.

virtual database screenshot 3

Once your ingest sequence has completed Delphix will automatically stay in synchronization with the source database when new backups, optionally including transaction log backups, are taken. A similar approach can be used with other database types.  For example for SAP ASE (Sybase) the CLI script to ingest a sequence of archived backups might look like:  

virtual database screenshot 4

In this example we disabled and enabled LogSync before and after the ingest sequence. Delphix Agile Archiving provides faster and more economical access to validated, archived backups and guarantees these can be accessed near instantly and on demand.