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Community Blog How to Backup and Recover Your SQL Database

How to Backup and Recover Your SQL Database

Data reliability is crucial for business, and here we will discuss how to backup and recover your data in SQL Server.

There are three database recovery models in SQL Server.

Simple Recovery Model

In the Simple recovery model, database transaction logs are cleared along with the Checkpoint or Backup operation to minimize transaction logs.

All committed transactions are cleared upon completion of the Checkpoint or Backup operation, with only a few logs kept, necessary for recovery when an instance restarts. This model can minimize database transaction logs and storage usage, reduce storage overhead, and eliminate the need for special DBAs to maintain and back up database logs.

And you can set up the simple model in two methods:

  1. SSMS IDE: Right-click on the name of the target database to change the recovery model, and then choose Properties > Options > Simple (in the "Recovery model" box on the right) > OK.
  2. A statement: If you think that using SSMS IDE is too complex, you can use the ALTER DATABASE statement to change the recovery model of a database to Simple. The following statement changes the recovery model of the AdventureWorks2008R2 database to Simple.

Full Recovery Model

The Full model in SQL Server is quite the opposite of the Simple recovery model. This section shows the following four aspects about the Full model: working principles, application scenarios, setting, and example scenarios.

In contrast to Simple, we can consider the Full model as "Checkpoint without truncate log," that is, the SQL Server database engine does not truncate transaction logs. Therefore, compared with databases using the Simple model, databases using the Full model have transaction log files that increase faster and are much larger. These database log files contain all recently committed transactions until a transaction log backup occurs and finishes successfully.

You can set up full model in two methods:

  1. SSMS IDE: The steps are the same as the first method for setting up the Simple model.
  2. ALTER DATABASE statement:
USE [master]
GO
ALTER DATABASE [AdventureWorks2008R2] SET RECOVERY FULL WITH NO_WAIT
GO

Bulk-Logged Recovery Model

As a mix of the Simple and Full recovery models, the Bulk-logged model adapts and improves the Bulk Imports operation under the Full model.

In a SQL Server database system, a method called Bulk Imports is available for quickly importing data, such as BCP, Bulk INSERT, and INSERT INTO... SELECT. If these Bulk operations are performed in a database under the Full model, massive amounts of log information are generated, significantly influencing SQL Server performance. The Bulk-logged model is designed to solve this problem. When a Bulk Imports operation is performed in a database running under the Bulk-logged model, very few logs are recorded to prevent the sharp increase in transaction logs and guarantee stable and efficient SQL Server performance. Simply, when no Bulk Imports operations are performed, the Bulk-logged model is equivalent to the Full model; when a Bulk Imports operation is performed, it is equivalent to the Simple model. Therefore, databases using the Bulk-logged model cannot implement point-in-time recovery. This is also a disadvantage in the Simple model.

You can set up the bulk-logged model in two methods:

  1. SSMS IDE: The steps are the same as the first method for setting up the Simple model.
  2. ALTER DATABASE statement:
USE [master]
GO
ALTER DATABASE [AdventureWorks2008R2] SET RECOVERY Bulk_LOGGED WITH NO_WAIT
GO

For detailed application scenarios and typical example application scenarios for the three recovery models in SQL Server, please see SQL Server Best Practices: Database Recovery Models and Backups.

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