Okay, it seems like I am slamming EMC on their Data Domain Boost Agent since I began this blog.  Oh wait I started three days ago and am talking about something I just learned.

We were led by our noses to change from our old methods of backups (the other DBA and I were kicking and screaming horribly along the way).  I admit it we were bad.  Hey, change something that you have been using for 15 years (started with SQL 2000 remember).  Even backing up to tapes (yes, I was a backup administrator at one point) I always backed up to the bak file (or bck is what I started with) first and then backed them up to tape or external storage.  We knew the bak’s were always (well almost always) good.  I can rely on them.  Well now we are switching to the EMC Data Domain system.  It’s got a lot of neat bells and whistles that you can read about on their site, but the one thing we were sold on was the EMC Data Domain Boost Agent.  This tool was advertised to make our lives easier and faster.  They admitted straight out of the gate that their GUI tool for SMSS was lacking and that we would have to write scripts to restore database to other servers, so we were expecting that.

After figuring out how to write a script (yesterdays post) to make our life easier to use this tool with, I moved to our 2TB backup.  We were scared, especially after reading Denny Cherry’s written experience with a 6TB DB.

I began running the scripts and the first backup took 13 hours. OUCH!! But we had been forewarned that the first backup took longer than normal.  Okay I can live with that.
Day 2: 9 hours and 21 minutes…  Okay, must be settling in.
Day 3: 9 hours and 24 minutes…  Uhm, is this normal?
Day 4: 13 hours and 41 minutes…  Whoa, something has got to be wrong
Day 5: Squirrel!!!! Yes guilty of being sidetracked at this point with more pressing issues… 🙂

Day 20: 20 hours…  Our snap process (we use this on our replicated copy (this was our 2TB test server) to grab DEV environments) could not occur because of this.

Now the backups are creating an issue.  Now the emails really started to fly around that these backups were taking too long.  EMC worked with us but gave us a bad taste in our mouth on how we were to handle this.

“Install the Beta version of DDBA 2.0.”

“Wait you want us to install a Beta copy of a program we are having issues with!”

Doesn’t sound like the smartest thing to do, does it?  Well after some hemming and hawing (and more sidetracking) we finally sat down and got a copy of their 2.0 product.

Night and Day

Yep, in installing Version 2.0 Beta, I went from averaging 13 hours to 5 hours (just like we were before we switched to their tool in the first place)

Also, we could now successfully see our backups from the other servers that we couldn’t before.  This allows me to use their GUI to restore a backup from the SQL1 bucket in the Data Domain to the server SQL2.

Now if only they could fix that pesky UAC issue (you need to start SSMS in Admin mode in order to restore a database using their tool even if you are a Server Admin and DB System Admin).  But otherwise this is a 100% turn around and can’t wait till it is officially released at the end of the month.  🙂


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