Understanding SQL Server Copy Only Backup

Hello Devs! In this article, we will delve into SQL Server Copy Only Backup in detail. We will explore the reasons why it is used, how it differs from regular backups, and best practices to follow when using them. Let’s dive right in!

What is SQL Server Copy Only Backup?

SQL Server Copy Only Backup is a special backup option that allows you to create a backup of your database without affecting the overall backup and restore procedures. It creates a standalone backup that does not disturb the backup sequence or affect the backup history. This type of backup is useful when you need to take a backup of a database that is already being backed up regularly, for instance, for development or testing purposes.

The Copy Only Backup option creates a backup of the database without affecting the regular backup chain. It takes a snapshot of the database at the point in time when you run the backup job, regardless of any other backups that may have taken place before or after.

Why use SQL Server Copy Only Backup?

There are several reasons why you might want to use SQL Server Copy Only Backup:

Reason
Description
Development and Testing
Copy Only Backup is ideal for creating ad hoc backups, for instance during development or testing.
Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS)
Copy Only Backup can be used to create a backup of a SQL Server database when the Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) is used to back up other parts of the same server.
High Availability Environments
Copy Only Backup is useful in high availability environments, where databases are replicated to other servers, to create an additional backup of the database on the primary server without affecting the log shipping or the replication.
Backup Verification
Copy Only Backup is useful for verifying the integrity of backups and ensuring that all critical data is included.

How is SQL Server Copy Only Backup different from regular backups?

SQL Server Copy Only Backup is different from regular backups in a few ways:

1. It does not affect the overall backup and restore procedures: Copy Only Backup is a standalone backup that can be taken at any time, without disturbing the overall backup sequence.

2. It does not impact the backup history: Since Copy Only Backup is a standalone backup option, it does not affect the backup history or backup chain. It is not included in the regular backup sequence for the database.

3. It does not truncate transaction logs: Copy Only Backup does not truncate the transaction logs. As such, if you perform a transaction log backup after a Copy Only Backup, you may end up with a larger transaction log backup file.

Best Practices for using SQL Server Copy Only Backup

When using Copy Only Backup, it is important to follow certain best practices to ensure that the backup works correctly and that you do not encounter any issues:

1. Do not use Copy Only Backup as the primary form of database backups: Copy Only Backup should only be used for specific purposes and should not be relied on as the primary form of database backups.

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2. Do not rely on Copy Only Backup as a disaster recovery option: Copy Only Backup should not be relied on as the primary disaster recovery option for your databases. Regular backups, including full, differential and transaction log backups, should be used for this purpose.

3. Use Copy Only Backup sparingly: Copy Only Backup should be used sparingly and only when absolutely necessary. Overuse can lead to inconsistencies in the backup history and result in incorrect backups.

4. Perform regular health checks: Regular health checks should be performed to ensure that all backups, including Copy Only Backup, are valid and can be used for restore operations when needed.

FAQs

1. Can I use Copy Only Backup with all SQL Server versions?

Yes, Copy Only Backup can be used with all SQL Server versions, including SQL Server 2005 and above.

2. Can I use Copy Only Backup to restore my database?

Yes, you can use Copy Only Backup to restore your database, but only if you perform a full backup first. Copy Only Backup cannot be used as a standalone restore option.

3. Can I schedule Copy Only Backup jobs?

Yes, you can schedule Copy Only Backup jobs using the same process used to schedule regular backups. However, it is important to remember that Copy Only Backup should be used sparingly and only when necessary.

4. How do I create a Copy Only Backup?

You can create a Copy Only Backup in SQL Server using the T-SQL script or the SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) interface. Here is an example T-SQL script:

BACKUP DATABASE [YourDatabaseName]TO DISK = 'C:\MSSQL\BACKUP\COPY_ONLY\YourDatabaseName_CopyOnly.bak'WITH COPY_ONLY,NOFORMAT, NOINIT,NAME = 'YourDatabaseName_CopyOnly',SKIP, STATS = 10;

Alternatively, you can use the SQL Server Management Studio interface by right-clicking on the database, selecting “Tasks” and then selecting “Back Up…”. In the Backup Database dialog box, select the “Copy-only backup” option.

5. Can I use Copy Only Backup with database mirroring?

Yes, you can use Copy Only Backup with database mirroring. However, it is important to ensure that the backup is consistent and that all mirrored databases are in the same state before using Copy Only Backup.

Conclusion

SQL Server Copy Only Backup is a useful backup option that can be used for specific purposes, such as development and testing, backup verification, and replicating databases to other servers. However, it should not be relied on as the primary form of database backups or disaster recovery option. By following best practices and performing regular health checks, you can ensure that your backups, including Copy Only Backup, are valid and can be used when needed.