SQL Backup and FTP

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A simple way to backup your SQL databases and move them offsite.

SQL Server from Microsoft has a built-in backup utility however it doesn’t compress the backup nor let you move it to another machine. That’s where SQL Backup and FTP comes in, a nifty add-on for a reasonable price.

SQL Backup and FTP lets you schedule backups then compress them into a much smaller file with optional password protection.

Originally the program only let you FTP the backup to another server (hence the name) but that’s been expanded to use cloud services like Dropbox, Google Drive and Amazon S3 as well as network shares.

The Dropbox option is especially powerful. SQL Backup and FTP moves the backup to a Dropbox folder; that folder can be replicated to another computer using the standard Dropbox software. With little setup you can have SQLServer backups automatically saved on the Dropbox cloud and one or more other computers.

SQL Backup and FTP is ideal for SQL databases running on hosted machines away from the main IT servers.

There’s provision for scheduled full, differential and transaction log backups. All the backups are created by SQL Server itself so there should be no compatibility issues when restoring. Similarly the compression is standard ZIP or 7zip formats that can be unpacked easily.

The only problem we struck was the 7zip compression option. 7zip does seem to have memory allocation problems so we had to revert to the standard ZIP compression. That’s a shame because the 7zip option also lets you do other nifty things. There’s good logging so you can see what problems occurred with a full error message from SQL Server or compression.

We got a good tip from their support desk. SQL Backup and FTP can backup other, non-SQL, files too. “You can choose 7-zip archiver at “Advanced Settings” window and click at “Backup folders” link in the left-bottom corner of the main window to select folders which you’d like to backup.” Handy for backups of other files, like web server logs.

All up, it’s a very useful tool at reasonable prices compared to the high charges for many server utilities. The free version is limited to 2 databases while the Lite version is only $29. Even the highest priced option with lifetime updates is only $149.

That aside, I think they’ve done a great job with SQL Backup and FTP with good integration of existing features (SQL Server’s own backup, ZIP compression, cloud services) to make a single useful backup system.

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