LiteSpeed for SQL Server v7.5 - What's New

What follows is a list of new and improved features in the LiteSpeed 7.5 release due out August 13, 2013. As always, if you have a request for a new feature or an enhancement to an existing one, please let us know in the Ideas section of the LiteSpeed Community site: https://www.quest.com/community/products or contact me directly at david dot gugick at software dot dell dot com if forums are not your thing.

Automated Restore with Database Consistency Checks (DBCC CHECKDB)

In LiteSpeed 7.1, we added the ability to easily schedule restores to keep secondary environments refreshed with production database backups and the ability to easily test restores of a database to make sure they work. In LiteSpeed 7.5, we expand Automated Restore to include an option to run a database consistency check on the newly restored database.

Checking production databases for consistency using SQL Server’s DBCC CHECKDB command is important. Unfortunately, many DBAs have databases that make it very difficult to run this command in production as frequently as needed. The Disk I/O and CPU requirements, as well as the execution duration of DBCC CHECKDB can make this a difficult task for DBAs to complete with the frequency they would like. At worst, CHECKDB is not running at all.

There is no substitute for running a CHECKDB on production, but a very close second is to run the command on a copy of a production database created from a full backup. Using LiteSpeed’s Automated Restore, DBAs can schedule a DBCC CHECKDB to run as a part of the automated process.

The feature includes a variety of CHECKDB options so DBAs can decide how comprehensive the checking should be. Results of the execution are stored in the LiteSpeed repository for easy review by the DBA.

We also added COPY ONLY support to Automated Restore. This new option tells LiteSpeed to consider COPY ONLY backups when searching folders for backup candidates for restore. Previously, COPY ONLY backups were ignore by Automated Restore.

Improved LiteSpeed Activity View

LiteSpeed 7.5 includes a new, comprehensive view of activity so DBAs can now see all relevant activity in a single view. No longer do DBAs need to switch between Backups, Verify, Restore, or the newly added Check Database views to see the related activity of that type. Now, all of those operations are available in a single view so DBAs can easily see everything that occurred within the selected time period.

Object-Level Recovery (OLR) Scripting Enhancements

LiteSpeed 7.5 introduces a few enhancements to the OLR facility.


When you query a backup from SSMS for schema via xp_objectrecovery_createscript , LiteSpeed now returns the results in a result set as well as in the Messages pane (which was added in LiteSpeed 7.1). This makes it easier to copy schema without unrelated message output. It can also make it easier to consume the data if you have a custom application that queries a LiteSpeed backup for schema.

OLR now includes the ability to recover table data without requiring temporary disk. This new feature is currently only available from the API when calling xp_objectrecovery to recover a table. In standard mode, OLR extract data from a backup to a temporary file and uses a BULK COPY operation to move the data to the database. If you're recovering a very large table (millions or tens of millions of rows), the temporary disk space required may be large. If you are limited on disk or your temporary disk is slow, you may find OLR performs this operation faster using the SQL Native Client mode via the @BackEnd='SQLNativeClient' parameter. Using this new mode, LiteSpeed takes data from a backup and inserts it directly into the destination database using SQL Server’s SQL Native Client BULK INSERT mode. You'll find this new feature fully exposed in the LiteSpeed console in the 8.0 release.

Other enhancements include:

LiteSpeed 7.5 now supports returning schema for XML Schema Collections via the xp_objectrecovery_createscript function using the @type=N'XmlSchemaCollection' parameter.

We also now support returning data from Indexed Views using the EXECUTE SELECT method via xp_objectrecovery_executeselect.

SmartCleanup Archive-Bit Support

SmartCleanup now integrates better with enterprise backup software by providing an option to check the archive-bit on backups before deletion. If you are using enterprise backup software to sweep up backups to tape (or copy them offsite) and you want to avoid deleting LiteSpeed backups from disk before they are backed up to tape, the archive-bit option will help.

This option instructs SmartCleanup to leave a backup on disk if it has not yet been backed up by a customer’s enterprise backup software – in this case the archive-bit will be enabled on the backup file telling LiteSpeed the file has not yet been swept to tape. Once a backup file is properly backed up using the enterprise backup software, the archive-bit is automatically turned off and LiteSpeed can properly delete the file the next time SmartCleanup executes.

 

Improved Multi-Database Backup Wizard

For those DBAs looking for improvements to the current Multi-Database Backup Wizard, we have answered your wishes. LiteSpeed 7.5 dropped the old Multi-Database Wizard, which was only good for producing a single static set of backup commands, and instead we have enhanced the current Backup Wizard and LiteSpeed API to support multiple databases.

Whether you use the LiteSpeed console or prefer to run your backups from hand-coded scripts via xp_backup_database, you can now easily tell LiteSpeed to back up a selection, all, system, or user databases in a single statement.

Simply use the new @MultiDatabaseType parameter and set it to N'ALL;SYSTEM;USER;SELECTED' and LiteSpeed automatically backs up all databases, system databases, or use databases. If you want to back up a custom selection of databases, use the SELECTED parameter value and multiple @database parameters to tell LiteSpeed which databases you need to back up.

Log Shipping Now Leverages ROBOCOPY

If you're on a server OS that includes Microsoft’s ROBOCOPY copy program, LiteSpeed Log Shipping uses it automatically to copy files. ROBOCOPY is a robust copy program with automatic retry and multi-threading built in. It can help copy operations over unstable LAN/WAN links from causing copy failure and can also speed up some copy operations through multi-threading.

Support for Dell DR4x00 Appliances

LiteSpeed 7.5 officially supports the Dell DR family of deduplication storage appliances. Those customers leveraging these appliances for backup storage can now use them officially with LiteSpeed via the DR CIFS interface. Simply have the DR administrator configure a CIFS share for the DBA team, and use that share name as the backup target in LiteSpeed. We recommend using LiteSpeed Compression Level 1 and Fast Compression when backing up to deduplication appliances for best possible backup and restore speed.

That’s all for now. Let us know what you think.

About the Author
David.Gugick
David Gugick manages the LiteSpeed for SQL Server and vRanger product lines for Dell. David brings more than 20 years of management and technical experience in product and portfolio management, application...