What follows is a list of new and improved features in the LiteSpeed 7.1 release due out on March 5, 2013. I'll create more in-depth posts on some of the newer features in coming weeks. 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 quest.com if forums are not your thing.
If you’ve ever wanted an easy way to keep a non-prod environment refreshed with a production database or wanted to be able to easily test restores of a database just to make sure they work, we think you'll really like LiteSpeed’s new Automated Restore feature.
Traditionally, restoring a database using LiteSpeed is an easy task. LiteSpeed automatically pieces together full, differential, and transaction log files to streamline the restore process for you. No need to know the file names in advance as LiteSpeed uses the local catalog when restoring to the same instance and will leverage its IntelliRestore feature when restoring backup files to a secondary instance. But if you wanted to script this process to run on a recurring schedule, then you really need to know in advance the names of the backup files. And herein lies the problem: Backup file names tend to change with each backup and this makes scripting recurring restores difficult to accomplish without a lot of custom code.
Using LiteSpeed’s new Automated Restore feature, DBAs no longer have to know the actual backup file names in order to restore. Simply provide LiteSpeed the name of the original instance and database you want to restore, a set of folders where the backups reside, and whether you want to restore the most recent Full, Full + Diff, or Full + Diff + T-Logs, and LiteSpeed automatically finds the correct files, pieces them together for you, and performs the restore. You can optionally relocate the data and log files to a custom path on the new instance. This new feature also supports our Restore as Compressed option for those times where you want to use less disk space and only require read-only access to the database.
For those times when you only want to test a restore, you can have LiteSpeed automatically drop the database when the restore is complete (on success/failure/both). The LiteSpeed repository shows the restore and its success/failure, and you now have an automated way to test and track restores.
Using this new feature makes refreshing your environment and testing restores a simple matter. The feature can be scripted directly from the Backup Wizard by selecting the new Automated Restore option or you can use the new xp_restore_automated extended stored procedure to manually script restores.
Restore as Compressed Improvements
We've enhanced our Restore as Compressed support in LiteSpeed 7.1 by fully integrating the feature into the LiteSpeed console and engine. As you may recall, LiteSpeed 7.0 introduced the Restore as Compressed option which allows DBAs to restore a large database to an environment while using substantially less disk space (80% reduction is common). Leveraging Microsoft-supported NTFS Compression to compress the data and log files, LiteSpeed provides read-only access to your databases while using far less disk space. This is great when you need to reference a production database in a non-production environment and don't need to change the data or when you have an historical database that is no longer used for writing.
LiteSpeed now provides full Restore Wizard support and automatically creates the compressed folders for you or leverages existing compressed folders. Restore as Compressed is also supported by the new Automated Restore feature.
Automatic Directory Creation for Restores
When restoring, you can type in a new path for the data and log files and LiteSpeed will automatically create the directory for you at restore time, saving you the trouble of having to have those directories created in advance. This new feature supports static folder names (our dynamic % variables are not yet supported for restore)
Object-Level Recovery (OLR) Scripting Enhancements
LiteSpeed has always provided a sophisticated user-interface for Object-Level Recovery that facilitates reviewing objects in backups, and restoring data or schema. But for customers who would prefer to use their favorite query tool like Management Studio or Toad for SQL Server, we've made substantial improvements to the OLR API that makes returning data and schema in those products a simple matter.
When you want to review data, simply run xp_objectrecovery or xp_objectrecovery_executeselect without the destination table name and the data appears right in the Results pane in SSMS. If you need schema, run xp_objectrecovery_createscript without the destination file name and the results appear right in the Messages pane.
Object-Level Recovery (OLR) and Transaction Log Reader – Improved Data Type Support
We always look to improve data type support with OLR and the T-Log Reader. Here are the enhancements to LiteSpeed 7.1:
· COLUMNSTORE Index
· Improved XML support
· GEOMETRY, GEOGRAPHY, and Spatial Indexes
· CREATE DATABASE script
· Partition Functions, Partition Schemes, and PARTITION tables
· Database Triggers
· Extended Properties
· TOP support for EXECUTE SELECT
· OFFSET support for EXECUTE SELECT (allows the return of a range of rows)
· Return all table DDL with @type = 'Table', @includetableobjects='all‘ parameters
Transaction Log Reader
· FILESTREAM (DDL only)
· COLUMNSTORE indexes
· Spatial Indexes
Re-Execute Failed Backups
LiteSpeed tracks backup failures, but if a failed backup needs to be re-executed by the DBA, this can be a time consuming task. If you're lucky, the backup ran from a job that only backs up the database in question. In that case, all the DBA needs to do is locate the correct job and re-execute from the Job Manager. But more often than not, backups run from SQL Agent jobs or maintenance plans that operate on more than one database and re-executing those jobs is not a good option as you'll end up backing up a whole set of databases again. In those cases, the only thing a DBA can do is track down the job or maintenance plan, look at the backup parameters and re-write and backup command manually.
Instead, DBAs can now quickly re-execute a failed backup right from the LiteSpeed console without having to find the backup statement in the job that originally executed it. Simply highlight the failed backup in the LiteSpeed Activity tab when an instance or database is selected in Backup Manager (group level selection is not yet supported), select the Re-execute Backup option, and LiteSpeed automatically reconstructs the correct backup statement, presents it to you, shows the previous backup error that occurred, and allows you to easily re-execute the backup.
SmartCleanup for TSM
For our TSM customers, file retention can now be managed by LiteSpeed using our SmartCleanup technology. Simply provide the retention for the Full/Diff backups and for T-Logs and LiteSpeed can now automatically remove these backups from within TSM.
Windows 8, Windows Server 2012, and Installation Improvements
We've made substantial performance improvements to the remote installer, big improvements that simplify installation for SQL Server 2012, and now fully support Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012.
@FileName Parameter in xp_backup_database Now Returns Actual Backup File Name
If you use our dynamic % variables for your backup file names and also write your own scripts, you can now easily see the file name that LiteSpeed created by leveraging the @filename parameter which we have improved with OUTPUT support. Simply pass in a variable rather than a literal, add the OUTPUT option on the parameter, and you'll get back the actual file name created. You can then use the name elsewhere in your script.
I'll plan to blog more about many of these new features in the coming weeks.
That’s all for now. Let us know what you think.