A cloud based, software provider in the health care industry came to us recently with an interesting challenge. The contract that this company signed with their clients, required them to provide on demand data access to each client whenever the client needed it. As the software providers application ran outside of their clients data center, this provided a handful of challenges:
- Given that the customer stores health care related data, HIPAA policies around data security and access needed to be applied.
- Different tiers of clients, had differing SLA's associated with them, specific to how "recent" the data needed to be. For certain clients, daily snapshots of data would be sufficient, for others, data needed to be as recent as 5 minutes.
- Some of this customers clients relied on their own, "on prem" data center, where others managed most of their infrastructure in the cloud. Data needed to be accessible to both types of clients.
- This customer has been in business for a while now, and data volumes were beginning to get difficult to manage. Databases that used to be in the ten's of gigabytes, were now starting to approach the hundred of gigabyte range, and beyond. Efficiency of data transfer was becoming cumbersome.
This customers existing process involved taking native SQL Server backups, using manually scripted backup jobs, each of which needed to be customized based on the customers tier, and SLA requirements. Once the backups were complete, a separate third party utility was used to encrypt the backup data. Once encrypted, this file was copied to an accessible location, frequently via FTP. Lastly, the customers (some of which were non-DBA's, unfamiliar with the SQL Server restore process) were provided with a custom developed script that would perform the restore for them.
LiteSpeed for SQL Server offered the following capabilities to the customer, which would serve to dramatically streamline this process.
- LiteSpeed for SQL Server's Backup Templates offered the customer the ability to create templates based on the "tier" of customer (Platimum, Gold, Silver, and Bronze). These templates contained the logic needed to backup that customers data, with the necessary RPO's as defined by their service level agreements, and could then be centrally applied to those systems.
- LiteSpeed for SQL Server offers the ability to backup directly to, and restore directly from Cloud Hosted Storage. This includes Amazon S3 storage, which the customer may leverage to replace their FTP process.
- LiteSpeed for SQL Server offers Compression that can be scaled up or down to maximize efficiency. Given that this customers backup files are being transmitted over the WAN, and perhaps through the cloud, maximizing storage savings was critical. Using LiteSpeed's higher levels of compression (level 7 and 8) can achieve compression savings as much as 50% higher than native SQL Server's built in compression.
- LiteSpeed for SQL Server offers integrated Encryption. After the data is compressed, it is the encrypted in line, offering the security the customer required on their backup data, without any additional steps in their backup and recovery process, and with negligible overhead on performance.
- Finally, LiteSpeed for SQL Server's Double Click Restore feature made it easy for their customers to recovery backup data, without having to have SQL Server specific knowledge around recovery. These customers were able to simply double click on the backup file, and be prompted through the recovery process, or the customer could provide a simple command line script to handle the recovery for them. This recovery was available even to systems where LiteSpeed for SQL Server was not installed, nor was it licensed.
If you share any of these challenges around maximizing storage savings, speeding up backup and restore operations, centrally managing backup processing, or simplifying the process of recovering backups, I'd encourage you to take a look for yourself.
LiteSpeed for SQL Server is available for download, with a fully functional 14 day trial.
Also available on the mentioned product page, is a Top features list, for those that would like to learn more about LiteSpeed's capabilities before giving it a try on their own systems.