Case Study: SQL Safe Backup

SQL Safe Backup Saves Sisters of Mercy Hospital System


Sisters of Mercy Hospital is one of the largest hospital organizations in the country, with 400 sites and clinics and over 40,000 employees. With over 400 SQL Server databases supporting more than 300 third-party applications, such as electronic drug prescriptions, doctor certifications and patient dietary plans, to name a few—backups were consuming storage space too quickly and storage costs were escalating. They needed a solution to compress backups that would also integrate with Tivoli Storage Manager(TSM).



IDERA’s SQL Safe Backup has helped Sisters of Mercy achieve 95% compression on log files, and between 55-75% on data files. This has resulted in an immediate ROI of tens of thousands of dollars. Plus, SQL Safe Backup easily integrated with Tivoli Storage Manager, saving even more on disk space. SQL Safe Backup’s ease of use, real-time reporting and fast, compressed backups have made it a real workhorse for Sisters of Mercy.

The Sisters of Mercy Hospital group was experiencing rapid growth, resulting in ever-increasing storage space requirements for backups. Scott Shaw, the Team Lead of the SQL Server database group, began looking for backup solutions with flexible compression options. He started by looking at solutions from Quest and Redgate, as well as from IDERA. They ultimately chose IDERA SQL Safe Backup because of the product’s ease of use, exceptional compression, quality technical support, and its integration with Tivoli Storage Manager.



With SQL Safe Backup, Sisters of Mercy achieved 95% compression on log files and between 55-75% on data files, depending on the speed of the backup they needed to fit within maintenance windows. “That was a real eye opener for upper management,” said Shaw. “They were very impressed.We saw an immediate ROI with SQL Safe Backup. It was a huge cost savings for the company. Looking at backups just from today, SQL Safe Backup showed a 79% savings in storage on a 10 TB database. Plus, the speed of recovery is so much faster than native tools.”



“SQL Safe Backup was so easy to install and manage,”Shaw noted“ and it was easy to customize to our particular maintenance plans. There was good documentation around the command line interfaces, especially the command line scripts for Tivoli integration.There is a very minor learning curve to the product.”



For Shaw’s team, the reporting that SQL Safe Backup provides is another key benefit. “We look at the success and failure reports,”he stated. “We are mostly concerned for a given time period which servers failed backups and which didn’t.” Shaw and his team also use the reports to see total space saved and compression percentages. “For me, it’s all about the central management and the reports you can get. It’s really just been a workhorse for us.”



IDERA's technical support also played a huge role in the decision making process. “IDERA has always been a pleasure with their support. They don’t just let things go, they follow up,” said Shaw. “They were responsive to calls and were receptive to our needs even after the tool was purchased. You get a feeling they really want to see things work for us.”



After a few years of using SQL Safe Backup, Shaw’s management asked him to transition to NetApp’s SnapManager solution due to their move to a predominately virtualized environment. During the evaluation period, his team found the NetApp tool more restrictive and difficult to use in comparison, and in the end, they decided to stay with SQL Safe Backup and have used it for almost five years.

SQL Safe Backup has been able to grow with us,” Shaw said, noting that they have increased their licenses from 100 to over 250 over the past five years.

SQL Safe Backup works as well in a virtual environment as it does in a physical environment,” said Shaw. Sisters of Mercy now has over 400 SQL Server databases, 97% of which are virtualized. “If you’re running SQL Safe Backup prior to virtualization, you can run it after. We are proof of that.”



Shaw’s team is now looking into IDERA’s SQL Compliance Manager to help with their auditing and compliance needs. Being a healthcare company, Mercy is audited all the time. Two of their servers are currently heavily audited for HIPAA compliance regulations, with more servers likely to be audited in the future. Their security team has an auditing tool but it only looks at file changes on the servers. As a result, they are looking into Idera SQL Compliance Manager as a solution. “We are looking for something more robust that can go deep into the SQL Server. Something that can run traces and capture what is happening like if someone changes a user setting, or adds or removes a user. We are also really looking at more schema changes such as renaming a table or data type changes. And SQL Compliance Manager would do that for us.”

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