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IDERA SQL Safe Backup OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

Buyer's Guide

Download the Backup and Recovery Software Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: September 2022

What is IDERA SQL Safe Backup?

SQL Safe Backup helps database administrators to back up and recover instantly across SQL Servers. Unlike its competition, it provides virtual databases with access to back up files without consuming disk space, instant restore, centralized management across SQL Servers, and alert notifications for success and failure of operations.

IDERA SQL Safe Backup was previously known as SQL Safe Backup.

IDERA SQL Safe Backup Customers

Woman's Hospital; Sisters of Mercy Hospital System; University Medical Center; MetTel; PPG Industries; 3M; Abbott Laboratories; Comcast; Daimler; GameStop; Hormel Foods; Marriott International; Merck; NCR; United Technologies; City of Lynnwood; Linfosys B.V.; TRI-KES; American Customer Care; Merck & Co., Inc.; Service Corporation International; Fresenius Vascular Care Inc.; Bates White; TechPro Inc.; TW Metals, Inc.; Tulane University; ISO Group; Ameriben Solutions; Instron Corporation; Sentric, Inc.; SPIE; GAS Distribution Company of Thessaloniki and Thessaly SA; American Printing House for the Blind; Paysafe; Freeman Decorating Services, Inc.; Sentric, Inc.; Auburn University; Corporate Communications Group; Sagicor Financial Corporation; Crystal Run Healthcare; Principality Building Society; Experiencias Xcaret; Missoula County; Shellpoint Partners LLC; Solix Inc.; Advicent Solutions, Inc.; Phoenix Newspaper Inc.; Park Place Technologies; Kelly & Associates Insurance Group; Boston Medical Center; Service Corporation International; eResearchTechnology, Inc.

IDERA SQL Safe Backup Video

Archived IDERA SQL Safe Backup Reviews (more than two years old)

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Senior DBA Lead at a government with 10,001+ employees
Real User
It has reduced our backup time, however backups do get skipped
Pros and Cons
  • "It has reduced our backup time and simplified our backup processes across all the servers."
  • "The compression, because it drastically reduces the disk space."
  • "Make sure you check your backups on a regular basis. Backups do get missed with this tool, for whatever reason."
  • "I would like to see the pieces that they have put in the web only to be put into the thick client sitting on the desktop client."
  • "The way the filtering goes, if you filter on your view, there is no indication that you have made a selection."

What is our primary use case?

We use it to back up and restore databases.

How has it helped my organization?

It has reduced our backup time and simplified our backup processes across all the servers.

What is most valuable?

The compression, because it drastically reduces the disk space.

What needs improvement?

I would like to see the pieces that they have put in the web only to be put into the thick client sitting on the desktop client. They moved a lot of the features to their web-based version of it. Because of the large number of databases that we have along with our backup, their web product can't handle it. So, we can't use it. So, we are missing out on a lot of the new features.

The way the filtering goes, if you filter on your view, there is no indication that you have made a selection. Unless you can remember day-to-day that you may have something deselected or selected, your view may be different than you expect, and there is no visual indication of it.

Buyer's Guide
Backup and Recovery Software
September 2022
Find out what your peers are saying about IDERA, Rubrik, Veeam Software and others in Backup and Recovery Software. Updated: September 2022.
632,539 professionals have used our research since 2012.

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Over the years, we have had stability issues. By and large, IDERA has been pretty good about addressing stability issues in a timely manner.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We do have trouble with scalability. We backup a large number of databases across our enterprise. It has a hard time handling the influx of backups when they happen all at once. We are backing up on average somewhere in the neighborhood of about 50,000 to 70,000 backups running during the course of the day. Sometimes, it has a hard time keeping up with this.

How are customer service and support?

By and large, their tech support has been pretty good over the years. Recently, because we have been a customer of them for years, I know some of their tech support guys have moved on to other positions within the company. The tech support is lacking because of this.

The knowledge of the people there now along with the turnaround for stuff to get corrected is lacking. I had a support call with IDERA yesterday, and I am still waiting for a response back, not for this product, but for another one.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We did not previously use another solution.

How was the initial setup?

The setup is pretty straightforward. A few prompts, and everything is installed.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The product's pricing is a good value. They have a straightforward licensing model.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I evaluated several products. This is one we chose, and this is the one we stuck with. We evaluated LiteSpeed and one other solution.

What other advice do I have?

It has been a solid product for us over the years.

Make sure you check your backups on a regular basis. Backups do get missed with this tool, for whatever reason. We constantly have to look at backups that have been run to make sure that nothing got overlooked with the number of backups that we do and the number of databases that we back up with the tool. We have a little different environment than possibly somebody else. It may be easier for somebody to look quickly, and say, "Oh yeah. I missed a backup." 

I am not talking about an error. I am talking about an actual backup just being skipped. That is what I would caution people on.

Disclosure: PeerSpot contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
PeerSpot user
PeerSpot user
Database Administrator at a consultancy with 1,001-5,000 employees
Consultant
You can't see any metrics about how long it took you to backup the entire server. We've had a huge reduction in the nightly backup footprint size.

What is most valuable?

Compression of standard backups is quite good and speed is pretty good too. I want to add additional comments here after the product has been in production use for 6 months - the total footprint of our backups has reduced drastically. It is far better than the native SQL compressed backup utility, and even though we are seeing approximately 1.4 : 1 de-duplication ratio (using compression at Level 3) we've saved so much space that we still have more than 33% free space on our backup appliances.

How has it helped my organization?

We've had a huge reduction in the nightly backup footprint size, even though it doesn't de-duplicate very well on the ExaGrid backup appliances. We've saved quite literally terabytes of space on our appliances. One of the biggest improvements it has made for us is that we can now recover 12 of our largest production servers into our DR site in about 4 hours and 15 minutes - this has dropped significantly from the previous RTO of about 12 hours!

What needs improvement?

Idera treats a backup of a SQL Server as if it is essentially a single backup job of each individual database. You can't see any metrics about how long it took you to backup the entire server. It doesn't handle restoration to different drives very easily, and it won't create folder structures if they don't exist already. It cannot be used to implement replication on another instance without first converting files back into SQL Server .bak files. There appears to be LOTs of shortcomings. [All of these short-comings are still very much present even after 6 months of feedback to Idera. No solution is in sight.] Still has a focus on individual databases and not for entire server recoveries. Have tried adjusting max threads values, but it seems to have little affect and Idera is still researching the issue.

For how long have I used the solution?

We've been testing this product out since October 2015.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

When using compression on backups, it does not generate the exact same sized compressed file twice in a row even on a static database and dedicated test server...therefore it inhibits de-duplication of data on backup appliances.

It does not provide any useful method of backing up an entire server instance and porting it to another server elsewhere which may be configured with different drive structure. It doesn't even pull the default data/log file locations from the Server properties when selecting the MOVE FILE option on a restore.

We have frequent needs to move around or replicate entire database servers, and this product isn't tailored to support anything but single database backup and recovery operations.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Other than licensing issues being required for different domains, it has been relatively stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Not so far, but we've only started using it on 4 of around 110 servers so far. We have our hands full trying to shake out many issues in order to keep it running in production mode so far. Revised: Now operational on 121 instances of SQL Server and no problems have been observed with scalability.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

Poor. Still waiting (for 2 weeks now) to learn who our 3rd sales/customer representative will be. We've needed additional licenses to implement the product on our DMZ and still haven't gotten them. Not sure what the high turn-over rate bodes for us.

Technical Support:

Pretty good as far as "how to" questions/issues, but absolutely terrible beyond that. No explanation in last 2 months about why it produces a different size backup file when using a fixed compression level. Numerous bugs have been reported. Support says that we will be placed on "interested party" list for fixes released in the future. For a supposedly mature product, it lacks basic functionality that the built-in Microsoft SQL Server backup/restore programs provide and being told we'll be added to interested party list isn't very satisfying.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Only the SQL Server built-in utility.

How was the initial setup?

Somewhat complex, but okay I suppose.

What about the implementation team?

In-house teams only.

What was our ROI?

A lot less than anticipated because we had hoped that we'd see much better de-duplication rates from our ExaGrid appliance. We don't see them because SQL Safe produces different sized backup files with every run.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

I'd look around at other alternatives if you have a choice.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Remember to test out full backup and restore of a entire server to see if you like the way it works. Also - make sure that don't use this product if you have to run transactional replication - SQL Server doesn't work with .SAFE file types and running the Idera conversion utility took 5 times longer to create SQL backup file from a SAFE backup file than it does to just take the backup in SQL Server mode to begin with.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PeerSpot user

Hello, I was made aware of this blog today and felt like I needed to respond.

Kindly you are able to have your own opinion. But I know others may stumble upon this article. I read the details and I felt like it is was an article which positioned itself as an official product review. However, the comments within the article seem opinionated, subjective, inaccurate, and lacking substantive detail. I work with the product daily and had some concerns about these comments.

For example….I am trying to understand this comment:

Initial Setup:
Somewhat complex, but okay I suppose.

How do I interpret that? It’s a mixed response. And there is no clarifying details regarding why it is considered complex, but on the other hand how it is also “Okay”. But it does imply a negative experience somehow.

And then there was this comment:

Cost and Licensing Advice:

I'd look around at other alternatives if you have a choice.

My response:
Again I am just asking for a kind consideration to my question below.

My question to you here is, “why are you indicating that the audience should look around? Was there something that you witnessed with the cost or licensing that specifically directed you to make that comment to “look around at other alternatives”? If one is to consider this a product review, then I would think you would speak in specifics about your experience with this product. If the audience should “look around” then tell them why they are looking around or what to look around for. It is not disingenuous when someone writes an op-ed to tell the world that something is bad, but provides no examples to explain what they experienced or why the reader is supposed to do something.

This comment:

ROI:
A lot less than anticipated because we had hoped that we'd see much better de-duplication rates from our ExaGrid appliance. We don't see them because SQL Safe produces different sized backup files with every run.

My response:

De-dupe on compressed backups has always been a challenge with any backup archives. But I have actually witnessed de-dupe of SQL safe archives. Perhaps you witnessed it as well. But you have provided no examples of your experience or test results. The ROI was a lot less than anticipated? Can you provide examples of what you were anticipating? What was the de-duplication result before SQlsafe was invloved? What was the result after de-duplication? What were you anticipating to be a success? SQLsafe does work with third party deduplication and has realized compression improvements in some cases, even though technically that goes against the de-duplication science (where typically other backups wouldn’t see improvements). It just depends on the changed blocks. But there is no doubt that backup compression in SQL safe even without de-duplication is phenomenal. I presume SQL Safe showed better compression in the end, but apparently “less than anticipated”. But I’m not sure about what the measurements were and what actual results were noticed with what was anticipated. Because those statistics were not included in the product review.

To this comment:

Stability Issues:

Other than licensing issues being required for different domains, it has been relatively stable.

My response:
Either I am misunderstanding this comment, or the comment is incorrect about licensing per domain. SQL safe is licensed per # of instances to be backed up. Idera doesn’t charge for restore only instances. SQLsafe works with backup of instances even going across un-trusted domains. on a side note....does licensing really have anything to do with stability. From my experience, SQLsafe stability is solid and reliable. SQL Safe is very well tested, across SQL versions, collations, and data types. You can look at other backup tools which may hide “known issues” related to compatibility and other issues. Yet SQL safe is a very reliable backup and restore solution and has been around for more than a decade.

To this comment:

Other Solutions Considered:

Remember to test out full backup and restore of an entire server to see if you like the way it works. Also - make sure that don't use this product if you have to run transactional replication - SQL Server doesn't work with .SAFE file types and running the Idera conversion utility took 5 times longer to create SQL backup file from a SAFE backup file than it does to just take the backup in SQL Server mode to begin with.

My response:

The backup policies in SQL safe are intelligent and even pick up new databases which get added, so that you don’t have to babysit the policy. But the policy can be created to manage backups for many instances, multiple databases, across the enterprise. The policies are easy to create and manage through the easy to use policy creation wizard.

About the comment to “watch out for replication...” when using SQLsafe.

SQLsafe Backup policies can be configured independent of replication. Copy only backups even protect the LSN values from being truncated. There is NO REQUIREMENT to convert .safe to .bak files. The conversion utility is there as a polite convenient add on, in case you need to convert a backup file to native. It is not something you typically would need to use daily. SQLsafe accesses the database through the Microsoft provided VDI. A backup operation will not affect the replication, especially when using copy only backups which will not remove the inactive LSN values.


Not trying to knock the product review, as I am interested in good productive feedback. But I want to be sure that the product is looked at fairly and completely and that I can help you and others understand it better.

In the review, so much functionality was left out. The comments didn’t address other important key features that other audiences reading the product review might consider useful information such as (just to name a few):

• Instant restore capability
• SQL virtual database capability
• Ease of use and centralized management
• Object level recovery
• Amazon S3 cloud support
• EMC Data domain support
• TSM integration
• Availability group support
• Backup mirroring to multiple locations
• Network resiliency options
• Backup operation striping
• Backup reporting
• Web interface or console
• point in time select and restore

Because of that, it is possible for me to consider this product review to be leaning toward opinionated in certain areas as it is not completely reviewing the product inits entirety. Perhaps you had a unique bad experience which did not present the results you expected. I would hope that is not typical. I always encourage anyone considering a good reliable SQL Server backup solution to build their own conclusions. Just try Idera SQLsafe and make an opinion for themselves. The Idera website makes it is easy to download a trial. The trial comes with a license key embedded. It’s easy to start using the product right away with its simple three tier architecture installation. Idera engineers can also be available to help install the product if required. After the install of SQL safe, take a backup of a large database using I-size compression. Configure the backup to write the archive to a UNC path or local drive...or both. Pay attention to the resulting compression. Look at the speed of the backup. Compare the results to your current backup performance. Consider the other features. Try the instant restore capability. Hit the timer after you start an instant restore, and see how long it takes before the database is displayed as restored and "online". I just think that you will find the product features, functionality, usability, and performance to be exceptional.

See all 5 comments
Buyer's Guide
Backup and Recovery Software
September 2022
Find out what your peers are saying about IDERA, Rubrik, Veeam Software and others in Backup and Recovery Software. Updated: September 2022.
632,539 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Недашковский Евгений - PeerSpot reviewer
Senior SQL DBA at a financial services firm with 51-200 employees
Real User
Test it in a complex environment. I believe we would not have bought it if our testing was more solid.

What is most valuable?

I do like the central management console where you can see a global status for all your backups and manage restores.

How has it helped my organization?

Not really. We wanted to switch to something better from Seagate EVault but our goals were to have a reliable tool and to monitor all the process related to backups and their restoration. SQLafe did not save us any money or changed our business processes.

Talking about disk space savings - we did not get any because we use Transparent Data Encryption and SQLsafe cannot compress backups in this case.

What needs improvement?

Lots of room for improvement. This thing is crumbling. I have never experienced anything as buggy as SQLsafe. Backup jobs can just stuck and you will find out about this in weeks later (everything in the onsole is green and shiny). New features are available only in the Web Console and it is barely working. UI is non-intuitive and simply horrible. Classic Console and Web Console have different functionality. You cannot minimize or maximize wizards and they are always on top. You cannot filter one type of backups (full, diff or log). If you have an error your only way to get rid of it from the console is to re-run a particular backup, another well-performed but scheduled backup does not count. And SQLsafe is full of this stuff. I regret buying it.

For how long have I used the solution?

Several months.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

Yes, sometimes agents just do not want to install automatically and you need to do this in manual mode. Sometimes services do not want to start. Sometimes you just need to contact their support and wait because you cannot understand why if everything is installed you still cannot connect an agent even with appropriate routing and shut down firewalls.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Yup. Usually I write one or two new letters to Idera support every week because something is wrong.

How are customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

Idera is just interested in selling you something. Afterwards you can do what you want, they forget about your existence.

Technical Support:

Satanic. If it is something from their Wiki they are ready to help. If not you can spend weeks until they shrug and tell you that they do not know what to do. I have something like ten tickets which are archived because I just got tired of giving them the same information over and over again. 5 tickets were forwarded to developers.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We used Seagate EVault before. We switched because it does not really suit SQL Server backups. It works better with simple files. EVault does not have any adequate central management.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is too complex. Too many edit fields and check boxes. It is just over complicated without any purpose.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Do not buy it unless you have a hefty discount. Or do not buy it at all.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

The main rivals was Dell's Lightspeed but is two times more expensive.

What other advice do I have?

Ask for more testing licenses and test it in a complex environment. I believe we would not have bought it if our testing was more solid.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PeerSpot user