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Overcoming the challenges of Log Shipping for Disaster Recovery

This blog will delve into the largest challenges faced when using Log Shipping for Disaster Recovery and how these can be eliminated.  

SQL Server
Log Shipping
By Vijayganesh Sivaprakasam |
June 27, 2023 |
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As a database administrator (DBA) with extensive experience spanning two decades, I have witnessed the importance of maintaining a synchronized standby environment for effective Disaster Recovery (DR). On Microsoft SQL Server the management of a standby environment using Log Shipping processes comes with its fair share of challenges. If not properly managed this can hinder smooth operation and pose risks to database continuity. With this in mind, what are some of the largest challenges faced when using Log Shipping for DR and how these can be eliminated 

Maintaining your Log Shipping environment in sync

As simple as it sounds, a critical Log Shipping challenge is resynchronizing your primary and secondary databases. Fast resynchronization is crucial to maintaining and protecting the primary database. However, with Log Shipping this can be a complex and time-consuming task that requires meticulous coordination and troubleshooting to identify and resolve the underlying causes of any synchronization issues. In fact, many clients will result to re-building their entire standby database due to difficulty in re-synchronizing the standby, creating a strain on resources and leaving them unprotected for hours or days while the standby is rebuilt.  

Planning and executing switchovers 

Switching over instances in preparation for server maintenance, patching or DR testing, is another challenge that you can face with Log Shipping. This process can involve multiple DBAs and span across multiple servers, databases and instances. Unfortunately, with Log Shipping each database must be individually switched over, demanding extensive planning and coordination. The time and effort required to accomplish these activities are problematic and can result in DBAs avoiding planned switchovers. 

New databases becoming unprotected

Human error or process breakdown is always a potential point of failureThe implementation team responsible for creating new production databases may inadvertently overlook setting up DR for these databases, leaving them unprotected. This oversight often occurs due to a lack of communication between DBAs and/or process automation and notifications within SQL Server Management Studio   

Centralizing and managing alerts 

Monitoring multiple instances across various servers can overwhelm DBAs with scattered and uncentralized alerts. When a database goes out of sync or encounters issues, the alerts may arrive from multiple sources, such as separate email notifications. This fragmented alerting system increases the chances of missing critical notifications, leading to delays in addressing synchronization problems and potentially impacting DR efforts. 

Creating multiple standby databases across multiple instances

Creating standby databases for many production databases is a manual, resource-intensive activity that requires dedicated personnel and considerable hours. As agent jobs must be set up manually for each database, organizations with more than a few databases find that creating and maintaining standby databases with Log Shipping can be a waste of valuable DBA time, particularly for organizations with limited resources.  

Is there a smarter way to manage DR with Log Shipping? 

Log Shipping is a widely used method for creating a warm standby environment for the DR of SQL Server databases. However, it comes with several challenges that demand careful attention and effective mitigation strategies. DBAs must prioritize keeping the Log Shipping environment in sync, plan and execute switchovers efficiently, ensure DR coverage for new production databases, proactively manage non-centralized alerts and allocate adequate resources to create and maintain standby databases across multiple instances. By addressing these challenges, organizations can enhance the reliability and effectiveness of their Log Shipping process, safeguarding critical data and minimizing downtime during DR scenarios. 

The smarter and more automated Log Shipping alternative

If you are frustrated by the time and effort required to effectively leverage Log Shipping, and struggle with the lack of automation and features, Dbvisit Standby MultiPlatform can be quickly implemented to deliver a smarter, automated and fully featured warm standby solution. Overcome Log Shipping challenges with one-click resynchronization, zero-data-loss switchovers, automated standby creation, and centralized real-time alerts and notifications.  

Learn more about the better way to do Disaster Recovery on SQL Server.

 If you have any questions or would like to discuss how Dbvisit StandbyMP could fit within your organizational needs, contact us, and one of our technical specialists will reach out to you. 

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Vijayganesh Sivaprakasam
Vijayganesh Sivaprakasam

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