Use SQL Safe Backup's Monitor Only Policies with customized backup operations

In my previous blog post, I wrote about how customized backup/restore solutions can be accomplished through the use of SQL Safe Backup's command line interface (CLI) and/or extended stored procedures (XSPs). I'm certain that some SQL Safe Backup users have customized their own backup jobs through the use of the CLI and XSPs. In this post, I'd like to extend on that subject a bit and talk about monitoring those customized backup jobs through the use of a Monitor Only SQL Safe Backup Policy.

In SQL Safe Backup, you have the ability to create a Backup Policy that will simply monitor your backup operations. These type of a backup policy is a great way to link customized solutions to the alerting capabilities within SQL Safe Backup. Unfortunately, not to many people are aware of this. I'd like to take this moment to demonstrate how the monitor only policies can be used within SQL Safe Backup.

To start off, let's assume that we have a customized backup solution through the use of SQL Safe Backup's XSPs. Let's use the following as a simple example:

DECLARE @ResultCode INT

EXEC @ResultCode = [master].[dbo].[xp_ss_backup]
@database = N'Northwind',
@filename = N'\\FileStorage\Backup\%instance%_%database%_%backuptype%_%timestamp% (%ordinal% of %total%).safe',
@compressionlevel = N'ispeed',
@server = N'tchantra',
@bckdsttype = N'0',
@backupfiletype = N'0'

IF(@ResultCode != 0)
RAISERROR('One or more operations failed to complete.', 16, 1);

The script above simply performs a backup of the Northwind database to a network location. To ensure that the script runs per the needed schedule, let's assume that I've created a SQL Server Agent job to execute this script per my defined scheduled. Upon running, SQL Safe Backup will display the results of the backup operation(s) and keep record of it. However, there will not be any notifications/alerts generated if the backup job did not run per schedule. The reason for this is because the execution of the job is not being scheduled through SQL Safe Backup, but rather the SQL Server Agent. This is where the Monitor Only policy comes in handy. 

First, we'll need to create a Monitor Only policy. The wizard is pretty straight-forward so I will not go into details here. I will, however, list the general steps that you'll want to take:

  1. Click Create Policy > Backup Policy.
  2. On the General Tab, provide a name for the policy and select the Monitor Only option.
  3. On the Membership tab, select the instance(s) and database(s) that is to be monitored. In my example, I'll be selecting the TCHANTRA instance and the Northwind database.
  4. On the Options tab, you'll want to select the type of backup that's being performed by your customize solution. In my example, I'll only select the Full  backup type as that's the backup operation that's being performed by my script.
  5. On the Schedules tab, you'll want to specify the same schedule that is used by the customized job.
  6. On the Notifications tab, you can specify which events you'll want to receive notifications on. In this example, I'll only select the Backup fails to start as scheduled. Don't forget to supply an email address for the notification settings.

Now that the Monitor Only policy has been configured, we'll need to update the script to link the execution of the script to the policy. In order to do so, we'll need the policy's GUID, which is stored in the SQL Safe repository database. To obtain the policy GUID, I run the following query against the SQL Safe repository database.

SELECT [name],[policy_guid]
FROM [SQLsafeRepository].[dbo].[policies]

From the results of the query, I find the policy GUID that matches up with the name of the monitor only policy which was created. As an example, the following is the results from the above query. 

name policy_guid
Monitor Only Example A0673227-20C6-47C3-AD6E-0550E1B22113
Backup Policy Example A3F2F61B-BF90-44DE-9F9E-3A3971176B58

In my case, I'll want to use the policy_guid from the first row in the result set. I then update my script to include the @policy parameter as shown below.

DECLARE @ResultCode INT

EXEC @ResultCode = [master].[dbo].[xp_ss_backup] 
@database = N'Northwind', 
@filename = N'\\FileStorage\Backup\%instance%_%database%_%backuptype%_%timestamp% (%ordinal% of %total%).safe', 
@compressionlevel = N'ispeed', 
@server = N'tchantra', 
@bckdsttype = N'0', 
@backupfiletype = N'0',
@policy = N'A0673227-20C6-47C3-AD6E-0550E1B22113'

IF(@ResultCode != 0)
RAISERROR('One or more operations failed to complete.', 16, 1);

Now that I have configured a Monitor Only policy and updated my script, SQL Safe Backup will now alert me when a backup job does not run per schedule. It's a great way to ensure that the customize backup job which I've created is creating backups as schedule. If a scheduled backup happens to be missed, I'll receive a notification which will let me know that I need to go investigate why the job failed to run as scheduled.

If you haven't taken a look at SQL Safe Backup before, check out our product page here!