Fast and friendly database protection

Imceda's LiteSpeed fills important holes in native SQL Server backups

Database administrators face two major problems when incorporating a new backup solution: the learning curve associated with the software and installation problems that delay deployment. LiteSpeed for SQL Server, from Imceda Software, solves these issues by being extremely easy to set up and lending a familiar face to Microsoft SQL Server backups. Plus it’s incredibly fast, lightweight, and reliable.

Good database management tools are supposed to just plug in and work, and LiteSpeed fits that description. I easily installed the solution on three SQL Server boxes while they were under heavy user load. Being able to deploy products like this without having to schedule downtime or wait for a maintenance window makes a DBA’s job much easier.

LiteSpeed installs like a dream, and it’s so lightweight that it barely leaves a footprint on your disk. In fact, it installed so quickly that I went back to read the documentation, thinking I’d missed something.

Any DBA who can perform a native SQL Server backup can perform a backup with LiteSpeed. The software plugs seamlessly into SQL Enterprise Manager, so you don’t have to learn a new interface just to back up your database. And you’re able to do your other administrative tasks from the same UI.

LiteSpeed offers two options for creating backups: You can use the wizard or write a script. Using wizards for administrative tasks is often problematic; although wizards can speed up tasks, advanced functionality is often accessible only through scripting. Further, wizards typically hide their actions from the user. In the case of backups, this makes it impossible to make modifications and transport the job to another server.

LiteSpeed addresses these shortcomings by giving you the option to record what you’ve done in the wizard as a script. All the wizard’s magic is exposed as code, making it a simple matter to change or add a parameter or two to configure the script for another setting. And if you don’t like wizards, LiteSpeed also comes with plenty of query-analyzer templates, which allow you to simply fill in values for the supplied parameters.

In my tests, I was able to back up data sets of 50GB in just over three and a half minutes, with 80 percent compression. Backing up that much data with SQL took six minutes, and being SQL, there was no compression.  Imceda claims that many apps achieve more than 90 percent compression, which is certainly believable.

LiteSpeed allows you to control the resources used for your backups by letting you set the number of threads to use. More threads mean a quicker backup; fewer lets users continue working without a slowdown.

LiteSpeed protects against data theft with secret key encryption and even lets you choose your own key. SQL doesn’t offer any type of encryption.

Not only does LiteSpeed allow you to restore individual tables, it implements the functionality better than SQL Server does. As long as you restore the primary file group in a database, you can restore individual tables without having to take file group backups. The approach isn’t perfect — it would be nice not to have to restore the primary file group first — but anyone who has ever tried to manage file group backups in SQL Server will be relieved by how much easier it is to restore tables with LiteSpeed. LiteSpeed is also fully cluster-aware, so it can protect your shop’s high-availability solutions as well.

Easy to install and maintain, LiteSpeed for SQL Server offers many enterprise-level features that fill big holes not covered by native SQL Server backups. The encryption, compression, resource-handling, and partial-restore features it offers are indispensable to anyone serious about maintaining database backups.

InfoWorld Scorecard
Manageability (25.0%)
Ease of use (20.0%)
Value (10.0%)
Setup (10.0%)
Performance (20.0%)
Reliability (15.0%)
Overall Score (100%)
LiteSpeed for SQL Server, Version 3.1 8.0 9.0 9.0 9.0 9.0 8.0 8.6