I had some interesting discussions with some of the Microsoft folks at PASS last fall and I thought I'd share the content of one of them with you.
I was of course complaining about backup compression only being available for enterprise customers, and the discussion kind of just sprouted from there. And while I can present both sides of the argument, my side is really only needed here. Now, I know what you're going to say. I'm not giving them a fair shake by not presenting their side. But you can infer their side from my comments, and it doesn't matter anyway because I'm right.
They're basically saying that you don't need backup compression on non-enterprise SKUs because enterprise installations are pretty much the only ones big enough to really need it. OK, so I presented a little bit of their argument ... so sue me.
Well, I'm here to tell ya that the reasoning behind that is not only wrong, it's downright criminal. Just wait, my reasoning is sound.
For starters, there's no relation between size and features. Just because you have a lot of data doesn't mean that you need any of the advanced query or indexing features that come with enterprise. I may have a large DB that stores Web site clicks, and these clicks could be stacking up into the billions, but that doesn't mean that I need advanced functionality. I may only run simple queries against that data. And let's not forget either that Standard edition is pretty complete, and you can do a lot of pretty rich querying with it.
There's also the case of the archive DB. I may need to store tons of data that I hardly ever query, but I need it to be online. It would be nice to be able to compress those backups.
Now let's look at the other side of the market: the small side. There's a reason why vendors like Red-Gate and Idera made their bones in the SQL backup arena by covering the small end of the market -- because small shops need compressed backups too. See, your need for compression isn't guided by how much data you have, nor is it driven by how much income you have or the features you need. It's driven by the size of your backup media. And it's these smaller shops that have a lot less backup space, so they need the compression even more in a sense. And that's not really entirely accurate. The reason I say that is because while small shops feel that strain quite often, really large shops feel it as well. It actually moves with the size and need for your data recovery, right? What I mean by that is that even large shops that have HUGE databases have backup space problems because it's very expensive to buy the speed and amount of disk you need to house a 50TB backup. And if you go straight to tape, it's pretty expensive too.