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What are some SAP HANA backup options and best practices?

Having a strategy to back up SAP HANA is a must. It's important to decide exactly what you'll be backing up, along with which method best suits your organization.

SAP HANA is a relational database that is designed to reside in memory. By using an in-memory data platform, SAP HANA can achieve better overall performance than would generally be possible if the database columns resided on disks.

As is the case with disk-based databases, however, SAP HANA backup is a necessary safeguard against data loss.

Although HANA is an in-memory database, it also uses persistent storage just like any other database. Otherwise, HANA would be vulnerable to power failures. As such, the first best practice is to decide what needs to be backed up.

HANA divides persistent storage into two areas -- the data area and the log area. The data area contains all the data volumes -- with one data volume per service -- and each data volume contains both the data and the undo log entries for the associated service.

The log area contains all of the log volumes, and there is a log volume for each service. Each log volume contains log segments, which, in turn, store redo log entries. Log segments can be overwritten once they have been backed up.

File system, Backint and snapshot SAP HANA backup

There are three options for SAP HANA backup -- file system, Backint and snapshot. You can also mix backup methods. These backup methods can be used to create full, incremental or differential backups.

Each SAP HANA backup method involves tradeoffs, so it is important to determine which method is best suited to your own needs.

File system backups protect only the current data, as opposed to the entire data area, and perform block-level consistency checks. However, file system backups place a load on the network, and it is necessary to monitor the file system fill level.

The Backint method is an API-based method, and it usually refers to SAP HANA backup using a third-party utility. Like a file system backup, this method also performs block-level consistency checks and only backs up the current data rather than the entire data area. Because this method enables integration with third-party backup utilities, it fits neatly into an organization's existing backup infrastructure, and it enables features such as backup encryption and data reduction.

The third option is to create a snapshot. Snapshots can be created or applied very quickly, and snapshots do not create the network load that file system and Backint backups do. However, snapshots do not perform block-level consistency checks, nor do they enable you to use third-party backup tools.

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