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SAP HANA is a relational database that resides in memory. Backup admins should use caution when choosing a SAP HANA backup tool because it works differently than most standard databases. It's therefore critical to ensure that any SAP HANA backup tool is approved by SAP.
Although SAP HANA is an in-memory database, it uses persistent storage just like any other database. Otherwise, SAP HANA would be vulnerable to power failures. As such, the first best practice is to decide what needs to be backed up.
Like most modern databases, HANA divides persistent storage into two areas: the data area and the log area. The data area contains all 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 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're backed up.
Here are several options for SAP HANA backup.
File system backup
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, so it's necessary to monitor the file system fill level.
Another SAP HANA backup option is to create a data snapshot. Backup admins can create or roll back to snapshots very quickly, which makes them a popular backup option when speed is a priority. However, the more snapshots the system takes the more resources it consumes, so organizations should use them judiciously.
Backint is an API-based method, and it usually refers to SAP HANA backup that uses a third-party utility. Like a file system backup, Backint 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, Backint fits neatly into an organization's existing backup infrastructure. It also supports features such as backup encryption and data reduction.
An AWS Backint Agent for SAP HANA is now available. The tool supports restore in multiple ways, including through a standard GUI.
The right tool for users is dependent on the customer's strategy. The most important thing is to ensure there's enough capacity to complete a backup in a reasonable amount of time.
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