Quick and dirty Azure SQL database backup

Before I made a deployment of updated code to www.australianandroidapps.com yesterday I wanted to make a point-in-time backup of the database that runs the site in case I needed to rollback the changes. I then realised I’d never done this before. I found that you have two options:

  • Copy – which is neat and simple and creates a copy of your database on the same server
  • Export

The Export option has a few more steps but also lets you download the file and restore locally if you want to. Ideal for grabbing a copy of ‘Production’ and running it up in a Test or Dev environment.

Export requires that you have a Blob Storage in your Azure account. If you already have one you can use an existing container or create a new container. The resulting file (it takes about a minute to run, depending on the size of the DB of course) can be used to import the database into a local instance of SQL Server using the SQL Server Management Studio. Alternatively, you can also use Import on Azure to create a copy of the database that you just exported – and this time you have the flexibility to specify a different destination SQL Server if you want to.

So – Copy is quick and dirty, uses the same server. Export allows you to download the files and restore locally if you want, or create a copy of the database on a different Azure SQL Server.

For more info on either, see How to Import and Export a database (SQL Azure) and Copying Databases in Azure.