Microsoft SQL Server ResourcesCreate and Restore a SQL Server Database Backup on a Network File Share

Provided by: FMS Development Team

This tip helps SQL Server administrators and developers understand how to configure backups that are more useful and secure. This strategy promotes easier recovery of a failed system by backing up and restoring a database from a network file share.

Do Not Create Backup Files on the SQL Server Machine!

Backups are part of your disaster recovery and business continuity plan. One of the failures to protect against is a computer and hard disk failure.

NEVER store your backups on the same machine/hard disk as your SQL Server!

If the physical device containing both the database and its backup fails, you face limited recovery options and will likely need to rely on other older backup media, if they exist.

Ideally, you should create all of your database backups on a separate device and/or separate machine, and in a central location. While some of you are saying "That seems pretty obvious!" to this information, you'd be surprised how many SQL Server users and database administrators are creating a database backup locally on the server without duplicating it elsewhere.

How to Store SQL Server Backups on a Network Drive

While only local devices are shown in Enterprise Managerís Backup/Restore dialogs, there is a way to create or restore a SQL Server database backup on a network file share. Creating or restoring a database backup on a network file share requires the following prerequisites:

  1. The SQL Server services, on the Server containing the instance of SQL Server, must be running under a domain-level account (e.g. A Domain Administrator account). This is accomplished by changing the "Log On" properties for the services named "MSSQLSERVER" and "SQLSERVERAGENT" on the server running SQL Server (not your local instance). When you have completed changing the log on information for these 2 services, you will need to restart the "MSSQLSERVER" service on that server. Note that this will ask if you want to restart the "SQLSERVERAGENT" as well - Answer: Yes.
  2. The SQL Server service account must have FULL CONTROL rights to the file system folder and to the share. That means you need to have a shared location in which the logon account you specified in 1 (above) has full control rights.
  3. The file share should only be accessed via UNC name. Mapped drives may not be consistently visible to the SQL Service.
  4. You cannot specify the path by using the browse ellipses (...). You must type the fully qualified path into the text box as:
    file://ComputerName/ShareDirectoryWithRightsForDomain-levelAccountUsed/NameofFile.Extension

Additional Notes

When creating or restoring backups on a network share, a significant increase in network traffic may result. You should ensure that your network can handle this without causing poor performance for other systems or end users. It may also benefit you to establish a dedicated physical network connection between your database server and your backup file host. Once the SQL Server instance is configured, you can use your local Enterprise Manager to create or restore a database backup that resides on a network device other than the device your instance of SQL Server is running on.

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