Backup retention

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Recovery models
Main backup types
Backing up the database files by copying
The transaction log
Transaction log restore sequence
Log sequence numbers
Truncating and shrinking the transaction log
Backing up the tail
Inside the transaction log
So, what's in a backup file?
Test: A full backup does not contain deleted data
Verifying backup files
Verifying backup files on a budget
Cumulative backups
Recovering individual tables
Backup and restore history details
Backup reads and writes
Speeding up backups
Backup speed details
Speeding up restores
Restore state affects speed too
Backup and restore rights
Log shipping
Log shipping in SQL Server 2000
Setting up log shipping using Enterprise Manager
Checking the set up
Log shipping in SQL Server 2005
Setting up log shipping using Management Studio
Checking the set up
Log shipping status report
Log shipping in SQL Backup
Using the CopyTool utility
3rd party backup applications
VDI versions
VDI errors
SQL Backup - beyond compression
Restoring a chain of transaction log backups
Restoring to the latest possible state
Backing up multiple databases
Backup retention
Making a copy of the backup file
Backup file naming conventions
Restoring the latest backup set
Network resilience
Integrated database verification
Database file relocation
Improved backup retention
High-availability group support
Common SQL Backup issues
Installation checklist
Setting up rights
Configuring service rights
Backup data
Hanging issues
Common backup and restore errors
Error 3201 - when performing a backup to a network share
Full database backup file is larger than database size
Error 3205 - Too many backup devices specified for backup or restore
Error 4305 - an earlier transaction log backup is required
Bringing a database that is in recovery or read-only mode online
Using bulk-logged recovery model but transaction log backup is still large
Error 14274 - unable to delete SQL Server Agent job
Error messages when restoring from different versions of SQL Server.
vdi error codes
Restore speed details
Help, my transaction log file is huge!
Mirror or log ship

It's a common business need that you want to retain only a certain number of backups at any given time.  The standard T-SQL BACKUP syntax does not have any file retention options.  SQL Server maintenance plans do offer you the option to delete old backup files, but that is a maintenance plan option and not part of the BACKUP syntax.

With SQL Backup, you can specify the number of backups to retain in the BACKUP command itself.  Backup files older than this retention period are deleted, and only when the current backup has completed successfully.

For e.g. the following command will delete all full database backup files for the AdventureWorks in the 'g:\backups\' directory that are older than 2 days.


You can also provide the retention period in hours, by appending a 'h' qualifier.  For e.g. the following command will delete all backup files older than 2 hours.


If you would rather specify a retention period in terms of backup sets, that is also possible in SQL Backup.  Just append the 'b' qualifier to the retention period.  For e.g. the following command will retain only 2 full database backup sets of the AdventureWorks database in the 'g:\backups\' directory, and delete any extras.


This is certainly much easier than writing batch file commands, Powershell scripts and the like.

Document history
7/4/2010    Initial release.    
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