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Microsoft SQL Database backup and restore requirements: IBM Spectrum Protect™ Plus V10.1.2

Preventive Service Planning


This document details the Microsoft SQL Database backup and restore requirements for IBM® Spectrum Protect™ Plus V10.1.2


This document is divided into linked sections for ease of navigation. You may use the links below to jump to the section of the document you need.

Microsoft SQL Server Configuration Requirements
In-Memory OLTP Requirements and Limitations
SQL Incremental Backup Requirements and Limitations
SQL Always On Availability Groups Considerations
Registration and Authentication
Kerberos Requirements
SQL Log Truncation Ports
SQL Server Ports


Before registering each Microsoft SQL server in IBM Spectrum Protect Plus, ensure it meets the following requirements.

Microsoft SQL Server Configuration Requirements

  • SQL 2008 R2 SP3 on Windows Server 2012 R2

  • SQL 2012 on Windows Server 2012 R2

  • SQL 2012 SP2 on Windows Server 2016

  • SQL 2014 on Windows Server 2012 R2

  • SQL 2014 on Windows Server 2016

  • SQL 2016 on Windows Server 2012 R2

  • SQL 2016 on Windows Server 2016

  • SQL 2017 on Windows Server 2012 R2 (beginning with 10.1.1 patch 1)

  • SQL 2017 on Windows Server 2016 (beginning with 10.1.1 patch 1)

Note: It is highly recommended that you install the latest SQL Server patches and updates in your environment.

The following configurations are supported with:

Standalone SQL Server Failover Clustering AlwaysOn configurations
SQL 2008 R2 SP3 yes yes yes
SQL 2012 yes yes yes
SQL 2014 yes yes yes
SQL 2016 yes yes yes
SQL 2017 yes
(beginning with v10.1.1 patch1)
no no

Windows Remote Shell (WinRM) must be enabled.

Cluster drive configurations utilizing dynamic disks is not supported. Standalone dynamic disks configurations are supported. Microsoft iSCSI Initiator must be enabled and running on the Windows Server. An iSCSI route must be enabled between the SQL system and vSnap server. For more information see

IBM Spectrum Protect Plus Inventory jobs discover system databases and mark the databases that are eligible for protection. Log backup is marked as ineligible for system databases.

In-Memory OLTP Requirements and Limitations

In-Memory OLTP is a memory-optimized database engine used to improve database application performance, supported in SQL 2014 and 2016. Note the following IBM Spectrum Protect Plus requirements and limitations for In-Memory OLTP usage:

  • The maximum restore file path must be less than 256 characters, which is an SQL requirement. If the original path exceeds this length, consider using a customized restore file path to reduce the length.

  • The metadata that can be restored is subject to VSS and SQL restore capabilities.

SQL Incremental Backup Requirements and Limitations

IBM Spectrum Protect Plus utilizes update sequence number (USN) change journal technology to perform incremental backups in a SQL environment. The USN change journal provides write range tracking for a volume when the file size is increased to a specific threshold. The changed bytes offset and length extent information can be queried against a specific file.

Requirements to enable write range tracking:

  • Windows 2012 R2 or later

  • NTFS version 3.0 or later

02/05/2019 As per APAR IT27984: it indicated that Cluster shared volumes (CSVFS) are supported.
However, the support Cluster shared volumes (CSVFS) are not supported in V 10.1.2 IBM Spectrum Protect Plus Microsoft SQL agent.

The following technologies are not supported for changed bytes tracking:

  • ReFS

  • Server Message Block (SMB) 3.0 protocol

  • SMB TFO (Transparent Failover)

  • SMB 3.0 with Scale-out file shares (SO)

By default, 512 MB of space is allocated for USN change journaling.

The minimum space required for shadow copy storage is 100 MB, though more space may be required on systems with increased activity. The SQL agent checks the source volume space, and will fail a backup if the free space on the source volume is lower than 100 MB. A warning message displays in the job log when free space is below 10%, then the backup proceeds.

A base backup is forced when the following conditions are detected:

  • Journal discontinuity is detected, due to the log reaching the maximum size, disabling of the log, or changing of the catalogued USN ID.

  • The file size is less than the tracked threshold size, which by default is 102 KB.

  • The file size is smaller after a previous backup.

  • A file is added after a previous backup.

SQL Always On Availability Groups Considerations

Configure the preferred instance for backup through SQL Server Management Studio. Select the Availability Group node. Select the availability group you wish to configure, then select Properties. In the Availability Group Properties dialog box, select Backup Preferences.

On the Where should backups occur? pane, select Secondary only. If more than one secondary replica is available, the SQL Executor will select the first secondary replica in the preferred list reported by the IBM Spectrum Protect Plus SQL agent.

The SQL agent sets the VSS backup type to COPY_ONLY.

Registration and Authentication

Register each SQL server in IBM Spectrum Protect Plus by name or IP address. When registering a SQL Cluster (AlwaysOn) node, register each node by name or IP address. Note that the IP addresses must be public-facing and listening on port 5985. The fully qualified domain name must be resolvable and route-able from the IBM Spectrum Protect Plus appliance.

The user identity must have sufficient rights to install and start the IBM Spectrum Protect Plus Tools Service on the node. This includes "Log on as a service" rights. For more information about the "Log on as a service" rights, see

The user identity follows the default domain\Name format if the virtual machine is attached to a domain. The format <local administrator> is used if the user is a local administrator.

Kerberos Requirements

Kerberos-based authentication can be enabled through a configuration file on the IBM Spectrum Protect Plus appliance. This will override the default Windows NTLM protocol.

For Kerberos-based authentication only, the user identity must be specified in the username@FQDN format. The username must be able to authenticate using the registered password to obtain a ticket-granting ticket (TGT) from the key distribution center (KDC) on the domain specified by the fully qualified domain name.

Kerberos authentication also requires that the clock skew between the Domain Controller and the IBM Spectrum Protect Plus appliance is less than 5 minutes. Note that the default Windows NTLM protocol is not time dependent.

SQL Log Truncation

To truncate SQL application logs during hypervisor Backup jobs, enable the Truncate SQL logs option when creating a job definition. The following SQL environments support SQL log truncation:

  • SQL 2008 R2 SP3 on Windows Server 2012 R2

  • SQL 2012 SP4 on Windows Server 2012 R2

  • SQL 2014 SP2 on Windows Server 2012 R2

  • SQL 2016 SP1 on Windows Server 2016


On the SQL server, the system login credential must have public and sysadmin permissions enabled, plus permission to access cluster resources in a SQL AlwaysOn environment. If one user account is used for all SQL functions, a Windows login must be enabled for the SQL server, with public and sysadmin permissions enabled.

Every SQL instance can use a specific user account to access the resources of that particular SQL instance.

The SQL VDI-based framework is used to interact with SQL databases and log backup/restore operations. A VDI connection requires SQL sysadmin permissions. The owner of a restored database is not changed to the original owner. A manual step is required to modify the owner of a restored database. For more information about the VDI framework, see the following Microsoft article:

The target SQL server service account must have permissions to access SQL restore files. See Administrative Considerations in the following Microsoft article:

To perform log backups, the SQL server agent service user must be a local Windows administrator and must have the sysadmin permission enabled to manage SQL server agent jobs. The agent will use that administrator account to enable/access log backup jobs. The IBM Spectrum Protect Plus SQL agent service user must also be the same as the SQL server service and SQL server agent service account for every SQL instance to be protected.

SQL Server Ports

The following ports are used by SQL servers. Note that ports marked as Accept use a secure connection (https/ssl).

Incoming SQL Server Firewall Connections
Port Protocol Firewall Rule Service Description
5985 TCP Accept WinRM Windows Remote Management Service
5986 TCP Accept WinRM Secure Windows Remote Management Service


Outgoing SQL Server Firewall Connections
Port Protocol Service Description
iSCSI initiator is required on this node.
TCP vSnap iSCSI iSCSI vSnap target port used for mounting LUNS for backup and recovery.

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Document Information

Modified date:
11 March 2019