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SQL Server 2008: Administration in Action by Rod Colledge

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10.5. Database snapshots

A common step in deploying changes to a database is to take a backup of the database prior to the change. The backup can then be used as a rollback point if the change/release is deemed a failure. On small and medium databases, such an approach is acceptable; however, consider a multi-terabyte database: how long would the backup and restore take either side of the change? Rolling back a simple change on such a large database would take the database out of action for a considerable period of time.

Database snapshots, not to be confused with snapshot backups,[] can be used to address this type of problem, as well as provide additional functionality for reporting purposes.

[] Snapshot backups are specialized backup solutions ...

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