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I am looking to deploy log shipping in my production environment. This will mean I will have to manage backup chains which could be disrupted by people taking backups to refresh development environments. If I have a failure and want to use the log backups to restore to a point in time I will also need the backup taken by the developer.

This wouldn't happen if the developers only used COPY ONLY backups. So my question is: Is there a way to restrict users to only be able to perform COPY ONLY backups?

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Kin's solution is better. – ACDBA May 1 '14 at 16:13

3 Answers 3

up vote 9 down vote accepted

You dont need to have them use COPY_ONLY. Only An intermediate LOG BACKUPS will break the LSN. What you can do is explicitly DENY BACKUP LOG to [user|group] privilege to developers or developer group. Alternatively, just create a ROLE and deny backup log to that role. So all the users in that role will inherit the permissions.


USE test_kin
CREATE ROLE [deny_log_backups]
USE [test_kin]
use test_kin
DENY BACKUP LOG TO [deny_log_backups]
USE test_kin
EXEC sp_addrolemember N'deny_log_backups', N'kin'

Now test it :

backup database [test_kin]
to disk = 'C:\crap_test\kin_test_full.bak'
with compression, stats =10, init

---- ### success for FULL BACKUP 

backup log [test_kin]
to disk = 'C:\crap_test\kin_test_log.log'


Msg 262, Level 14, State 1, Line 3
BACKUP LOG permission denied in database 'test_kin'.
Msg 3013, Level 16, State 1, Line 3
BACKUP LOG is terminating abnormally.
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Kin, you are incorrect. A full backup resets the differential pointers. If the full backup than is lost e.g. because it was only meant to be a temporary, differentials take afterwards cannot be restored. Full and Log backups do not in any way interact. (But a lost Log backup will still break the log-chain.) – Sebastian Meine May 1 '14 at 20:00
Well, I guess I did not read the question completely. The OP's concern is the log-chain, so your solution works. – Sebastian Meine May 1 '14 at 20:03
Excellent answer. I will move this into my test environments in the coming days. Thanks – James Anderson May 2 '14 at 10:00

Good question that I can't find a good answer for, but here's one. What if you removed everyone from having the backup role and then created a task that used the execute as command for a specific user that drops the copy_only backup file out to a specific location?

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This is more complicated and requires more work to do. Please refer to answer above for an easy solution. – Kin May 1 '14 at 16:10
Agreed. I like your solution. – ACDBA May 1 '14 at 16:12

What you might be able to do is 1) deny backups (log and/or full) to such users but still 2) allow them to start a job that perform copy-only backup of a specific database (running under an account that is granted backup permission). I have such a solution in place to automate a PROD to PRE-PROD automated restores of databases for investigation purposes; specific users have access to a job (in PRE-PROD) that does a copy-only backup in PROD, moves the file from PROD to PRE-PROD and then restore the moved backup on the PRE-PROD server. Thus making sure such users have no way to break the backup logic on PROD.

(When investigating issues, developers might be tempted to take a full backup to restore it on a test server by actually moving the file from source to test server without knowing that they are breaking the backup logic... so I agree that forcing taking copy-only backups is important.)

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Why are you concerned for FULL backup with copy_only as the OP is concerned with only breaking the LSNs ? – Kin May 1 '14 at 19:55
Well, taking a FULL backup and then moving the file away would break the logic, right? If a developer does that, moves the file to a dev server, then the next LOG backup would have its FirstLSN value match the CheckPointLSN of the missing FULL backup. How to you then restore without the missing file? – Benjamin RAIBAUD May 1 '14 at 20:12
A full backup does not reset LSN. Only a log backup will do it. I guess you are mixing up things. – Kin May 1 '14 at 20:13
Oh yes, you are right. that would matter if instead of log backups you do diff backups. Then moving a full away is risky. I am mixing things up, thank. – Benjamin RAIBAUD May 1 '14 at 20:28

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