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We use a large company as our service provider.

The tech people from that service company are pushing very hard to install something called the Avamar SQL Agent which purportedly will be used to replace my old reliable full, differential, and transaction log backups. I am told that it constantly monitors the mdf, ndf, and ldf files for any changes and then writes the changed items (pages, ???) somewhere (???).

I am all for new technology once it is proven but I am skeptical of this approach that I will no longer need to take SQL Server native compressed backups (again full, diff, and tlog).

So far I have taken the stand that I am not going to bless this adventure unless and until they can prove to me through testing that it does not foul up my mdf, ndf, and ldf files and that a restore is still possible. Here again I don’t know what or who would do the restore per se… is it some derivation of SQL Server restore, some Avamar restore, some combination, etc.

Does anyone have any experience with this product?

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    Sounds like you're doing your job by not relying solely on the advice of a vendor. I would ask them to setup a demo system where you can attempt a full restore mimicking what you would do in a DR scenario.
    – Hannah Vernon
    Aug 27 '14 at 16:06
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Please ask them and also, as max pointed out, test whether such tool can provide point in time recovery. Test various scenarios and see if it matches your RPO and RTO. I am sure its not free of cost only go if it REALLY provides some thing more than what native SQL Server Tsql backup provides. I have not found any tool more reliable than TSQL built in code for backup.

Ask them,if possible, to do a POC (proof of concept) and show you how it would be better than native TSQL backup. You have to let them know that there is no point in choosing any thing blindly if it does same work as a tool which you have free( inbuilt). You can professionally ask them above questions. Plus if you use such tool you might need to hire a person who is expert in this tool so might be some more extra cost.

Think all pros an cons and then move

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    The idea of asking them for making a POC is excellent. That will show if their solution can meet your concerns or not. Aug 27 '14 at 21:39
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This is just an opinion but could be a consensus...

Based on search this is actually a EMC product. However it also states in the guide that it uses VDI devices to backup and restore. I, and others probably, would advise against doing this with production databases. Again this is just a preference for me to stick with native backups.

Now since you are getting service through a provider it could be there prerogative to force the service to be used. So I would try to be as professional as you can about it.

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We are also in the process of installing this EMC product at the large insurance company where I work. We are currently using it only for file backups to replace our TSM file backups but will eventually install the SQL Agent. I definitely encourage you to test this in a non-production environment to understand its quirks prior to a production deployment. We've had some issues with duplicate backups and I/O freezes on VMs so far.

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