Data Centers

How do I... Install, configure, and use LiteSpeed for database backups?

<img src="" align="right" border="0" height="85" hspace="5" vspace="5" width="110" />LiteSpeed by Quest software is an enterprise level backup solution for <a href=";s=0&amp;o=1" target="_blank">MS SQL Server</a>. This solution includes several powerful features that increase the ease an efficiency of database archiving on an enterprise level. This How do I... shows you how to install, configure and use LiteSpeed.

LiteSpeed by Quest software is an enterprise-level backup solution for MS SQL Server. This solution includes several powerful features that increase the ease and efficiency of database archiving on an enterprise level. This How do I... shows you how to install, configure, and use LiteSpeed.

This blog post is also available in PDF form as a TechRepublic download.

LiteSpeed is a complete backup solution and includes these features:

  • An adjustable level of compression (in some situations up to 95 percent) for your backups
  • The ability to create your backups with varying types of industry-standard encryption
  • The ability to do object-level restores (i.e., tables, views, and stored procedures; this feature is available only in the enterprise version)
  • Mirroring of your backup files to multiple locations
  • An enterprise console allowing you to control the backup and restores of all your MS SQL Servers in one location
  • Integrated log shipping
  • The ability to query backup files
  • Fast backup times

It also allows full scripting of your backup and restore routines, as you need to install only a few extended stored procedures on your database servers. This allows you to maintain full control of your backup and restore settings and not rely on third-party software to determine your backup routines. Using the powerful extended stored procedures, you can even insert queries (select statements only) into the restore process, allowing you to restore only the data you need, down to the row level.

Figure A


When installing LiteSpeed, you will first want to install the Enterprise Console (unless you are using only scripting to do your backups). To do this, you will need to select a custom installation type during installation (from the single install executable). When presented with the choice of which components to install, you will need to deselect the LiteSpeed Engine. The Engine contains the DLLs needed for creation of the extended stored procedures. This allows you to install the management tools (including the Enterprise Console) to a workstation that is not running MS SQL Server.

Figure B

Deselect LiteSpeed Engine
To install the LiteSpeed Engine on your MS SQL Servers, you will again need to run the installer and choose a custom install. This time, though, you will install only the LiteSpeed Engine. This installation does not require a reboot of your system or a restart of your MS SQL services. The actual install of the extended procedures takes only seconds and creates a minimal impact on your servers. It is a very safe procedure to run, even on production systems.

Figure C

Select LiteSpeed Engine

When you are installing the LiteSpeed Engine on your database servers, you can install LiteSpeed across all of your SQL instances on that server simultaneously. You can also customize the installation account details for each instance. You can use Windows Authentication, SQL authentication, or a mixture of the two between instances, or you can use a single account for all instances. You can also uninstall in mass using this same procedure.

Figure D

All SQL instances

In the program group created on each server, you can use the LiteSpeed configuration tool to set defaults for your systems on that server. You can set your standard compression levels, the type of encryption to use, the priority at which the backups will run, and the number of threads the backups can use, along with several other settings. This is useful if you are using scripting to do your backups using the extended stored procedures, as you will not need to adjust these settings in every backup script, only when you wish to deviate from your standard settings.

Figure E

Default settings

When you start the Enterprise Console, you are greeted with a screen that allows you to enter the Backup Wizard, the Restore Wizard, or to start an Object Recovery. As we are currently looking at backups, that is what we will choose.

Figure F

Enterprise Console

The first thing you will need to do is select the MS SQL Server instance you would like to back up. After selecting this, you will be able to select the database you would like to back up from the list of databases contained on that instance.

Figure G

Select database

You will then be able to select whether you want to back up to disk or tape. You will also be able to select whether you want this to be a full backup, a transaction log backup, a file group level backup, or a database differential backup. You can also choose to use the native SQL Server backup procedures instead of LiteSpeed, if you wish. Of course, you have the option to run the backup immediately, to schedule the backup to run at a later time, or to schedule a recurring backup.

Figure H

Where and when

You can select the Backup Options button to be presented with the same configuration options you see on the LiteSpeed configuration page, though presented slightly differently. You can use this if you don't want to set defaults on each server or if you need to deviate from your defaults. The latter choice is especially useful when you are performing one-time backups that do not meet the same set of requirements you normally use, such as using higher compression settings to ftp a database to a vendor or to encrypt a database backup that may need a higher level of security than your other databases.

Figure I

Backup Options

The scheduling utility follows the standard Windows scheduler look and feel, which should be familiar to most users. Two major differences are present: Daily Frequency and Duration are given their own tabs. This breaks out these settings even further, as they can be of a much greater importance for DBAs who are scheduling Transaction Log backups every few minutes.

Figure J

Daily Frequency and Duration tabs

You can select the exact location where you will place your backups, whether it is on tape or disk. You can also choose to verify the integrity of backup files, to mirror the files created across multiple locations (to provide higher levels of fault tolerance), or to optimize this particular backup set for object-level recovery. This option (again, available only on the Enterprise version of LiteSpeed), is useful for large databases where full restores will be infrequent but a table or stored procedure restore is much more likely to happen.

Figure K

Fine-tune options

Finally, you can either create the backup job as a SQL Agent job on your database instance or you can view a full script of the options you selected. You can then take the T-SQL script and use it to schedule your job or embed it within another job. You can also save it, for those times you need to create a backup and do not wish to go through the Enterprise Console.

Figure L

Execute or see script

I have used LiteSpeed in the past and it solved several problems for us. It also created some others. Pros: +Install and setup were not bad. +Reduced size or backup. +Increased speed of backup. Con: +License is per processor not per machine. this caused the complications below. +Has poor support for clustered environment. --We had a cluster that had 4 processors on one node and 8 on the other, we could never backup after a fail over in either direction without going through the install again. +Has poor customer support/technical support resources. --we had constant battles over how many licenses that we really had, and finally got this streaightned out after we started to migrate to a competing product. +Had to have the full product installed to restore backups for DR (other products allow you to just use a DLL for the restore, get up and running and then install later to get backups working) My review is that if you have a very standard set of machines, a few big databases and a generous DR timeline, that LiteSpeed is a good solution. But if you have a great about of variation in our architecture, hundreds of small databases, ect. There is a better solution. Email me and ask, but I don't want to post them here to change the discussion.


We just schedule backups through management studio built into sql server. Whats the difference between using this and litespeed?? What are the advantages of using lightspeed?


How about making a backup on a SQL server remote and outside your domain in another domain. What steps do you need to take to perform this backup and is it possible? /anders


Can i make database backups with this software even if my server is on Linux? Can i install it on linux? Mark Peter -


I can't find a written reference, but I believe I was told by a LiteSpeed rep that copying the extractor.exe utility to another system is not considered a license violation. This utility reads LiteSpeed backup files and converts them to standard SQL Server backup files that can be restored with normal T-SQL RESTORE commands. This utility will run after a simple copy to another server without requiring a product install or license codes. You can also create "doubleclick" backups with LiteSpeed that are like self-extracting Zip files; they can only be created on a system with a licensed install of LiteSpeed but they can be read by any other system. They are executable files with the extractor.exe utility built-in. I don't have any experience with clustering issues, but they did not hesitate to give us an 8-CPU license for a server with 2 dual-core hyperthreaded processors when we only paid for 2 CPUs.


We recently upgraded to SQL Server 05, and are using LiteSpeed to backup/restore our databases nightly. LiteSpeed shrunk every databases backup between approx. 85-90% (30 gigs down to 3 gigs or so) and the backup times from 2 hours to 25 minutes. Our backup window is now much shorter now thanks to LiteSpeed. Great product!


as soon as they get MS SQL Server running on Linux, I'm sure they'll work on porting Litespeed too :)


Yes, I don't have the docs in front of me, but we had a process and documentation to do restores using just the extractor. But if my backup solution is because backing up and restoring times with native SQL server tools are prohibitive, and the DR solution is to revert to that native tool....then I start looking for a better solution. If using native SQL bakcup was an acceptable option, we would have just stayed with native sql backups. Yes you can install a license for more CPUs that you own. And we did that too, but the install somehow registers how many CPUs you are installing, and then at the fail over, your tool becomes unusable until you reinstall and have an argument with a confused Quest support tech. We disabled the hyper threading, as at that time SQL server 2000 had problems with dealing with the L1 cache on hyper threaded processors, but we use it now, but have moved to Redgate for our backups. They don't care how many CPUs we have, but each node gets its own license.


Just curious, how does it perform when you need to restore.. Seems counter-intuitive that compressing more would also be faster.. --KTFA


Restore times can be up to 70% faster than native. The improvements come from a few areas: Reduced disk IO is one. A previous poster mentioned their 30GB native to 3GB compression on backup. The improvements here on backup are in reduced Disk IO Writes. That is, only 3GB needs to be written as opposed to 30GB. The same applies on the restore side. When restoring, SQL Server only needs to read 3GB of data rather than 30GB (reduced Disk IO Reads) and this can significantly improve recovery times. There are also benefits of compression when using tape. When restoring from a backup on tape, you normally pull that backup off the tape and stage it on disk. And you can do this much more quickly if the backup is compressed. There's also a third benefit: That is, you can more easily keep more backups available on disk because of the reduced disk space you get with compression. That means that it is less likely you'll need to go to tape inthe first place to get the backup file to restore.

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