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SQL Server - Separate Database for Reports

What are the advantages and disdvantage to having any reports/queries running against a (very recent) copy of your production database rather than the actual production database?  

Obviously, the data in the copy/report database will be slightly old.  But what else?  Is this a good practice?

Thanks In Advance,

- Michael
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mjs082969
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mjs082969
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2 Solutions
 
Jim HornMicrosoft SQL Server Developer, Architect, and AuthorCommented:
Big advantage:  Activity generated from running reports does not interfere with production users.   Especially if in addition to reports there is a lot of ETL jobs to set output files to clients.

Time required to pull this off:  Scheduled backups, dropping old reporting databases before a restore, setting everyone's expectations about outages and when what data will be made available on the reporting databases.

Disadvantage:  Space and management, but memory is cheap.   You'll also have to figure out how to handle transactions that have begun but have not been committed at the time of the backup.

>'slightly old'.
You'll need to spell out what the client feels is acceptable timing for reports.  Does yesterday at midnight work?  Monthly?  Hourly?
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Anthony PerkinsCommented:
And even space is not a problem if you use a database snapshot.
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mjs082969Author Commented:
I have not used database snapshots extensively.  Can I ask how much space they normally take, in comparison to a copy of the database?  50%?
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Anthony PerkinsCommented:
Can I ask how much space they normally take, in comparison to a copy of the database?  50%?
Initially less than 1%.
I would suggest you start by reading Tim's blog on the subject:
Capture the reporting benefits of database snapshots in SQL Server 2005
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