This is an updated version of my blog entry "SQL Server Data Consistency Levels with VCB Backups" from more than a year ago, and vSphere 4.1 and the VMware vStorage APIs for Data Protection have changed things up a bit.
The chart below summarizes the current state of data consistency levels, when using VMware vStorage APIs for Data Protection with vSphere 4.1 for Windows/SQL Server backups.
|SQL 7||SQL 2000||SQL 2005||SQL 2005 SP2||SQL 2008|
|Windows 2000||Crash Consistent||Crash Consistent||Crash Consistent||Crash Consistent||Not Supported|
|Windows 2003||Crash Consistent||Application Consistent||Application Consistent||Application Consistent||Application Consistent|
|Windows 2008||Not Supported||Not Supported||Not Supported||Application Consistent||Application Consistent|
Microsoft does not support this combination of Windows and SQL Server. A combination unsupported by Microsoft.
This is the state in which a system would be found after a system failure or power outage.
This is the state in which all databases are in-synch and represent the true status of the application. In the table above, the light green represents a software snapshot provider (Windows 2003) and the dark green represents a hardware snapshot provider (Windows 2008).
As with all things backup, you should always verify the restores periodically to ensure the intended result can/will be achieved.
Note: This information is valid as of May 17, 2011 for VMware vStorage APIs for Data Protection and vSphere 4.1 editions.
As always, thanks for reading.