Backing Up a Database with Memory-Optimized Tables

THIS TOPIC APPLIES TO: yesSQL ServernoAzure SQL DatabasenoAzure SQL Data Warehouse noParallel Data Warehouse

Memory-optimized tables are backed up as part of regular database backups. As for disk-based tables, the CHECKSUM of data and delta file pairs is validated as part of the database backup to detect storage corruption.


During a backup, if you detect a CHECKSUM error in one or more files in a memory-optimized filegroup, the backup operation fails. In that situation, you must restore your database from the last known good backup.

If you don’t have a backup, you can export the data from memory-optimized tables and disk-based tables and reload after you drop and recreate the database.

A full backup of a database with one or more memory-optimized tables consists of the allocated storage for disk-based tables (if any), the active transaction log, and the data and delta file pairs (also known as checkpoint file pairs) for memory-optimized tables. However, as described in Durability for Memory-Optimized Tables, the storage used by memory-optimized tables can be much larger than its size in memory, and it affects the size of the database backup.

Full Database Backup

This discussion focuses on database backups for databases with only durable memory-optimized tables, because the backup for disk-based tables is the same. The checkpoint file pairs in the memory-optimized filegroup could be in various states. The table below describes what part of the files is backed up.

Checkpoint File Pair State Backup
PRECREATED File metadata only
UNDER CONSTRUCTION File metadata only
ACTIVE File metadata plus used bytes
MERGE TARGET File metadata only
WAITING FOR LOG TRUNCATION File metadata plus used bytes

For descriptions of the states for checkpoint file pairs, see sys.dm_db_xtp_checkpoint_files (Transact-SQL), and its column state_desc.

The size of database backups with one or more memory-optimized tables is typically larger than its size in memory, but smaller than its on-disk storage. The extra size depends on the number of deleted rows, among other factors.

Estimating Size of Full Database Backup


It’s recommended that you not use the BackupSizeInBytes value to estimate the backup size for In-Memory OLTP.

The first workload scenario is for (mostly) insert. In this scenario, most data files are in the Active state, fully loaded, and with very few deleted rows. The size of database backup up is close to the size of data in memory.

The second workload scenario is for frequent insert, delete, and update operations. In the worst case, each of the checkpoint file pairs are 50% loaded, after accounting for the deleted rows. The size of the database backup will at least be 2 times the size of data in memory.

Differential Backups of Databases with Memory-Optimized Tables

The storage for memory-optimized tables consists of data and delta files as described in Durability for Memory-Optimized Tables. The differential backup of a database with memory-optimized tables contains the following data:

  • Differential backup for filegroups storing disk-based tables is not affected by the presence of memory-optimized tables.

  • The active transaction log is the same as in a full database backup.

  • For a memory-optimized data filegroup, the differential backup uses the same algorithm as full database backup to identify the data and delta files for backup but it then filters out the subset of files as follows:

    • A data file contains newly inserted rows, and when it is full it is closed and marked read-only. A data file is backed up only if it was closed after the last full database backup. The differential backup only backs up data files containing the rows inserted since the last full database backup. An exception is an update and delete scenario where it is possible that some of the inserted rows may have already been either marked for garbage collection or already garbage collected.

    • A delta file stores references to the deleted data rows. Since any future transaction can delete a row, a delta file can be modified anytime in its life time, it is never closed. A delta file is always backed up. Delta files typically use less than 10% of the storage, so delta files have a minimal impact on the size of differential backup.

    If memory-optimized tables are a significant portion of your database size, the differential backup can significantly reduce the size of your database backup. For typical OLTP workloads, the differential backups will be considerably smaller than the full database backups.

See Also

Backup, Restore, and Recovery of Memory-Optimized Tables