[Complete Guide] What Is Database Instance and Best Practice of SQL Database Backup

Whether you're a business looking to optimize operations or a developer seeking to build dynamic applications, a database instance is the foundation upon which you can build your success.


By Crystal / Updated on June 27, 2023

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What Is an Instance in a Database

In a database, an instance refers to a single occurrence of an object or entity that is stored and managed within the database system. An instance of a database typically includes all the data, metadata, and other information necessary for the database to function properly, as well as any associated configuration settings, security permissions, and other system-level resources. In most cases, each instance of a database runs on its own server or computing environment and can be accessed independently of other instances.

Database administrators might create multiple instances of the same database for different purposes. For example, an organization with an employee’s database might have three instances:

  • Production instances: Administrators use these instances to contain live data.
  • Pre-production instances: Developers use pre-production instances to test new functionality before releasing features into production.
  • Development instances: Database developers use development instances to create new functionality before testing it in pre-production.

database instance

What is SQL Server Database Instance

An SQL Server instance refers to a running installation of the SQL Server software on a computer or server. Each SQL Server instance has its own set of system databases, configuration settings, and resources.

Having multiple instances of SQL Server on a single machine allows for better resource management, isolation of databases, and the ability to run different versions or editions of SQL Server side by side.

sql database

Difference Between Database Schema and Database Instance

Database Schema: A database schema refers to the logical structure or blueprint of a database. It defines the organization, relationships, and layout of the database objects, such as tables, views, indexes, and relationships between them. The schema defines the structure and the rules that govern the data within the database.

The schema defines the tables and their columns, data types, constraints, and relationships between tables. It provides a framework for organizing and storing data in a consistent and structured manner. Think of the schema as the design or blueprint of the database.

Database Instance: A database instance, on the other hand, refers to the running copy of a database management system (DBMS) software. It represents the actual, physical implementation of the database on a server or a computer. The instance consists of the software and the associated memory structures and processes that manage and manipulate the data.

Protect SQL Server Databases with SQL Backup Software

Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio is designed to manage SQL Server databases and includes features for backing up and restoring databases. If you want the flexibility to do more complex operations and do not want to use T-SQL scripts, then specialized SQL backup software may suit you better.

AOMEI Cyber Backup is a centralized SQL backup solution that enables you to backup and restore SQL databases flexibly. Moreover, you can enjoy the following benefits:

Easy-to-use: With the intuitive interface, it's easy to configure SQL backups without script.
Flexible Backup: Choose flexible backup methods and able to backup all the devices within LAN.
Auto Backup: Schedule SQL backups at specific intervals, such as daily, weekly, or monthly. Users can also set the time and date for each backup.
Compatibility: supports Microsoft SQL 2005-2022 including SQL Express.

To back up MSSQL databases with simple clicks, you can download the free version of AOMEI Cyber Backup and follow the guide to have a try:

Download FreewareMicrosoft SQL Server 2005-2022
Centralized and Secure SQL Backup


- Please Download proxy program and install it on to the device with SQL Server installed first. Then, click Already installed proxy and select the device.
- Next, click ... -> Authentication to validate the database instance. You can choose Windows Authentication or SQL Authentication.

choose authentication method

Schedule SQL Server database backups with AOMEI Cyber Backup

1. Installed AOMEI Cyber Backup and its agent on the server machine. Then navigate to Add Microsoft SQL device.

2. Click Create New Task to launch the task creating page. Choose backup type as Microsoft SQL Backup. As a one-stop and centralized solution, AOMEI Cyber Backup also supports auto backup of virtual machines in a highly efficient and organized manner.

create sql backup

3. Set up Schedule to run the SQL database backup Daily, Weekly or Monthly, and specify the backup method as Full, Incremental or Differential Backup.

schedule auto sql backup

4. Once it's finished, you will find it in the Backup Task tab. 

✍ While the Free Edition covers most of the VM backup needs, you can also upgrade to Premium Edition to back up more SQL Server databases and enjoy:
Backup Cleanup helps you to delete older backup version automatically and therefore save storage space.
Restore to new database: Easily restore SQL Backup to new database without complicated reinstallation or configuration.

AOMEI Cyber Backup enables you to set up auto backup schedules according to your preferred frequency, which eliminates the need for manual intervention and ensures that backups are performed consistently.


A database instance is a running copy of a database management system (DBMS) software. This article offers a complete guide about database instance. Instances allow for scalability, isolation of databases, and the ability to run different versions or editions of a DBMS.

Crystal · Editor
Crystal is an editor from AOMEI Technology. She mainly writes articles about virtual machine. She is a positive young lady likes to share articles with peolpe. Off work she loves travelling and cooking which is wonderful for life.