During my job at National Database and Registration Authority of Pakistan (NADRA), i was accustomed to create database backups directly on mapped network drives. We have a domain configured at NSRCs with SQL Server 2000. Fore servers with single disk, it becomes very efficient by preventing the local server disk IO. Now while working with SQL Server 2005 installed on windows server 2003 work group. i was required to create an adhoc backup during peak hours. For optimized IO i tried to use mapped network drive for creating backup on it directly. But surprisingly mapped network drive was neither available in SSMS backup location explorer nor through T-SQL backup statement. Error message was being generated.
Same statement was working successfully for any location other than mapped network drive. Keeping in view my previous experience with SQL Server 2000 on domain i was not expecting any problem in this task. However after some time i realized that network drive is not available as backup device.
Next option was BOL and Google. There i came to know that mapped network drives are available for backups only when your SQL Server service is running under domain account that has access to mapped network drive.
Without a privileged domain account as start up account of SQL Server service, mapped network drives cannot be accessed from within SQL Server context for backup or restore process.