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Disaster Recovery - An Afterthought?

By Steve Jones,

It seems that as I read through articles and blogs on any particular week, there are themes that seem to run through them. Perhaps it's one person feeding off another, but I notice that there are weeks where one subject receives a lot of attention. This past week that subject seemed to be disaster recovery.

I got inspired by Aaron Bertrand's post on disaster recovery and how many people set up SQL Server, assuming it will just run like Word or Excel, and go along blissfully until their log fills the disk drive. That might be the most common problem with SQL Server, and to me it says that the defaults are possibly not correct. Perhaps an install of SQL Server should include asking for a backup folder, warning if it's the same drive as the data folder, and then setting up automatic full and log backups for a database. This could be something advanced people turn off, but I really think the defaults should cover the 80% of the cases, which is not having a clue for many people.

I also stumbled upon Tibor Karaszi's post on issues with filegroup backups. In that one he notes the question "Why do you want to do a table level restore?"

That's a common question, and I've often answered it "because I deleted data!" Yes, I've made my share of mistakes, even in production, and being able to recover that data is great. A log tool would work as well, and I might prefer that, but the point is that mistakes will happen. Things will go wrong, and not just with hardware. I would venture to guess that most mistakes are the result of human error, not computational machinery failing.

If that's the case, then you ought to have a procedure in place to recover your SQL Server. Maybe you use checklists, as Allen White recommends, or maybe you have detailed procedures, but once you start to depend on a server, any type of server, you ought to be able to recover it. You are one patch, one drive failure, one wrong click away from ruining your server.

It rarely happens, but it does happen. And I'm sure you don't want to be the person that has to explain to a client why they've lost data and can't recover it.

Steve Jones

Steve's Pick of the Week

Revive Your User Group - There was a time where I questioned whether user groups were an anachronistic way of transferring information between people with the explosion of the Internet. I think the explosion of social media, and more real time interaction shows that we still hunger for time with others. This week MVP Joe Webb gives us a great post on some ideas that might help you grow your local user group.

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Steve Jones