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By Steve Jones, sent me a note recently asking about how to handle unexpected downtime. In an editorial I mentioned that a 7TB database isn't that large, and this person told me that they had an issue with a 1TB database and running DBCC resulted in a 4 hours of unexpected downtime. The person asked if small businesses needed to accept downtime for serious maintenance.

I think that it's rare you run into DBCC issues that require downtime, but when you do, then that downtime is needed. I'm not sure what else you can do since DBCC repair issues often indicate some fundamental hardware issue. I suppose that you could move to new hardware, but you still need to ensure that your database is intact and working.

A restore from backup might be quicker in these situations, but that will requires some downtime, and it's something that you have to live with. We still have systems that will fail and need rebuilding, and probably always will.

I know some companies can afford redundant hardware and failover to secondary systems when they need to check their primary servers. A second copy of the database may or may not allow you to continue to function if you had corrupt pages on your primary, depending on how the data is moved over.

Most of us, however, just have to live with downtime. If anyone has other ideas or stories on dealing with unexpected maintenance downtime, I would be interested in hearing them in the discussion below.

Steve Jones

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Steve Jones