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Data Loss or Downtime

By Steve Jones,

This editorial was originally published on Jan 7, 2011. It is being re-run as Steve is on vacation.

I was watching Kimberly Tripp of SQL Skills talk recently about VLDB disasters and how to recover from them. One of the first things she said in the session was getting a damaged database back online, even without all of the data, was important. Often her clients need to keep working, and it is important that they get the system back online, even without all the data. This allows business applications and business people to get back to work.

That is interesting. I had always thought of my production OLTP databases as needing to be online, but also needing all the critical data. After Mrs. Tripp's talk, I had to rethink that a bit and consider that a little data loss might be acceptable.

To me this is a topic that is worth understanding. At the very least, it will help you make decisions in the event of some disaster for how you will proceed. So for this Friday's poll:

What is more important to you: downtime or data loss?

My feeling is that most of the people would really rather have the database online, even without all the data so they can continue to work. I realized that most of the time, getting the site back up, having lookup and other types of ancillary data (like products, prices, etc), was the most important thing. Recovering other data such as older orders, was secondary.

Once the database is up, you can then work on getting other data back and merging it into the production system.

Let us know what you think this Friday and what's more important to your business (and why).

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