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Log Backup Failing–A Simple Mistake

Last week I was checking on some stuff and noticed that a couple databases were in simple mode – unusual, but not necessarily wrong, so I asked someone on the team that manages the environment about it. He said that because of the usage it wasn’t critical but they did prefer them to be set to full recovery, and then he made the change – something they have the flexibility to do without a change ticket on small changes.

Easy stuff, right?

Twenty or so minutes later I saw an alert about log backups failing. I opened it up and right away knew what had happened – he didn’t follow up the change by running a full backup, which meant the log backups for that database would continue to fail until the nightly full backup ran. In the scheme of things this is a tiny mistake. All the other logs were backed up as usual, the database was no more at risk than it had been, and the error would eventually self correct.

Calling it a mistake is probably drama, maybe better to say a glitch. Still, a not-too-painful reminder that I should have mentioned the need for a full backup, and a reminder that in the work we do even the simplest change can have an unexpected impact.


I'm Andy Warren, currently a SQL Server trainer with End to End Training. Over the past few years I've been a developer, DBA, and IT Director. I was one of the original founders of SQLServerCentral.com and helped grow that community from zero to about 300k members before deciding to move on to other ventures.


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