Printed 2017/08/19 11:12AM

DBA 101: Why Don’t People Run Backups

By Grant Fritchey, 2011/02/13

It happened multiple times this week. It happens multiple times every week. Some poor soul is posting on a message board, usually with the heading “URGENT” (why that one word so frequently, I just don’t know), that they deleted production data/dropped a production table/updated production data/dropped a database/received data corruption error/whatever. Now, they need to get the data back. “URGENT, What do I do now?” And so you ask, as you should, what kind of backups do you have? Over and over the answer is: “Backups? What’s a backup” or “Oh, the system guys backup of the MDF files every night” or “We don’t really need those” or “We don’t have room to back up our databases” or some other excuse that simple comes down to, we didn’t set up backups and are now in a world of extreme pain.

Why? Why aren’t you running backups? I’ve thought about it and thought about it and I just can’t for the life of me understand why. I mean, there are lots of excuses, and the only one I find remotely acceptable is the “accidental DBA” excuse. “I just got handed these responsibilities and I’m finding out the hard way what that means.” Those people, I do feel sorry for. The rest of you… no excuse. Oh, you’re a developer and didn’t think that backups were necessary? Really? Do you put your code into a source control management system? Yes, of course you do because you’re a good developer. Why is that? Because you need a copy of the code in case something goes wrong…. wait for it…. Yes! That’s right. Same thing as a database backup. You say you’ve been working with databases for 3-5 years but you’ve never even heard of backups? But you’re reading this blog somehow and I’ll bet you read other blogs and you go to SQL Server Central or StackOverflow when you have questions. You see the phrase “backup” repeated in all these places over and over again, yet you don’t know what it is? Nope. Sorry, not buying it.

People, a lack of a solid full backup is absolutely a RGE (Resume Generating Event) waiting to happen. Stuff goes wrong. Remember the engineering maxim, Murphy was an optimist (for the truly lost, Murphy’s Law).

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