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DBA Hell

On the first day of DBA hell, the server gave to me
A database with damaged system tables and no good backups (1)

On the second day of DBA hell, the server gave to me
Two databases with widespread corruption, no backups (1, 2)

On the third day of DBA hell, the server gave to me
Three suspect databases, no backups (1,2,3)

On the fourth day of DBA hell, the server gave me nothing, cause I didn’t have a job any longer…

How does one end up with a critical production database that has no backups? I could kinda understand if the backups were damaged, if the corruption went undetected for long enough that it was in the backups as well, but to have no backups at all? Of an important database?

The only excuse for having no backups is if the database can be trivially and completely recreated from another source with minimal impact to the users. This is not the normal scenario.

There’s an immense amount of information available on backup and restore strategies.

That’s just a quick list, there’s far more information available than that. Enough that there’s really no good excuse to not have backups when they’re needed.

As Steve Jones (blog|twitter) is fond of saying “Good backup, good resume. You only need one”


Posted by Jason Brimhall on 15 June 2010

I was hoping you would do the whole 12 days of Christmas song with this topic.

4 days without a backup and failing systems is a long time to let somebody fiddle and fuddle their way through it.  The day shouldn't be ending until the systems are back up.

Posted by Seth Phelabaum on 15 June 2010

I'm somewhat skeptical that someone who didn't have a good backup (unless it was due to undetected corruption as you mentioned) would have a good resume either =).

Posted by Steve Jones on 16 June 2010

What a week! I have had similar situations, and they haven't been my favorite jobs.

I agree with you, how can you not have backups in production?

Posted by GilaMonster on 17 June 2010

This topic was inspired by a Monday morning a couple weeks ago when, between here and SQLTeam, there were 5 different suspect/corrupt database threads, not one had a backup.

Jason, I'm contemplating doing a 12 days of performance hell article, maybe end this year, maybe not. Couldn't do it on this topic, there's (fortunately) not that many examples of this on the forums.

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