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The Voice of the DBA

Daily Coping Tip

Ask someone how they feel and really listen to their reply

I also have a thread at SQLServerCentral dealing with coping mechanisms and resources. Feel free to participate.

For many of you out there working in a new way, I'm including a thought of the day on how to cope in this challenging time from The Action for Happiness Coping Calendar. My items will be on my blog, feel free to share yours.

Losing All Traces of Data

This editorial was originally published on 28 Apr 2016. It is being re-run as Steve is on vacation.

I was reading a thriller recently, in which a businessperson had their child threatened if they didn't get some data for the criminals. Once the person had retrieved the data, they were told to delete it from the system and from all backups. Of course, they could do this, all in a few paragraphs of a novel. I'm sure plenty of lay people read this passage and accepted it as a possibility

While I certainly understand how a user might be able to delete data from a system, especially in many third party applications that are poorly written but have sold well. However, could someone actually delete all information from backups? I'd say that in most of the companies I've worked in, this wouldn't be possible. If the information was of any age, it would be stored in multiple locations on different media, some of which would be offline.

However I haven't worked lately in some enterprises where companies have moved to using disk backups, with systems connected together and managing versions. I suspect that it is possible in some of these enterprises to actually remove all traces of data from the organization, which isn't what I'd ever want possible. If for no other reason than this is an incredible attack vector for ransomware, a malicious virus, or some other destructive process (including rm -rf). There's also the issue of mistakes made by users; should they be able to remove all traces of data?

There may be valid reasons to remove all copies of data from an organization, especially when some time has passed. However I think this should be a difficult process, have some hurdles to overcome, not the least of which is physical access, and should require multiple people to approve the actions. As we connect more and more systems, and rely on data being available, allowing anyone to permanently remove data without oversight will become a problem.

Steve Jones - SSC Editor

Join the debate, and respond to today's editorial on the forums

  Featured Contents

TOP vs Max/Min: Is there a difference?

Mike Byrd from

Is there a difference between using TOP and MAX/MIN to return and end value to a table?

How to Get Started with SQL Server Management Studio

Additional Articles from Brent Ozar Unlimited Blog

Learn How to Get Started with SQL Server Management Studio with Brent Ozar.

From the SQL Server Central Blogs - Without PASS, Our Community is Worse Off

Steve Jones - SSC Editor from The Voice of the DBA

This year the PASS Summit is virtual. I’m speaking, as a donation, and Monica Rathbun has written some thoughts on the event. I’m hoping that attendance is high enough...

From the SQL Server Central Blogs - [Coping] The Five Minute Journal

K. Brian Kelley from Databases – Infrastructure – Security

Reading Steve Jones’ posts about daily coping and seeing how it has affected me in a positive way, I’ve decided to share some of the things I’ve done to...


  Question of the Day

Today's question (by Steve Jones - SSC Editor):


BDC Orchestration

What technology is used to orchestrate the various components of a BDC (Big Data Cluster)?

Think you know the answer? Click here, and find out if you are right.



  Yesterday's Question of the Day (by Steve Jones - SSC Editor)

Backing up a File for an offline filegroup

I have a database on SQL Server 2019 that has two filegroups. In the Archive filegroup, I have three files: FGArchive1, FGArchive2, and FGArchive3. I take Archive 1 offline with this code:


What happens if I try to run a backup of this file with this code?

TO  DISK = N'D:\SQLBackup\FGARchive2.bak' 


Answer: The file backup completes

Explanation: This completes successfully. Ref: Full File Backups -  

Discuss this question and answer on the forums




Database Pros Who Need Your Help

Here's a few of the new posts today on the forums. To see more, visit the forums.

SQL Server 2017 - Administration
How to get drive space using Queries on SQL Server hosted on Linux - Hi, I need to get the free drive space details on SQL Server using queries, this server is hosted on a Linux Server. Require a query to give drive free space details. Thanks
SQL Server 2017 - Development
Unable to debug a sproc - I'm trying to debug an SP in visual studio 2019 (what a palava! bring back this ability in SSMS please!!) Anyways. I have created a connection to the DB and tested successfully. Now I add a script to the project and this contains my exec SPname code. Next I select execute with debugger and […]
SQL Server 2016 - Administration
Cannot insert duplicate key in object - In table tUSERI primary key was added in the column [Email]. I deleted a user from tUSER. When I try to add the same user got the following error. What causes the error? Please help clean and update the table tUSER. Violation of PRIMARY KEY constraint 'PK_tuser_2'. Cannot insert duplicate key in object […]
Much lines from soms in audit - I had the requirement to put on auditing. I made the server specifications, put in a file, and read the file info a database only the security officer can read. But now he sees too much. Every action in ssms is put in the database. The activity monitor is one of the worst. Can I […]
Availability groups - licencing considerations - Hi all   I'm trying to my facts in a row before I go to managers with this one.   We have one copy of our production data (from the software vendor) on server A (I know, it's the only copy and I've been shouting about that forever). What we want to do is set […]
Folders in C:\Users - are they really needed? - I have some time on my hands (sadly) and am using some of it to clean up my computer. The computer in question runs Windows 7 (no, 'upgrading' to Windows 10 is not an option) and I have used it for many years. Over time, I have installed at least three versions of MS SQL, […]
SQL Server 2016 - Development and T-SQL
Flattening XML - I'm sure this has been asked a 1000 times before, but every example I've seen works great, but doesn't seem to translate well into my XML format - I have no control over the XML I have the following XML: DECLARE @xml XML = '
Column Level Collation Japanese_90_CI_AS_WS - Having issues getting the column level collation to function. The default collation of the database is SQL_Latin1_General_CP1_CI_AS. Inserted the following characters below ??? into the table and render as ??? as expected. I altered the column collation to Japanese_90_CI_AS_WS and yet to get it to render properly. I am able to get the characters to […]
Is there a tool to automate SQL tuning and review? - I am looking for a tool that reviews and tunes SQL queries automatically. Does Microsoft or a 3rd party vendor have such a tool? Ideally such a tools could be used to automate this process fully. If it could perform standards checking that would be even better. Any ideas?
Development - SQL Server 2014
Previous row where condition exists - Hello, I have a table of data in which I've identified some duplicate records.  I need to pull all of the duplicate records for someone to review.  My problem is that I'm only able to pull one of the duplicates and not both.  The sample below just includes those values which are actually matching (duplicates) […]
SQL 2012 - General
Why aren't the backups working? - You've heard of "the accidental DBA", right? Well, I'm the accidental TFS admin. I have a bit more knowledge of TFS, than the average developer, ergo when the former TFS admin left, I got stuck with it. But my question is more about SQL Server, than TFS. Our TFS backups haven't worked in over a […]
SQL Server 2019 - Development
Is there a version of SQL Server that does automatic SQL tuning? - Is there a version of SQL Server that does automatic SQL tuning? I am also looking for automatic index creation based on queries executed. I know the query store from SQL Server 2016. I am sure that many things have changed since 2016. Any suggestions?
SQL Azure - Development
Create a User in Azure SQL Database - I need to create a user in Azure SQL Database and map the user to a specific database. does anyone have the syntax to make this happen? The GUI is restricted and you cant do it as you would in SSMS on-prem as you cant view the properties. Also I am after a decent script […]
General Cloud Computing Questions
Career advancement in cloud - I am a SQL server administrator with 5 years of pure DBA experience. I am planning to get trained into cloud like Azure or AWS or any other cloud technology where there is a future growth. Can someone guide me which patch to take, is it Azure or AWS. Since i am an administrator i […]
Analysis Services
Random excessive CPU consumption - Hi all. I'm in a bit of a quandary with one of our Analysis Services servers, and I'm hoping you may have some suggestions on how to solve our issue. Basically we have 7 Cube servers, all with identical system specs. Startup log: (8/6/2020 11:23:20 AM) Message: Service stopped. (Source: \\?\R:\Analysis\Log\msmdsrv.log, Type: 1, Category: 289, […]


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