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Lost Encryption Key

Lost Encryption Key

David Russell
David Russell
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I was hired Monday because a customer's SSRS stopped working after another vendor attempted a production installation and had to back out their changes. The system previously was populated with a menu hierarchy by department. When I got there the Report Server home page would only show down to the orange/blue line. There were no controls available. After restarting the services we were able to get the controls visible for home, my subscriptions and help, plus the one below the line for admin. Somewhere in my investigation I saw the name "Tutorial" DB.

I was able to navigate and added a folder, went through the admin menus, etc. No customer department menus or reports available.

There was a key in SSRS, and I took a backup of it, supplying my own password. But the key may not have been the same key used by the system everyday before the failure. The vendor may have changed or deleted the key and created a new one. They definitely did not "restore" one, as there was not one to restore.

On day two I requested a VM. It was created with Server 2003 SP2 and SS 2005. I patched it to the production level 9.0.3080 and restored the ReportServer DB (only) from the backup the day before.

The VM system works almost identically, and oddly enough, includes the single folder I had made Monday night at 6:13 PM... the day before the VM was created. The ReportServer DB clearly has more data in it than the production DB (as viewed through SQL Server); but, the menus by department and reports are not there in SSRS.

I have reverted the VM snapshot to original and will re-patch this morning, and using Backup Exec, will restore both ReportServer and ReportServerTempDB, to see if that makes a difference.

Not sure what the next step will be. I believe my problem centers around not having a key. Does anyone have suggestions or tips for me?

Later that same day...

The problem has been resolved on the VM. Immediately after the restore of ReportServer and ReportServerTempDB (and after services stated) in the key configuration, entered <delete> and immediately "restored" the key I had saved from production.

All reports were available but requiring user authentication. Nothing else was lost when "deleting" the key... loosly identified as "the encrypted data in the DB" rather than specifically "authentication" identities.

Everything I read online told me that I did not want to "delete" that key. In the end, it was probably the only way.

Reporting Services Scriptor was a very useful tool, while it would not work against a database with no key, it clearly told me what had failed to work,why, and what to do about it. My hats off to Jasper Smith for making this tool available.

Lots of fun being here today. Haven't worked on SQL in ages, and probably won't work on it again for ages.

David Russell
Any Cloud, Any Database, Oracle since 1982


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