How to Recover Your SQL Database

A catastrophic server failure and a substantial data loss are every server administrator’s worst nightmares. Even with a comprehensive backup in place, the task of restoring a production server from a backup image is still tedious at best. It is an even bigger nightmare when there is no up-to-date backup present.

That said, there are several ways a failed or broken SQL database can be recovered. If you are facing this type of situation, here are the steps and options you can take to recover your SQL database.

A Quick Rescue

Before you continue with other steps, make sure you do a thorough assessment of the situation. Is the SQL server inaccessible because of a server failure? Can you still access the actual files that contain database? Is it a hardware failure and a total data loss?

If you are dealing with a server problem, chances are you can still access the database files manually. An SQL database is stored in two primary files: an MDF file and an LDF file. The MDF file is where all of the information about the database structure and data are stored. The LDF file, on the other hand, is a log file that documents changes.

Secure these two files as soon as possible if you can still access them. Restoring your SQL database when you have a copy of these files is easier than you think since it is just a matter of importing the database to a new, working SQL server.

If these files are missing or you can’t access them manually, on the other hand, you need to take an extra step to retrieve them.

Data Recovery

Recovering MDF and LDF files is very similar to the process of recovering other types of files in the event of a hard drive failure. This isn’t something you can do yourself since most consumer-level recovery software isn’t capable of recognizing and recovering MDF and LDF files properly. Instead of risking damaging the files further, it is best to leave data recovery to professionals.

Data recovery experts can even handle a more severe case. Let’s say the physical hard drive is burnt or the magnetic head is completely broken. Data can still be recovered by accessing the platters of the drive directly. The chances of recovering your SQL database is also higher when enterprise-grade methods are used.

SQL Database Recovery

To simplify the whole process of recovering your database, you can also rely on professional database recovery services. These services will do everything that is needed to get your database restored safely, eliminating the need to manually restore files yourself. More importantly, most SQL database recovery can be done remotely, so the entire process of recovering your database can be done in a matter of hours – even minutes.

Thanks to the much-improved recovery technology and the services you can now access, dealing with a catastrophic SQL server failure is not as frightening as it used to be. There are plenty of options you can use to get your SQL database back up and running and your valuable data safely restored.