Thursday, June 18, 2009

Make sure data is good then backup

As it is important to backup data it is just as important to verify that your data is good. I have been called to the scene of a server crash several times in hopes of having me get the database back up and running by using their backups only to find that the backups of their database are corrupt.
This is not a good situation to be in and often times leads to data loss with employees having to enter months of work back into the database.
So make sure you have a good backup plan. You should have "verify backup" enabled on your backup jobs. That will not secure you yet but will insure that at least your backup file is good. It will not insure that your data is not corrupt. To do that you will need to run database maintenance checks that check the database for inconsistencies weekly if not nightly. That is where my company comes in handy. We can insure your data is good and create nightly or weekly checks of your database to make sure it is not being corrupted.

Now how does corruption happen. So many times I hear "I was just using my database yesterday and today the server crashed and now it is corrupt". Well one scenario that I have run into more than once is that a hard drive controller has failed and that is what has caused the database to become corrupted. Usually on a mirrored or stripped set of hard drives this occurs more frequently. The controller starts placing things in the wrong area of the drive and forgets where it put it and this is what causes the corruption. (very simply explained)

I have seen businesses lose countless hours of work and money by not having regular backups and maintenance done on databases. So much money and time could have been saved if just two simple things where occurring: backup and database integrity checks.

John Ledyard
IT Consultant
Ledyard Consulting
(916) 715-8328

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