Human Error: The Root Cause of SQL Server Restore Requests

Wednesday, April 22, 2015 by Ben Blomberg

There are lots of ways to lose data – That’s why we have things like World Backup Day, but what’s the one sure-fire data loss technique that is continually at the top of the list?  Human error, of course. It’s us. We’re the problem.  If all technology could become self-aware and run unassisted, we’d never have an issue, right?

In recent survey we conducted with 300 DBAs and developers, one of the questions asked was regarding the primary reasons for a SQL Server recovery.  An overwhelming majority, 87 percent of respondents, confirmed human error is the root cause of most backup recovery requests.  Whether it was accidental deletion, development errors or erroneous overwrites, these factors add hours of recovery time for DBAs, which is time taken away from addressing other critical responsibilities.

Another interesting finding from the survey was that respondents reported receiving almost twice as many requests to restore data from test and development environments as compared to production environments. This makes sense when you think about it. Developers are continually trying out new things in Test/ Dev environments, making them highly iterative, but less stable. Respondents also told us that on a monthly basis, 50 percent of them handle between one and five development and test restore requests, nearly 20 percent handle between six and ten requests, and 15 percent tackle more than ten requests each month. With these database table restorations taking upwards of an hour to complete, leveraging efficient technologies to reduce restoration time is key to saving time and money.

Ultimately, the time and effort of repeatedly restoring an entire backup is not really necessary.  In most cases, only a single table or table contents are needed.  This is where Ontrack® PowerControls™ for SQL becomes an incredibly valuable tool for a DBA or developer.  It allows them to search and restore SQL tables in seconds, not hours, without having to restore the entire database or use SQL to read the backups. Once the table is found, drag and drop it back into the desired environment.

The 8.1 release of Ontrack PowerControls adds functionality to support compressed SQL Server backups in addition to native backups and storage tier snapshots, giving users the ability to open and restore tables from compressed backups. The new version also includes support for Microsoft SQL Server 2005, 2008, 2008 R2, 2012 and 2014, allowing users to run the software for applications that may run on different versions of SQL Server.

The Free Trial installs easily in just minutes.  See for yourself how much time you can save!