Every SQL database needs a solid recovery plan. As the database administrator, it’s up to you to know enough about the real-time status of the SQL service and also to have a strategy in place in case you’re in need of a backup. You never know what will happen 100%, and things can go wrong quickly.

If your backup plan isn’t up to par, you could risk losing all of your data. That’s not something that you should ever put at risk, so here are the best strategies for planning an SQL database recovery.

Why Do You Need a Backup Plan?

First, let’s talk about why you need a recovery plan for your SQL database. Whenever you work with a SQL Server, you could always face some kind of data loss. You could experience low disk space, disk failure, a network disruption, etc. Basically, there are a number of things that can go wrong with either your computer or the database itself. 

Having a revery plan means that if something does go wrong, you have a copy of your database to restore from. It’s a way to minimize any loss and maximize just how much data you have available. When you’re creating your database recovery strategy, keep in mind you’re planning for the worst. While you never want to actually need to put your plan into action, it’s worth the peace of mind. 

Backup Options for Your SQL Database

In an MS SQL Server, there are 3 primary options for backups:

  • Full backup – A full backup, as the name implies, is a complete backup of the entire database. It includes logs as well, and it enables point-in-time to recover. This is the largest backup to store.  
  • Differential Backups – This type of backup only backs up any changes since the last backup, effectively saving space. 
  • Transitional Log Backups – Finally, these help minimize work-loss exposure and truncate the transaction log. They can be used in Full or Bulk-Logged recovery mode. 

So how do you choose which is best for you? Most likely, you’ll decide on a healthy mix. You’ll need to consider when your application or database is more actively used to schedule your backups during downtimes, and also the frequency of updates. 

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Recovery Plans

Now that we understand the types of backups, it’s time to talk about recovery strategies. Taking the time to understand these in advance will help you make a smarter decision. Remember, it’s about being prepared for anything. 

  • Restore from another SQL Server – The first option is to restore your database from another SQL Server where you’ve stored a backup copy. To do this, you’ll use a T-SQL command such as RESTORE HEADERONLY. This is used to check what’s in the backup file so you can do a full restore.
  •  Same-Server Restore – Another option is to restore a database from the same server. To do this, you’ll use the Enterprise Manager. Within your Enterprise Manager, right click on the database you need to restore and select All Tasks. From here, you’ll have the option to both Backup and Restore. 
  •  MirroringMirroring is a popular option in which you create a mirror image of your database on another server. Then, it’s automatically transferred from your primary Server to your secondary Server.


As you can see, you have options for both simple and complex backup and restore with your SQL Database. While you’ll hopefully never need any of these strategies above, it’s important you keep them in mind as you move forward with your application. 

No matter how strong of a programmer you are, things still go wrong. Sometimes these things are out of our control. That’s why it’s important to have these plans in place in case you need to restore data. Your data is valuable, so don’t risk it.

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Ashley Lipman

Ashley is an award-winning writer who discovered her passion for providing technology insights to help building brands online. Since her first high school award in Creative Writing, she continues to deliver specialist content for various technological areas.

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