Corruption, corruption, more corruption

July 18, 2015

No, not in my systems.

Corruption does happen from time to time. At LobsterPot Solutions we get calls from people now and then who have corruption in their databases, that want help getting them repaired. Generally, it’s not too much of a problem, although I’ve seen some doozies over time. (And if you need help, get in touch!)

Interestingly, I don’t think many DBAs practise solving corruption issues very often. They might test restores, and even test getting data back from a salvaged LDF file, but rarely would they test any of the stranger corruption scenarios. I’ve never put it on a high priority – I know lots of ways to get data out of tables, and know how to get data out of pages using DBCC PAGE… but I wouldn’t say that I practise solving corruption very often. There are so many different ways that a database can become corrupted, and 99% of the time, the data can be salvaged using some very standard approaches.

So it was good to see Steve Stedman (@SQLEmt) run a series of Corruption Challenges – ten corrupt databases, all of which could be repaired without data loss, but never using the standard DBCC CHECKDB repair option. I noticed the first one part way into the allotted time, and thought it would be a useful exercise to see if I could solve them all. Let’s face it – when someone gets in touch because they have a problem, they want to be reassured that they’re dealing with someone who knows what they’re doing.

All ten challenges have now appeared, and not only have I solved every one of them – a feat only shared by Andre Kamman of the Netherlands and Neil Abrahams of the UK – but I’ve also won three of the events, more than anyone else, allowing me to finish top of the scoreboard!

Winning the competition was never my intention – I’m just pleased to have been able to know that there were no challenges that beat me, which hopefully means that my customers are still in capable hands.

My challenge to you is to grab the ten databases that Steve has made available, and without looking at the solutions that are all posted, see how you go. At the very least it will be good practice for when you have to deal with the real thing.


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