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Can a SQL Server database be recovered from a non-sql aware server image?

Posted on 2016-10-26
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Last Modified: 2016-10-27
A network administrator for a client used a system image backup process that was not SQL Server aware.   The customer inadvertently destroyed their SQL Server database and they are left with an actual SQL Server backup from May 2016 and the image files.  Is there an possibility of recovering the MDF and LDF files as a valid image to recover this database?
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Question by:Tim Ragan
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Assisted Solution

by:John Tsioumpris
John Tsioumpris earned 125 total points
ID: 41861587
I guess the first thing to do is to try it...Just mount the image (it will show as another disk in your explorer) and find the .MDF/LDF file..
Copy them to Data directory of your SQL server (its the directory where master database is located)
Then use the option "Attach" to find and use your files.
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by:mbkitmgr
mbkitmgr earned 125 total points
ID: 41861664
I agree with John, extract a copy of the files relating to the Db in question and try to mount it.
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Vitor Montalvão earned 250 total points
ID: 41861713
Is there an possibility of recovering the MDF and LDF files as a valid image to recover this database?
There's always possibility to things go well but in this case LDF file must be backed up correctly with no open transactions to keep the data integrity.
As the Experts stated above you can only know that after restoring. There's no other way to check that from an image file, I guess.
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Author Comment

by:Tim Ragan
ID: 41862068
Thanks everyone.  I had them get the MDF/LDF files and try them before I posted the question last night.  I've never had a customer who had no SQL specific backup process in place.  Their network admin "assumed" his daily service imaging was protecting everything.  I'm guessing they have not lost 6 months of data.  Wow.
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LVL 49

Expert Comment

by:Vitor Montalvão
ID: 41862078
Nowadays is quite acceptable to not have native SQL Server backups if you're using a good image backup tool. There are very good tools that can deal very well with SQL Server log files. They basically stops guarantee a checkpoint of the log files to allow the snapshot. This operation is so fast (micro or milliseconds) that you can't see the impact in the database.
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Author Closing Comment

by:Tim Ragan
ID: 41862423
All input appreciated!  I think this customer is in a pretty bad place.
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