Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

SQL Database Recovery tool to repair corrupt MDF file

June 16, 2015 5 comments

Database is a must have requirement of every type of Business systems, weather it is for customers, accounting or product. In order to create these databases the most common database system is Microsoft’s SQL Server. Due to its robustness and dynamic system facilities, it is a highly popular solution to manage a company’s business system.

A business database itself includes valuable data as it is a result of months hard work. What if this database becomes inaccessible due to multiple causes, and lead to a situation of data loss. Therefore, it is important to know about a reliable solution that can restore even the slightest part of database. Specialized SQL recovery tools are designed to perform SQL recoveries, therefore, they are highly in demands. Stellar Phoenix SQL Database Repair is one of a SQL database repair tool that gives the assurance of data recovery from damaged or corrupt SQL databases.

This review is about Stellar Phoenix SQL Database Repair product and its heights and short comings!

Disclaimer: This is not a paid review, and reflects my own experience while working with the product.

–> Testing Initiation

Stellar Phoenix SQL Database Repair is a popular product that claims to recover SQL database from all disaster scenarios. To check the higher promises of the product I have decided to check its accuracy and capabilities on one of my corrupt SQL server database, which is actually very large and highly important for me.

–> Installation Requirement Guide

Minimum system requirements for this recovery software are very normal as it needs A Pentium class processor, 1 GB of RAM, and 50 MB free disk space to be installed. This recovery tool is compatible with all the versions of SQL server, from MS SQL Server 7.0 to 2014, and all the versions of Windows operating systems, from Windows XP to 8 along with Windows Server 2003, 2008 and 2012.

When I have decided to test this product, I don’t need to setup a new system as all my system configurations fulfills all the requirements. One special quality I have noticed in this recovery application is; it automatically reconnects to the MS SQL server, in case of any disruption during the repair process to run the recovery smoothly.

–> Steps to select the database

Within few clicks you will be able to install the software on your machine. After successful installation, the main interface will show multiple menus and buttons to access various features of the software. Additionally, these various options can also be accessed through Quick Access Toolbar that is available at the top of the user interface, and can be customized accordingly.

Stellar Phoenix SQL Database Repair 1

In order to choose the database, you need to click on Select Database button and choose a MDF file that needs to be repaired and click ‘Repair’ to initiate the repair.

In case the location of your database file is unknown, Stellar Phoenix SQL Database Repair also avails you Find Database option that can find MDF file that you want to repair from selected drive and folder. After successful search, you will be able to see the list MS SQL Database files found in the selected drive or folder on the main window.

Stellar Phoenix SQL Database Repair 2

–> Initiate SQL database repair

Now, select the file from available list that needs to be repaired and select ‘Repair’ button to initiate repair. After successful completion, the left pane of windows displays list of repaired items along with Table, View, Synonyms, Defaults, Data Types, etc. in a tree format. The upper right pane displayed the content of selected items and the bottom pane displayed message log. You need to click on the item to preview the content of the listed items.

Stellar Phoenix SQL Database Repair 3

This software has a special feature that it counts all the records after successful repair. Although, this is an optional feature, but still worth for some users. To count my repaired records it took a good time, as the database contained a large number of items, it could be less for you if your database count is less.

–> Save Repaired items

To save the repaired files, just select the Save option available in the File menu. You could also finish this saving task by selecting ‘Save’ button from Quick Access Toolbar. The software asks you to Enter Server / Instance Name and choose a desired destination to save the repaired MDF file.

Now, select the Connect button to save the repaired MS SQL Database file. Make sure your SQL server is running during the repair process.

–> Additional Features to make the recovery task easier

I had a good experience with the software as it is easy to use and can quickly connect with the server. Here are some special features that will make your process much easier.

–> Find Specific Item from the list

After successful scan Stellar Phoenix SQL Database Repair allows you to find particular item(s) in tree view. You could use search bar available on the preview window along with two options and will give accuracy to your search.

–> Selective Recovery
This SQL database recovery tool can perform selective recovery of your database objects. You could choose to select specific objects that need to be recovered from the list and save them in your desired location.

–> Overall performance

Being developed by a reputed company (Stellar Data Recovery), Stellar Phoenix SQL Database Repair is genuinely a good software and after testing its complete modules I can say that it recovers all the objects of database along with multiple components, like Indexes, Views, Rules, User Defined Functions, Tables, Triggers, Stored Procedures, etc. It repaired my MDF and NDF files along with XML indexes and data types.

–> Sum up:

After using this product I can surely recommend this tool to SQL professionals who are looking for a tool that can help them in their disaster time. Although, the software is quite slow and will make you wait, but it will be worth when it displays the complete database which was inaccessible.

SQL Recovery utility by SysTools | easily Recover your corrupt Database in few clicks

May 14, 2015 1 comment

In business organizations, most of the application’s back end operations rely on database systems like Microsoft SQL Server. SQL Server helps to manage the database which ultimately houses all the storage information. SQL Server is responsible for all the back end operations for hundreds of applications and so we can easily retrieve information through a series of SQL queries. Nevertheless, if a SQL database gets corrupted; will the processes of the entire organization come to stand still? Well if the data maintained in the database are not recovered, then there are chances of the disruption of the processes concerned with the entire organization. However, if you are lucky enough to get through a software like SQL Recovery then things are really going to shape in a good way and you will be able to recover all your data items from any corrupted database.

–> Here is a closer look on the features of “SQL Recovery” utility to realize what it offers to users:

Disclaimer: This is not a paid review, and reflects my own experience while working with the product.

The SQL Recovery utility from [SysTools Group] proves to be a transformational approach for recovering the corrupted database of SQL Server. Being completely a Windows based tool, it has been developed with the basic motive of recovering damaged data from the MDF and NDF files of SQL server by saving the extracted data on Windows Operating system. Later, you can export the extracted data directly into SQL server. It is just simple to rely on this masterpiece utility that gets your work done in some seconds. You get to recover the tables, rows, columns while not worrying about any data loss. To take a lead on the recovery process, let us first get started with some notable features of the application.

–> Basic Potentialities of the Recovery Tool:
1. Provides a convenient option to save the scan of the corrupted database as .str file format that can be handy at times when there is any kind of interruption in the transaction process of SQL Server.
2. The automatic detection of SQL Server version helps to run the recovery process without any kind of confusion.
3. Often users or system administrators employ DBCC CHECKDB command to resolve the corruption related issues. However, there are occasions when the DBCC CHECKDB fails to perform and in such situations user can definitely trust on this recovery tool.
4. Supports the recovery of XML data if the user has created XML type variables or columns on SQL Server.

–> Functionality in Details:
Some of the functionalities of the program are completely beneficial to users. Have a look on these functional aspects, to know more about this software.

1. Scanning options: For recovering the MDF and NDF files, users are provided with two feasible options (as shown in image below):
– Quick scan: select this option, for faster scanning of MDF files.
– Advance scan: If your files are highly corrupted then choose this option.

2. Preview the Database Items: Once the MDF and the NDF database of SQL server are recovered, you will get a preview of all the contents of the database. Users will get to see all the repaired data items like tables, views, triggers, etc.

3. Flexible Export Options: For exporting the recovered database, users can select any one of the option
(1) SQL Server Database and
(2) SQL Server Compatible Scripts

– Export Directly To Live SQL Server: If you are interested to place your files directly into the Live SQL Server then provide the details of database such as Server name, username, password, etc. and export the data conveniently to the database of server without any data loss.

– Export as SQL Server Compatible Scripts: If you select this option for exporting the recovered database to SQL Server, then a .sql file is created that can be easily saved on your system. This file will help you to restore data into the server anytime.

4. Export MDF with/without schema: While exporting the recovered MDF database, the software facilitates users to export the database with only the schema of tables, stored procedures, etc. However, you also have the option to export MDF data with both schema and data.

5. Export Deleted Records: Another attributed feature of the tool is that while exporting the database to the server, you have the option to export the deleted rows, tables, or column again to the database. A prompt appears on the screen, if you are interested for exporting the deleted data to the database, select yes otherwise click on no.

–> The SQL Recovery utility can be downloaded from the SysTools website (both Trial & Licensed version):

The demo version of the SQL Recovery utility is available for users to test its functionality in details. However, with the free trial version you will be able to recover all the items of the corrupted SQL database and onlypreview them. To export or save the recovered database, you need to go for the licensed version of the application.

The setup file is of 6.10 MB and it gets easily installed on the system. The latest version 6.1 has come up with features that are more promising and provides capabilities of improved speed and accuracy while working on the application. SQL Recovery tool is completely compatible with Windows 8.1 and all other previous versions.

–> Working Areas:
– You cannot add multiple MDF files with the software. However, there is an option to add multiple files and folders when you select a NDF file
– The software does not provide a process summary report of what all items are exported to the SQL Server. Users do not get an idea about the details of items exported to SQL Server database

–> Wrapping it up:
Offering an efficient recovery process, strong performance, and incredible operability the SQL Recovery Tool comes out successfully to delivers on all fronts. Further, the array of options and the user specific customizations provided by the software rightfully claims it as the best one among its competitors.

Book Review – Getting Started with SQL Server 2014 Administration

I started working on SQL Server with version 2000 (back in yr2005), then upgraded to 2005 (in yr2008), skipped 2008 version, jumped to 2008 R2 (in yr2011), then 2012 (in yr2012) and now finally 2014 very recently.

Now “SQL Server 2014” looks very competitive if you compare it with other vendors in terms of DB Engine, BI Suite, Administration, Cloud Computing, and the latest In-Memory processing, all bundled in a single suit.

–> SQL Server 2014 is packed with new and robust features like:
1. In-Memory OLTP
2. Updatable ColumnStore Indexes for Data Warehouse
3. Enhanced AlwaysOn, Azure VMs for Availability replicas
4. Managed Backup to Azure
5. SQL Server Data Files in Azure
6. Encrypted Backups
7. Delayed durability
8. Buffer Pool Extension (with SSD)
9. Incremental Stats

“Getting Started with SQL Server 2014 Administration” book is authorized by Gethyn Ellis {B|L|T} and covers most of these features in Detail and in simple steps. I’ve also talked about some of these features on my previous blog post [link], and will be writing in future also.

Getting started with SQL server 2014 Adm_Front cover_2413EN

–> The book contains following chapters:

Chapter 1: SQL Server 2014 and Cloud
Chapter 2: Backup and Restore Improvements
Chapter 3: In-Memory Optimized Tables
Chapter 4: Delayed Durability
Chapter 5: AlwaysOn Availability Groups
Chapter 6: Performance Improvements

The book starts (Chapter-1) by giving an introduction to the Cloud and how Microsoft Azure SQL Database enables your SQL Server database on Cloud in easy & graphical steps, which includes:
1.1. Creating Azure SQL DB
1.2. Integrating Azure Stirage
1.3. Creating Azure VMs

On Chapter-2 its talks about Backup & Restore improvements in 2014, which includes:
2.1. Database backups/restore to a URL and Azure Storage
2.2. SQL Server Managed Backup to Microsoft Azure
2.3. Encrypted Backups

Chapter-3 tells you about new In-Memory functionality by creating:
3.1. In-Memory Tables & Indexes
3.2. Native compiled Stored Procedures

Chapter-4 discuss about Delayed Durability and how it can help improve performance by using in-memory transaction log feature, which delays writing transaction log entries to disk.

Chapter-5 talks about enhancements to AlwaysOn Availability Groups and following:
5.1. Using Microsoft Azure Virtual Machines as replicas
5.2. Building AlwaysOn Availability Groups
5.3. Creating/Troubleshooting Availability Group

Last Chapter-6 talks about lot of improvements in Performance, which includes:
6.1. Partition switching and indexing, now it is possible for individual partitions of partitioned tables to be rebuilt.
6.2. Updatable and new Clustered ColumnStore Indexes.
6.3. Buffer pool extensions, will allow you to make use of SSD (Solid-State Drives) as extra RAM on your DB server, thus by providing an extension to the Database Engine buffer pool, which can significantly improve the I/O throughput.
6.4. New Cardinality estimator and better query plans.
6.5. Update Statistics incrementally instead of a full Scan.

PROS: The book covers most of the new features in SQL Server 2014, so it is good for DBAs and Developers who already have prior experience in SQL Server 2012 Admin and Dev. Overall a good book which gives good insights into SQL Server 2014, Azure and new features.

CONS: Not on negative side, but for newbies and junior DBAs I would suggest to get hold of some basic DBA book and stuff first then graduate to this book.

Download/Buy book Here [Packt Publishing].