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Chapter: Fundamentals of Database Systems - Transaction Processing, Concurrency Control, and Recovery - Database Recovery Techniques

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Database Backup and Recovery from Catastrophic Failures

So far, all the techniques we have discussed apply to noncatastrophic failures. A key assumption has been that the system log is maintained on the disk and is not lost as a result of the failure. Similarly, the shadow directory must be stored on disk to allow recovery when shadow paging is used.

Database Backup and Recovery from Catastrophic Failures

 

So far, all the techniques we have discussed apply to noncatastrophic failures. A key assumption has been that the system log is maintained on the disk and is not lost as a result of the failure. Similarly, the shadow directory must be stored on disk to allow recovery when shadow paging is used. The recovery techniques we have dis-cussed use the entries in the system log or the shadow directory to recover from fail-ure by bringing the database back to a consistent state.

 

The recovery manager of a DBMS must also be equipped to handle more catastrophic failures such as disk crashes. The main technique used to handle such crashes is a database backup, in which the whole database and the log are periodically copied onto a cheap storage medium such as magnetic tapes or other large capacity offline storage devices. In case of a catastrophic system failure, the latest backup copy can be reloaded from the tape to the disk, and the system can be restarted.

 

Data from critical applications such as banking, insurance, stock market, and other databases is periodically backed up in its entirety and moved to physically separate safe locations. Subterranean storage vaults have been used to protect such data from flood, storm, earthquake, or fire damage. Events like the 9/11 terrorist attack in New York (in 2001) and the Katrina hurricane disaster in New Orleans (in 2005) have created a greater awareness of disaster recovery of business-critical databases.

 

To avoid losing all the effects of transactions that have been executed since the last backup, it is customary to back up the system log at more frequent intervals than full database backup by periodically copying it to magnetic tape. The system log is usually substantially smaller than the database itself and hence can be backed up more frequently. Therefore, users do not lose all transactions they have performed since the last database backup. All committed transactions recorded in the portion of the system log that has been backed up to tape can have their effect on the data-base redone. A new log is started after each database backup. Hence, to recover from disk failure, the database is first recreated on disk from its latest backup copy on tape. Following that, the effects of all the committed transactions whose operations have been recorded in the backed-up copies of the system log are reconstructed.


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