The Database Corruption Challenge

For the last ten weeks Steve Stedmen (blog | twitter) has been running a database corruption challenge. The final challenge closes today and even though I haven’t been able to take part in all of them, I have thoroughly enjoyed working through these challenges.

DBAs don’t often get to practice fixing corruption, I mean, you can corrupt a database yourself and then try and repair it but it’s kind of a easy task when you know how it was corrupted in the first place. That’s what has been great about these challenges, Steve supplied a corrupt database each week and let everyone work out how to repair it (with no data loss), he’s also provided clues in the weeks where the challenge was particularly fiendish.

These challenges have given me more confidence in my skills, beforehand I would always be looking to restore from a backup as soon as corruption was detected (depending on what the corruption was), now I feel confident that if there’s another way of repairing the data I’ll be able to find it. If a full database restore is going to take hours and you can repair the problem in a fraction of that time how much is your company going to love you?

(N.B. – Actually…we’ll see about that. Generally when there’s a problem with the database there’ll be about 5 people standing over my desk (all suggesting “helpful” ideas) so I’ll have to be pretty confident to suggest something other than restoring from backups, time will tell!)

Also as well as a fun challenge, Steve has also created a good training plan. I’ll definitely be coming back to these blog posts in the future to refresh my corruption repairing skills. I would recommend that every DBA does this, we’re paid to be able to fix these kind of issues so you always want them fresh in your mind.

Thank you Steve.

Here are the links to each weekly challenge:-
Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4
Week 5
Week 6
Week 7
Week 8
Week 9
Week 10