Restore Microsoft SQL Server Databases

If a database was deleted or corrupted and you can restore it in either ways:

  • Perform a full restore operation
  • Create a clone, or mount the database almost instantly as a virtual application and then migrate it back to the original location or to a new location. To mount and migrate the database, see SQL Server mount and Migrate.

The restore process is wizard driven and varies slightly depending on whether you are restoring a single database image such as a member of an Always on Availability Group (AG) or multiple images in an SQL instance.

Before You Begin

Before running the procedures in this chapter, ensure that:

  • The database is not in Emergency mode.

  • Wait for running jobs to finish.

Microsoft SQL Server database restore overview

The Restore function replaces the original production database data with the selected point-in-time image. This restoration results in the loss of all current database data as the database will be overwritten while being restored to its status at the point-in-time when the image was created. This operation cannot be undone.

Restore operations are typically performed to restore a database to a valid state after a data corruption event. The amount of time required to complete a traditional restore operation depends on the amount of data involved.

Databases that use the Microsoft SQL Server Full Recovery Model use a single policy to capture both the database and its logs. Such a database can be recovered to any point in time by rolling its logs forward. If you restore the database through management console by specifying Restore With Recovery, the SQL Server database will be restored and brought online after applying logs.

Backup and DR supports the following common use cases when restoring Microsoft SQL Server databases and instances:

  • Perform an in-place database restore: If a production database or instance has become corrupted but it is still on-line, then perform a restore operation.

  • Use a virtual application (Virtual Application Mount): You can use a Virtual Application Mount of the last known good version of a corrupted SQL Server instance or database as a means to allow users and applications to resume work as soon as possible. The database can then be migrated in the background using Mount and Migrate, see SQL Server mount and Migrate.

Restore Microsoft SQL Instances and Databases

This is the simplest and most common restore scenario. In this case, you restore selected SQL databases from a previous image to the original database server. The database must be online for this type of restore. If the database is not online, the restore operation will fail during database validation; in this case Clone the database instead.

To run this procedure:

  • The Microsoft SQL Server database must be online. If the database is not online, the restore operation will fail during database validation.

  • Wait for running jobs to finish.

To restore the SQL Server database(s):

  1. Open the App Manager to the Applications page.

  2. Right-click the Microsoft SQL Server database to restore and choose Access from the drop-down list. The Access page opens listing captured images in the Timeline ramp view. Image types that support a Restore operation include Snapshot and OnVault, but only when using the same appliance that captured the image. If restoring with a different appliance is required, use the Clone operation instead.

    The background differentiates snapshot images containing an SQL server database with transaction log files, and also illustrates the restore range time period for the logs

  3. Select the image, then select Restore from the list of operations. The Restore page opens.

  4. Select Traditional for this restore operation.

  5. If the selected database does not have logs, the Restore page does not show roll forward options. If the SQL Server database was managed with a log protection backup template, and logs are available with the image, you can:

    • Specify to roll forward using either User Time or Host Time. You can base the dates and times on User Time or Host time. User Time is relative to the viewer of the current screen. Host time is relative to the system that hosts the data to be restored.

    • Use the Calendar tool to select a date for the roll-forward operation.

    • Use the Restore Range slider to select a specific time on the selected date to restore the database. Slide the slider tool all the way to the left with the earliest date selected to restore just the SQL Server database without rolling forward any logs.

  6. Deselect the Restore With Recovery check box if you wish to leave the database in restoring mode. Restore with recovery brings the restored database online. Once online, no more logs can be applied.

  7. Click Submit.

    A warning dialog opens. Read it and then enter DATA LOSS to confirm. The restore job starts. You can verify that the restore operation is successful by viewing the job status in System Monitor.

Restore SQL System Databases

Backup and DR can discover and backup Microsoft SQL system databases just like SQL Server user databases.

To restore an SQL system database, you must first mount the last known good version of that database, then use a file copy operation to copy the good SQL Server system database .mdf and .ldf files to the source SQL server that hosts the corrupt SQL system system database.

  1. Go to App Manager and select Applications.
  2. Select and mount the last known good image of the consistency group. Be sure to deselect Create new virtual application.
  3. If possible, use the following sample query to show file locations for databases:

    SELECT name, physical_name AS current_file_location FROM sys.master_files
  4. From the SQL instance, use either the SQL Server Configuration Manager or the Services MMC to stop the source SQL instance:

  5. Using Windows Explorer or some other means, navigate to the mounted backup of the SQL system databases.

  6. Copy the mounted .mdf and .ldf files for the database being restored.

  7. Using Windows Explorer or some other means, navigate to the source SQL Server database:

  8. Paste the .mdf and .ldf files into the source SQL Server database.

  9. From the SQL instance, use either the SQL Server Configuration Manager or the Services MMC to Restart the source SQL Server database.

Restore to an SQL Server Cluster

For an SQL Server Failover instance, the database is always restored to the active node. For SQL Server Availability Groups, the restore is performed on all nodes.

Restore SQL Server Databases in a Consistency Group

Use caution when restoring Microsoft SQL Server databases in a consistency group (see Restoring a Consistency Group). When you restore SQL Server databases that are in a consistency group, all databases in the consistency group are overwritten.

The Backup and DR SQL Server DBA Guide

This page is one in a series of pages specific to protecting and recovering Microsoft SQL Server databases with Backup and DR. You can find additional information at: