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Learn about Data Integrity Deterrents & Ways of Ensuring Data Integrity in SQL Server

The issue with database corruption is that there is no inkling of what is about to hit you before being under attack. Database corruption is a nightmare for all DBAs. Your business status, job, and client relationship may get jeopardized if you are not ready to deal with corruption. Hence, it is best to adopt preventive methods because prevention is always better than cure.

Business leaders today should assess their digital transformation stratagems. It is essential for gaining a competitive edge and ensuring maximum use of their data. According to Forbes, the objective is to focus on taking ‘trusted business decisions’ backed by perfect context and accurate data. The foremost business priority and imperative are to manage data integrity successfully.

We know that the Microsoft SQL server is indisputably an excellent and one of the most vastly used software for fulfilling database requirements for various businesses or organizations. Only experienced and proficient persons can best deal with SQL servers.  

Common Deterrents in Boosting Data Integrity

  • Multiple Information Sources: Organizations receive data from varied sources such as an intranet, public files, etc. It pays to remember that all information you receive may not be authentic or genuine. 
  • Haphazard Data Workflow: It is quite rampant and organizations fail to maintain a standard workflow to collect data and process it. Erratic data workflow culminates in the loss of critical data.
  • Human Errors: It is natural for humans to make mistakes. Most confusions and issues in data integrity occur because of human errors.
  • Numerous Business Intelligence Tools: Businesses utilize many business intelligence tools having common functionalities. It may result in an alteration in existing data facts.                                                                                                                                               

Database Corruption Preventive Tips

Keep an Eye on Disk Utilization and the Size of Your Database Files

New SQL servers are unlikely to be very large in size, but you should be forward-thinking and always ensure that you will never run out of space. As your user base, and consequently, the volume of data you store, scales, the scope of data recovery becomes even more expansive. With a gigantic database, the probability of a failure or data corruption is significantly higher, and it will only take one instance to render the entire database unusable. It is, therefore, very important to be proactive about maintenance, starting from optimization of table structures to simplify storage and to also split large databases into more maintainable sizes. 

Keep an adequate buffer space on your disk since free disk space is critical for smooth operation. Whenever you feel like your database is getting too close to the threshold size, it is time to think about maintenance or getting more disk space.

Maintenance Must Be a Priority

The data part of database administration is rightly-focused upon a lot, but it is equally important to also care for the tools and the hardware that power your database. That is why regular monitoring of physical hardware, memory, networks, and the actual software installed on your SQL server is critical to ensuring maximum uptime and avoiding corruption of data. While it seems like a tremendous effort to dedicate to a problem that you may never face, it takes only one terrible experience to prove what preventive measures are actually worth. 

It is critical to run full diagnostics to verify the state of all disks, tapes, RAM, and other hardware that power the database, and nip any issues detected in the bud. You also need to invest in keeping the server’s operating system up to date with the latest security patches and also pay for anti-malware, anti-ransomware, and antivirus software depending on your threat model. Do not make rash decisions; instead, if you see a potential issue flagged, take the time to do a proper root-cause analysis. Giving top priority to maintenance is an important step toward preventing data corruption.

Focus on Optimizing Queries

 Thanks to queries, you may focus your attention on creating, reading, writing, updating, deleting, and doing more in your target database. However, often nested queries and big queries trigger issues! Queries will be using resources, however, some queries may need more than usual resources. Hence, it may culminate in database corruption. For tackling this, you may consider writing a script for optimizing the nested and long T-SQL query eventually.

No Substitute for Back-Up

For seamless business continuity, it is essential to carry out regular backup procedures. Backups could be tremendously helpful when databases develop issues. In such cases, you may use backup files for restoring corrupt databases. It goes a long way in preventing undesirable downtime.

Regularly Assess Database Integrity 

Merely backing up the database will not prove to be helpful. Instead, you require a solid backup for safeguarding against database corruption. You should regularly test your backup and assess your database integrity. Performing regular integrity checks (DBCC CHECKDB) for validating that all your backup files are fine. You may consider running an integrity check in case of a newly-restored database so that there is no problem with it.

Conclusion

We have discussed many ways of maintaining data integrity in SQL servers. However, last but not least, a method is to shut down with care and caution. If you fail to shut down your SQL server properly, it may lead to server abuse, particularly if many users seem connected to it. Focus on monitoring all connections and all users for data integrity. 

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