I was contacted by Stellar Info quite a while ago. They asked me to try out their software. I said yes, but I was really bad about getting it done.
Well, I finally got off my bottom and did the job. So, let’s talk about Stellar Repair for SQL Server.
Let’s start with the most important piece of information you need: it works.
The software itself is really simple to use and just does what you need, repairs your corrupted SQL Server instance. On that alone, I can recommend the tool.
However, there are a few gotchas I ran into along the way. Mostly, little stuff. It’s things a little polish in the UI and some clean up around language could help out. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy with this software. It worked. It’s just how it works that we should talk about.
To start with, here is the startup splash screen:
Stellar Repair works off your MDF files. It has to have access to them and they can’t be locked, meaning, attached to an active instance of SQL Server. However, you don’t have to shut down your SQL Server instance to repair a database. If you can DETACH the database from the instance, you can do that instead of shutting down. Here’s where a little language change would come in handy. Give me both options. Don’t make me think the only thing that will work is shutting down SQL Server.
For testing, I corrupted databases using DBCC WRITEPAGE. Kids, don’t try this at home. I’m kidding, somewhat. Just, please, don’t ever run DBCC WRITEPAGE on your production systems unless your first name is Paul and your last name is Randal. However, if you want to reliably and quickly corrupt a database, WRITEPAGE is your friend.
Stellar Repair has two levels of scan, a fast one, and a thorough one. For my test databases, they ran about the same amount of time, but the thorough one spotted more subtle problems as I introduced them. The simplicity of the tool is really excellent.
In addition to repairing corruption successfully, the tool can also be used to recover deleted data (if you still have the log). That’s pretty cool and probably worth a license.
You have to navigate to the *.MDF file you wish to repair:
One issue I hit using the tool was when I had data files in a container, I couldn’t easily access them here. I had to either mount a storage location for the container or move the files out. Same thing happened when I tried to repair a database inside a container. It just couldn’t cope with the differences running locally vs. calling a Linux container.
However, when it running it all on Windows, it just worked like a toaster.
Select which scan works best. I’d start with the Standard Scan. It worked most of the time for me. I only had to go to the Advanced Scan once. After it runs, you’re presented with, basically, a recovered database:
Since you’re working with data files, not actual databases, you now have to “Save” the repaired and recovered *.MDF file.
As you can see, you can just export the data and database to CSV, HTML or XLS. Nice touch. However, most of us are just going to want to recreate that *.MDF file. You can also choose “Live database”. This means simply importing all the database objects and data that you repaired into a new database.
The only thing I didn’t care for here was when I went to create a new database, it didn’t let me pick the name. If I just let it run on the database ‘BurnItDown’, the recovered database was ‘Recovered_BurnItDown’.
See, I’m greedy. I love that you’ve given me the ability to repair databases, now I want to also be able to name them my way.
However, after filling everything out, I had a new database. Ta-da! Again, it just worked and worked easily and flawlessly.
I did hit snags doing this with a Linux container. Stellar Repair seems to need direct access to the file location.
My little snags aside, this is a great piece of software. It literally does what it says on the outside of the tin: repairs corrupted database and recovers deleted data.
That’s amazing and wonderful. Can we throw some polish in so it’s pretty and more clear? Sure. However, understand, that’s polish. The broad strokes are in place.
Nice tool Stellar Info. Thanks for your patience in how long it took me to try it out.