Recovery and Backup in DBMS

Backup refers to the process of creating copies of data to safeguard against data loss due to various factors such as hardware failures, human errors, software glitches, or malicious attacks. These copies are stored separately from the original data to ensure redundancy and resilience.

on the other hand, Recovery involves restoring the database to a consistent state after a failure or disaster. This process aims to bring the data back to its last known good state or a predetermined point in time before the occurrence of the failure.

In the below PDF we discuss about Recovery & Backup in DBMS in detail in simple language, Hope this will help in better understanding.

Importance of Recovery and Backup :

The importance of recovery and backup in DBMS cannot be overstated. Here are some key reasons why they are essential:

  • Data Protection: Backup and recovery mechanisms act as a safety net, protecting against data loss caused by unforeseen events such as hardware failures, natural disasters, or cyberattacks.
  • Business Continuity: In the event of a system failure or data corruption, prompt recovery ensures minimal downtime and disruption to business operations, thus maintaining continuity and preventing financial losses.
  • Compliance and Regulations: Many industries are subject to strict regulatory requirements regarding data protection and retention. Implementing robust backup and recovery procedures helps organizations comply with these regulations and avoid penalties.
  • Risk Mitigation: By regularly backing up data and having reliable recovery mechanisms in place, organizations mitigate the risks associated with data loss and increase their resilience to potential threats.

Types of recovery techniques in DBMS:

  1. Rollback/Forward Recovery: Rollback Recovery: Also known as backward recovery, this technique involves undoing the changes made by incomplete transactions at the time of failure. It relies on undo logs to revert the database to its previous consistent state.
  2. Forward Recovery: Also known as roll-forward recovery, this technique involves reapplying the changes made by committed transactions that were not yet permanently stored in the database at the time of failure. It relies on redo logs to reapply the changes and bring the database up to date.
  3. Checkpointing: Checkpointing involves periodically recording the current state of the database in stable storage. This checkpoint serves as a reference point from which recovery can start after a failure. It reduces the amount of log data to be processed during recovery, improving efficiency.
  4. Shadow Paging: Shadow paging is a recovery technique where a separate copy of the entire database is maintained in stable storage. Changes made by transactions are first applied to the shadow copy, and once a transaction commits, the shadow copy becomes the active database. If a failure occurs, the system reverts to the last consistent state.
  5. Write-Ahead Logging (WAL): Write-Ahead Logging (WAL) ensures that log records are written to stable storage before corresponding database modifications. This technique guarantees that the log records are available for recovery in case of a system crash. It is commonly used in modern DBMS implementations.

main types of backups in DBMS:

  1. Full Backup: A full backup involves copying the entire database, including all data, schema, and configuration settings, to a backup storage device. It provides the most comprehensive backup but may require significant storage space and time to perform.
  2. Incremental Backup: Incremental backups only capture changes made to the database since the last backup, reducing storage space and backup time compared to full backups. Each incremental backup contains only the data modified or added since the last backup, making it faster and more efficient.
  3. Differential Backup: Differential backups capture all changes made to the database since the last full backup. Unlike incremental backups, which only include changes since the last backup of any type, differential backups include changes since the last full backup. They provide faster restoration compared to full backups while requiring less storage space than incremental backups.
  4. Transaction Log Backup: Transaction log backups capture changes made to the database at the transaction level. They record all transactions and modifications to the database’s transaction log file. Transaction log backups are crucial for point-in-time recovery and restoring the database to a specific state before a failure or data corruption occurred.
  5. Copy-Only Backup: A copy-only backup is an ad-hoc backup that does not affect the database’s backup and restore procedures. It creates a separate backup file without disrupting the regular backup schedule or backup chains. Copy-only backups are often used for creating backups for testing, reporting, or archival purposes without interrupting the regular backup schedule.


In conclusion, recovery and backup are indispensable components of database management, playing a critical role in safeguarding data integrity and ensuring business continuity. By adhering to best practices and investing in robust backup and recovery solutions, organizations can mitigate risks and confidently navigate the challenges of data management in today’s digital landscape. Remember, the key to resilience lies in proactive planning and preparedness.

Related Question

The primary purpose of backup in a Database Management System (DBMS) is to create copies of data and database structures to safeguard against data loss due to various reasons such as system failures, human errors, or disasters.

There are several types of backups in a DBMS, including full backups (complete copy of the entire database), incremental backups (copies only the data that has changed since the last backup), and differential backups (copies all changes made since the last full backup).

Recovery in a DBMS involves restoring the database to a consistent state after a failure or a system crash. It typically includes processes such as rolling back uncommitted transactions, redoing committed transactions from a log of changes (if necessary), and bringing the database back online

A transaction log is a sequential record of all transactions that have been executed against a database. It contains information about changes made to the database, such as inserts, updates, and deletes, along with timestamps and transaction identifiers. Transaction logs are crucial for database recovery as they allow the system to replay transactions and restore the database to a consistent state after a failure.

Point-in-time recovery allows DBMS to restore a database to a specific point in time before a failure occurred. This involves using a combination of full backups and transaction logs. The system restores the most recent full backup and then applies transaction logs up to the desired point in time to replay the transactions and bring the database to the desired state.


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