An SQL database administrator is responsible for multiple crucial tasks like the upkeep of the server, backing up and restore when needed, installing of updates, performing repair and recovery if needed, etc. Thus he needs to really know his way around the server. And by that we mean he needs not only to know the best practices of handling SQL needs but also the best ways to get around unexpected issues that can crop up unannounced.
In addition to manual techniques like scripts and cmdlets, an SQL administrator must also be aware of the right tools and automated utilities which can prove to be life-savers in disaster situations if manual techniques don’t work. This fact has created a huge market for automated applications for performing various minor and major SQL functionalities.
In our ongoing attempts to evaluate the best products in this category, we recently came across quite a competent SQL toolkit which was a bundle of 3 unique and powerful products dedicated to performing SQL server activities. Developed by Stellar Data Recovery, the Stellar SQL Database Toolkit is a software package consisting of Stellar Phoenix SQL Database Repair, Stellar Phoenix SQL Password Recovery, and Stellar Phoenix SQL Backup Recovery, all of which are ace products in their separate categories. Through this review of SQL database toolkit, we’re trying to highlight the best aspects of these 3 utilities and demonstrate how they helped us solve critical issues in a test environment.
Stellar SQL Database Toolkit – Basic Overview
This toolkit consists of 3 unique products aimed at solving different problem scenarios for the SQL Server Database:
- Corrupt SQL Server Database
- Inaccessible SQL Backup File
- Forgotten or Lost SQL Server Password (User & Admin)
Having this one toolkit solves all these troubles for you conveniently. All products within the toolkit come with their own interactive GUI with detailed instructions for operating them. The toolkit can be easily downloaded and installed on any system that confirms to the following specifications:
- Processor: Pentium Class
- Operating System: Windows Server 2012 / 2008 / 2003 and Windows 10 / 8.1 / 8 / 7 / Vista / XP
- Memory: 1 GB minimum (2 GB recommended)
- Hard Disk: At least 50 MB of free disk space
Once you’ve downloaded and installed the toolkit, launch it and from the main software interface select the product you wish to use as per need. Since we were carrying out a detailed software review of SQL database toolkit, we ran all three of the applications included within the toolkit one by one on a test database. The summary of our findings have been described in the subsequent sections.
Stellar Phoenix SQL Database Repair
As the name suggests, this software is dedicated to eradicating damage and corruption issues from SQL Database files (MDF and NDF). It works in a 3-step approach (select, scan, and recover) to fix problems within SQL server files and recover inaccessible objects like tables, triggers, indexes, keys, rules & stored procedures.
To see if the software actually lived up to its claims, we ran it on a badly corrupted MDF file that was causing the server to throw nasty errors every time an attempt was made to attach it. Here were the steps we used to resolve the issue:
- We launched the toolkit’s executable and picked Stellar Phoenix SQL Database Repair from the main screen. Quite intuitively the tool displayed the message “Stop MS SQL Server and copy the database to a different location. Restart the server and repair the copy of the database”.
- After doing as instructed, we reached the screen where we needed to pick the database files to be repaired either by:
- Browsing to the location at which they were located on the system, or
- Finding them from a drive on the system
The ‘Find’ option would definitely be helpful for users who are unaware of MDF file’s location. So here the software earned points for being user-friendly.
- Next, we clicked on the “Repair” button and the tool quickly scanned the MDF file and displayed recoverable data within the left hand panel.
- We were given the option to conveniently preview any item we wanted to from the list displayed in the left hand panel and select the exact files to be recovered
- Click on Save button.
Stellar Phoenix SQL Backup Recovery
If SQL Database Repair is the ultimate MDF / NDF file repair application, Stellar Phoenix SQL Backup Recovery is the one-stop solution for performing SQL backup file (BAK) repair. The product lets you pull out backups from severely corrupted / damaged SQL BAK files and regain access to all that critical data.
This is how the product helped extract database from our damaged BAK file:
- From the main screen of the application, we selected the backup file from a known system location. We also had the option to find it on the system.
- Next, we clicked on “Scan” to enable the software to do its work. It listed all backups saved within the BAK file
- We picked the backup from which we wanted to recover data and clicked on “Next”
- All recoverable objects within that BAK file were listed within the left hand panel. From here we previewed selected items
- Thereafter, we checked the checkboxes adjacent to the items we wished to recover and clicked on “Save” from the top menu
- Finally we picked an output format and other saving options and click on “OK”
When the tool finished working, the resultant file got saved at the destination we picked containing all information that we expected.
Stellar Phoenix SQL Password Recovery
The administrator password or any other user password for SQL server is a critical bit of information that one cannot afford to lose. In case it gets compromised or gets lost, you can end up being completely barred from accessing your database information. But with Stellar Phoenix SQL Password Recovery, you can reset your server password easily.
This is how the software helped us reset the password to our encrypted MDF file:
- First we were required to stop the SQL server instance and copy the master data file to another location
- Then on launching the application we observed that it could easily read all logins mentioned within our master data file and display them within its interface.
- We selected the our login account and clicked on the “Change Password” button
- Keyed-in a new password and it was done!
Stellar SQL Database Toolkit – Pros & Cons
In a summarized manner, here are the best aspects of the toolkit:
- It lets us selectively recover data from damaged MDF files and BAK files
- It provides convenient options on the top menu including one pointing to helpful KB articles for the product
- We have the option to save repaired data in multiple formats
- It comes with a GUI so working is hassle-free
While Database Repair and Backup Recovery didn’t have any noticeable cons, the Password Recovery tool did draw our attention to one troubling fact:
- The tool makes it possible for any user to log into any account through a simple password change, and thus, in the wrong hands it can prove to be quite dangerous
In this software review of SQL database toolkit we tried to cover the specifications, working, benefits, and shortcomings of the different applications it includes. All in all, the toolkit impressed us with its sheer utility and user-friendliness. Plus it was quite affordable. In our opinion, every SQL administrator should seriously consider keeping this software bundle handy.