Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Backup log Truncate_Only in SQL Server 2008

BACKUP LOG <db_name> WITH truncate_only
command, used for clearing the log file, is deprecated in SQL Server 2008. So this post will explain option available in SQL Server 2008 for truncating the log.

Step 1: Change the recovery model to Simple

USE [master]
SET recovery simple WITH no_wait

Step 2: Issue a checkpoint
One can issue a checkpoint using the following command.


Checkpoint process writes all the dirty pages in the memory to disk. On a simple recovery mode, the checkpoint process clears the inactive portion of the transaction log.

Step 3: Shrink the log file

USE dbadb
DBCC shrinkfile(2, 2, truncateonly) 

Shrinking the log file with a truncateonly option clears the unused space at the end of the log file. First parameter of the Shrinkfile takes the filed id within the database. Mostly the fileid of the log file is 2. You may verify the same by firing a query on sysfiles.

Step 4: Change the recovery model back to full/bulk logged
Change the recovery model to the recovery model originally ( full/bulk logged ) used by the database.

USE [master]
SET recovery FULL WITH no_wait

After these steps the log file size should have reduced.

The intention behind this post is not to encourage truncating the log files. Use the method explained, only when you are running short of disk space because of a log file growth. Note that, Just like truncating log files, Changing the recovery model also disturbs the log chain. After clearing the log using the above method, you need to either run a full backup/Differential backup to keep your log chain intact for any recovery.

Just a quick demo to show that the log chain breaks if you change the recovery model.

The database whose log file we will be clearing is dbadb. Log file size 643 MB as shown below.

After executing the scripts mentioned above, the log file size is 2 MB as shown below.

The log chain breaks after changing the recovery model. When log chain breaks, subsequent transaction log backups start failing as shown below.

Transaction log backups will be successful only after the execution of full or differential backup.

PS: Pardon me for a SQL 2k8 post, when the whole world is going crazy about
SQL Denali :)

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