I gave a talk on Transparent Data Encryption (TDE) recently and a number of people in the audience were using the feature. However when I asked how many of them had restored a TDE database, not all hands remained up. When I asked how many people had restored their TDE encrypted backup to a different server, one that didn’t have TDE enabled, very few hands remained in the air.
That’s not good, and I certainly hope those people don’t experience a disaster from which they cannot recover. I’m sure they are not alone. I suspect that many of the people managing a TDE database have restored a database this year, and are confident they can do so. However what they don’t know is if they can restore those TDE databases on any other instance, including a newly installed one.
They’re not alone. I see many, many people implement features they don’t really understand. Microsoft has made it easy to set up replication, clustering, and more in your environment, but without providing some of the robustness and reliability that many people need. The ease of setting up a feature is one thing. The ease of ongoing management and recovery when issues occur is something else entirely.
I really wish that Microsoft would go further than making implementation easier and include direction for ongoing tasks. When databases are created, ask the user to set up backups and help them create the jobs. When encryption is implemented, do more than display a warning message. Help adminstrators prepare for recovery with templates or jobs that automatically build certificate or key backups. When replication is set up, include a script to rebuild the environment for when it breaks.
I doubt we’ll get this, and many companies and employees will continue to implement features they don’t understand. You can only help your own situation, and you should be ensuring you understand and can rebuild all the extra features you’ve installed in the event of a disaster.
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