||How to Prevent
|Changing metadata while database in use
||This one is a rumor. I've never seen a
reproduceable test case of this. IB should handle this without a
problem. But more than one person has claimed this was a problem, and
there's no reason to do this on a routine basis, so I'm including it in
|Connecting to DB during restore
||This is simply a special case of "Changing metadata while
database in use," above. IB doesn't seem to prevent you from connecting
to a DB during a restore. You should ensure that nobody can connect to
the DB until the restore is complete.
|Connection strings mismatched
||Fixed in 6?
||A connection string consists of two parts: a server name and
a filename with path. The server name is optional -- it can be omitted
for a local connection. The filename portion must be identical for all
clients. On most OSs, it is possible to use two different strings to
express the same filename/path. For example, on Windows
C:\DIRNAME\FILENAME.GDB and C:DIRNAME\FILENAME.GDB are the same (note
the missing backslash in the second). On unix(es) you can have a hard
link to a file. It is very important that all clients connect to
the same database using the same connect string. Otherwise
InterBase server may think it is connecting each client to different
databases and may try to update the "databases" in conflicting ways.
This may be fixed in IB 6 but should always be avoided.
|Copying the database file(s) while in use
||There are really two separate issues here. If you copy the
database file(s) while the server is active, there is a very good chance
that the copies produced may be corrupt, especially if forced writes is
off. You should use gbak or IBConsole backup and restore to produce a
non-corrupt copy of the database while it is in use. Please note that
a DB file can be "in use" even if no users are connected to it, as long
as the server is active (the server could be doing a sweep, for
example). A second issue is that some backup software attempts to get
an exclusive lock on files it is backing up. If it gets an exclusive
lock on the InterBase database, it can cause the InterBase server to be
unable to perform important operations. If forced writes are off, it
can actually cause corruption of the source file, as well as the
copy! Again, only InterBase gbak or IBConsole's backup (or any
other program which uses the InterBase services API to perform the
backup) should be used to backup an InterBase database. You can use
your regular backup software to backup the completed GBK, if you want.
|Database files too large in IB 5 or earlier.
||Through version 5
||If a single database file (not to be confused with the size
of the database in total) exceeds 4 GB on Windows or 2 GB on unix, the
database will be corrupted. IB 126.96.36.199 and 188.8.131.52 display an error
message instead of corrupting the database, and IB 6.5 and later allow
the use of larger files without errors or corruption. For IB 5.6 and
earlier, add files to the database using ALTER DATABASE ADD FILE... when
any single file in the DB begins to grow close to these limits. Guard
against this carefully; damage from this bug can be difficult to
impossible to fix.
|Deleting the current row in an UPDATE trigger
||Fixed in 7.1
||There is no good reason to do this. It's an error.
But if the trigger calls a procedure which updates the table, which
calls a procedure, which deletes the row.... Mistakes happen. If any
combination of events causes the current row to be deleted within the
context of an UPDATE trigger on that table, the table's data will be
corrupted. Gfix cannot repair this damage.
|Forced writes OFF
||This is not a cause of corruption per se, but rather
a failure to protect against other causes of corruption. With forced
writes ON, InterBase will always try to keep the database on disk in a
stable state. With forced writes OFF, InterBase will cache writes and
write to disk in storage (rather than stability) order, improving
performance, but increasing the risk of corruption. Turn forced writes
ON unless you have a lot of confidence in the stability of your
hardware, your OS, and your InterBase use.
||If the disk drive holding the database dies, the DB dies with
it. The best defense against this is to use a RAID array to hold the DB
-- not only do you get protection from hardware failure with zero
downtime, but you get a nice speed boost as well. Of course, you should
still backup the DB regularly. If server power is interrupted, the
effects are more or less the same as a server crash (see below). Use
of an uninterruptable power supply is strongly recommended; this allows
the server to be shut down gracefully in the event of a power failure.
Faulty memory could result in IB writing bad data to the DB, in rare
|Mismatched client and server versions
||This doesn't cause corruption directly, but it can crash the
server, which can cause corruption (see "Server Crashes" below). In
particular, the combination of IB 6+ client, IB 5.6 server, and version
5.2 of the BDE driver for InterBase (sqlint32.dll) will crash the IB
server when a query uses a date parameter.
||If the server crashes while writing to disk, the DB can be
corrupted. If forced writes are turned off and the server crashes before
all changes have been written to disk the DB will probably be
corrupted. If the InterBase server crashes, the InterBase Guardian will
immediately restart it, so you may not even notice the crash. Check
the interbase.log file to determine if the server has crashed. Turning
on forced writes significantly reduces the chances that a server
crash will corrupt a database.
|Too many generators in IB 5 or earlier.
||Through version 5, mostly, but to a lesser extent all versions
||If using version 5 or earlier, do not create more than around
248 generators per KB of DB page size. If you need to create more
generators, increase the DB page size first. Most of what causes this bug is fixed in 184.108.40.206 and later, but it can surface even in versions 220.127.116.11-7 if you use ISQL (instead of IBConsole or a client application) to create the generators, and the limit in this case is about 115 generators per KB of DB page size. To be on the safe side, expand the DB page size when you need a large number of generators. The symptom of this type of corruption is that one or more generators will return wildly incorrect values, but the corruption can affect other parts of the DB, as well.
|Too many transactions.
||You must backup and
restore the database before the "next transaction" statistic from the
gstat -h or database statistics in IBConsole reaches a certain critical
number, just over 131000000 transactions per KB of DB page size. This
is a rather large number, but it's possible to get there if you have a
very active DB with a small page size which is never restored from
|Transporting database without transportable
||Never move an InterBase database from one operating system to
another by copying the database file(s). Always make a transportable
backup, and restore on the new OS. In at least some cases (Novell to
Windows, for example), failing to do so will produce a DB which is
unreadable by the InterBase server on the new OS.
|Use of IB 4 DBs (ODS 8) with IB 6 Open Edition
||6.x Open Edition
||IB 6 Open Edition may not prevent you from connecting to an
On Disk Structure (ODS) 8 (IB 4) DB. Doing so can corrupt the DB. IB 6
commercial editions do prevent this. In general, any InterBase server
version supports connecting to DBs created by the previous version, but
not older DBs. However, when upgrading server versions it's always a
good idea to make a transportable backup under the old IB server
version, do a test restore to ensure that you have a good backup,
upgrade the server, and then restore under the new server version.
This ensures that the database ODS is up-to-date.
|Use of IB 5.5
||The automatic sweep in InterBase 5.5 can corrupt your DBs;
this is fixed in 5.6 and later. An update to 5.61 is available for
"free" (you pay shipping/handling) from Borland. While you're waiting
for it to arrive, set the sweep interval to zero (see Operations Guide)
and manually sweep the database at night. You can restore the sweep
interval to its former value after 5.61 is installed.
|Use of IB 6 prior to 18.104.22.168
||22.214.171.124 - 126.96.36.199
||Versions of IB 6 prior to 188.8.131.52 are pre-release. There are
several bugs which can corrupt your databases, so these versions (I
won't call them releases) should not be used under any
circumstances. Borland certified (commercial) releases of InterBase 6
have never had these bugs. If using IB Open Edition, update to 184.108.40.206 or later as soon as
|Use of IB 7.0 and certain operations in a stored procedure.
||7.0 - 7.1 SP 1
||If you do certain certain operations in a procedure the server can corrupt the database (see QC #5376). This is fixed in InterBase 7.1 SP 2, which is a free upgrade for anyone with a 7.0 license.
|Use of IB 7.1 prior to SP 2 (220.127.116.11), in a few cases
||7.1 without service packs, 7.1 SP 1
||InterBase 7.1 SP 2 resolves bugs present in 7.1 without service packs and
InterBase 7.1 SP 1. These issues are described in more detail in
QualityCentral. Essentially, these bugs may affect
you if you:
Also fixed is a bug which can cause gfix / Database Validation to incorrectly report corruption.
- Have large (multi-gigabyte) tables with indices, especially non-unique indices.
- Have forced writes off, since some of the issues fixed in the SP are bugs which can cause crashes.
|Use of NCOPY on Netware