Instant Recovery with Write-Ahead Logging: Page Repair, System Restart, and Media Restore

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Traditional theory and practice of write-ahead logging and of database recovery techniques revolve around three failure classes: transaction failures resolved by rollback; system failures (typically software faults) resolved by restart with log analysis, redo, and undo phases; and media failures (typically hardware faults) resolved by restore operations that combine multiple types of backups and log replay. The recent addition of single-page failures and single-page recovery has opened new opportunities far beyond its original aim of immediate, lossless repair of single-page wear-out in novel or traditional storage hardware. In the contexts of system and media failures, efficient single-page recovery enables on-demand incremental redo and undo as part of system restart or media restore operations. This can give the illusion of practically instantaneous restart and restore: instant restart permits processing new queries and updates seconds after system reboot and instant restore permits resuming queries and updates on empty replacement media as if those were already fully recovered. In addition to these instant recovery techniques, the discussion introduces much faster offline restore operations without slowdown in backup operations and with hardly any slowdown in log archiving operations. The new restore techniques also render differential and incremental backups obsolete, complete backup commands on the database server practically instantly, and even permit taking full backups without imposing any load on the database server.